If you’ve set a goal for 2015 that involves starting or growing a business or making more money, it’s time to consider the words you’ll use to accomplish your goal. For salespeople, entrepreneurs and professionals who are focused on achieving financial success, a good plan will always include these three objectives: (1) Attract new clients, (2) Leverage relationships with existing clients and (3) Become known as a trusted, credible expert in your industry.
Each of these pieces requires compelling, consistent communication. You have a choice about what types of communication you’ll use – website content and blogs, ads, brochures, sales letters, direct mail, eNewsletters, etc. But regardless of the medium you select, your copy is critical.
Here’s a breakdown of your three goals and the kind of copywriting techniques you’ll need to apply in order to reach them.
1. Attract new clients. It’s a huge accomplishment to attract new clients to your business today, given the intense, global competition you face. Technology allows people to do business with anyone, anywhere in the world, so if you’re winning clients, you’re doing something right.
The key to attracting new clients is to communicate what you offer in a way that clearly distinguishes you from the competition. It involves articulating your value – how people will be better off after they buy your product or service.
Any sales tool you use to gain clients must answer the ‘‘So what?’’ question. After learning what you do, prospects will ask ‘‘So what?’’ and you better have an answer. Example: you offer the fastest oil changes in the neighborhood. So what? Your customers are in and out fast and back to their busy lives, confident that their car will run reliably and keep up with their fast-paced schedule.
Marketing materials that help you attract new clients include blog posts, ads, sales letters, direct mail postcards, brochures and services pages on your company website. Make sure all your pieces communicate a consistent message – your value proposition, an answer to the ‘‘So what?’’ question – and you’ll enjoy greater success gaining new business.
2. Leverage relationships with existing clients. Because it takes less time and less money to keep an existing client than it does to get a new one, your current customers are a gold mine. Invest some effort in communicating with this group on a regular basis, in a meaningful way.
Not only do your words matter when leveraging relationships, but your clients’ words matter as well. They are a powerful asset in your marketing plan. The key to success here is to ask them for help.
You’ve probably heard that a happy customer will spread the word to one or two people, while an unhappy customer will tell at least 10 people. I think you can easily get those happy customers to outperform the unhappy ones. You just have to ask them. Endorsement letters, testimonials and buzz creation campaigns are cost-effective tools you can use to spread the good word about your business. Make it as easy as possible for clients to help in this capacity.
For example, a mortgage broker I know had written a letter for one of her clients, an insurance broker. In the letter, which was sent on the insurance company’s letterhead to the insurance broker’s contact list, the insurance broker explained that she had recently worked with an outstanding mortgage broker. She said she wanted to let her colleagues know about the exceptional service she received, and she encouraged them to contact her mortgage broker if they were buying or refinancing a property. All the insurance broker had to do was provide her stationery and sign her name to the letter, which she was more than happy to do.
Another easy way to leverage client relationships with good copy is to create an eNewsletter. Among other tools, Constant Contact is a wonderful, affordable tool that simplifies the creation of email campaigns and newsletters. Ask the people who receive the newsletter to pass it on if they find it valuable. It’s an easy way for them to create some buzz about your business. Will Rogers said, ‘‘Your horn sounds twice as loud when someone else blows it.’’ If you can get your satisfied clients to spread the word to their friends, family and colleagues, you receive powerful third-party endorsements that are bound to grow your business.
3. Become known as a trusted, credible expert in your industry. You know more about your products and services than anyone. So the first step to becoming an expert is complete. See how easy this is? Now you need to communicate this expertise to your target market.
By pitching articles and submitting letters to the editor to target publications – local newspapers, trade magazines, business publications and online forums – you develop a reputation as a go-to person in your field. A newsletter, print or electronic, will also showcase your knowledge.
Offering your services as a speaker to target audiences is another great way to become known as an expert. Seek out local organizations, industry conferences and other groups that may be looking to learn about your expertise. One of my former clients, a college consultant, regularly teams up with financial professionals to offer talks to parents of high school students. It costs him nothing but his time, and it helps grow his business.
There are so many ways to use your words to grow your business and make more money. Pick a couple and try them this year. Good luck!
The content from this post was originally published in the MetroWest Daily News and has been updated to reflect current best practices.