Marketing. Yikes! …the dreaded word has reared its ugly head once more.
Like going to the dentist, marketing is one of those things that everyone
has to do but most people don’t want to do or even like to do. It is
arguably, however, one of the most important parts of your business, so
you can’t just ignore it and hope it goes away.
I take that back. You CAN ignore it, but it won’t go away. No matter
what your product or service, you simply MUST do some sort of marketing if
you want to get more business.
Volumes have been written about marketing and ways of approaching it,
but I recently received a letter that, frankly, left me astonished. I don’t
claim to be a marketing expert, although I’ve been fairly successful at
it, but I thought it was one of the worst marketing letters I have ever
seen. And it was from someone who claimed to be a sales expert, which
brings up the difference between the two: ‘marketing’ is supposed to
get someone interested in what you offer, ‘sales’ is the process of
converting that interest into cash.
Here is the single most important thing to realize when you create
marketing materials: it’s not about you, it’s about them. Think
about that for a moment. No matter what you say or do, no matter how
pretty the brochure or how fancy the web site, the person you are trying
to reach wants to know just one thing: "What’s in it for me?"
Good marketing will tell them exactly what is in it for them.
Tell them how they will benefit from doing business with you; what they
can expect and when to expect it. Tell them that they will make loads of
money from your advice, not that you need just one more customer to win a
Here’s a second tip to help you remember the first tip: start a
marketing letter with the word ‘You". For example, "You will
be amazed at the results when you use…" or "You can help your
customers and make a few bucks in the process! Here’s how…"
Back to the bad letter… the first sentence completely turned me off. The
first sentence! "I just wanted to give you an update on what’s
going on in my life." I don’t mean to be cold or cynical, but who
cares? Send me a marketing letter that’s about me, not about you! Tell
me that I’m going to make money, lose weight, or be better-looking…
not what’s going on in your life. (I did know this person but only
casually, as we had taken a class together two years ago.)
He goes on to explain what he’s doing and then he says, "I
believe that you, as a friend of mine, may be in a position to help
me." Why would I want to do that? It’s shouldn’t be about him, it
should be about me (the reader)!
To paraphrase Dennis Miller, "I didn’t mean to get off on a rant…",
but you can learn plenty from a good example of a bad letter, and then you
can avoid making similar mistakes.
And that IS about you.