In my book ‘Psychology in Marketing and Sales’, I talk about the power of fear and how it can be used to generate sales - but before we answer the question as to whether you should sell based on fear, let's first understand what we mean by the word fear itself.
Fear probably sounds worse than it is and we aren't talking about scare tactics, threats or anything unethical (sorry horror movie fans - this isn't’ for you!). Fear is about demonstrating what somebody might be missing or losing out on if they don't have your product or service. An example of this could be how you can avoid becoming unhealthy or ill by buying a fantastic range of branded healthy foods.
This contrasts to selling products based on the positive benefits. Using the last example you could promote the brand of health foods by saying ‘get fit, be healthy and have a great active life’ by buying this great brand of healthy foods.
When it comes to promoting the benefits of your product or service, selling based on fear has been proven to be more successful but if it isn't done correctly then it could backfire and damage a brand reputation or least be seen as being too negative.
Here are some examples of effective positive and fear-based messages for different types of businesses. How do you feel when you read the two versions? Do the different statements impact the way you feel differently?
Enjoy a happy retirement by investing in a pension now
Don’t lose out on a happy retirement with limited money to live on, invest in a pension now
Protect your PC from viruses with antivirus software
Avoid losing data and precious time recovering your PC with antivirus software
Beat the queues with fast-pass
Make sure you don’t waste hours queuing up. Grab your fast-pass now
There are benefits to using both styles and a mixture of both is usually the best option.
Selling based on fear is used more widely than you might think, from the shortage of seats left when booking a flight (only 2 seats left, don’t miss out!) to pensions, investments and car breakdown cover (don’t get stranded on your own with your car broken down…) to the range of every day offers you see telling you that if you don’t take advantage of the offer in the next 2 hours then you will miss out.
In fact, there has even become a widely used term we now use to describe one of our biggest fears - FOMO (fear of missing out).
The next time you work on your marketing, consider how you can develop your messaging and the benefits by pointing out both what’s great about what you offer AND what your potential customer could be missing out on.
If you would like to learn more about how to promote your products and services based on the way the human mind works then why not grab a copy of my very affordable book Psychology in Marketing and Sales - but be quick, it’s so good I might have to put the price up soon! 😃
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Having an effective call to action is important in any marketing campaign. If you don’t know what a call to action is then read our earlier blog post What is a call to action in marketing?
Here are some tips on how to make a call to action that generates leads for your business:
Use orange and white
Different colours impact the way we interpret something and how we react. Blue, for example, conveys trust, yellow conveys cheap or low cost while black conveys a more professional image.
Depending on the offer and message of your marketing campaign you may want to use a different colour but we recommend using an orange box or button with white wording. Orange conveys urgency and urges the visitor to your page to take action and click. White is the best colour for making the call to action easy to read.
Have an enticing offer and wording
I have often talked about power words such as ‘now’, ‘only’ and ‘exclusive’ to urge the potential customer to take action but it’s more than just about the use of power words. The offer needs to be enticing as well. Ask yourself the question ‘would I take up this offer’. You may also want to ask colleagues or your closest customers for their feedback.
Position it at the top
The call to action needs to stand out and be easily accessible - and there’s no better place than having it at the top of your website or other marketing materials. In many circumstances (such as blog post or printed materials) you may find a good reason to have the call to action at the bottom or end of the content after the reader has looked through the content and understood what it’s all about - but you can have it at the top as well.
As many as 80% of visitors to a landing page or website don’t scroll or read the content through to the bottom. If you only have a call to action at the bottom then most visitors won’t get to it so that they can take the action you want.
Request as little information as possible
There may be circumstances where you need information from the person taking action - an email address to send them something for example, but always work on the principle that the more information you request, the less likely they are to complete the process.
No matter how good the offer is, there will be an increasing number of people who will not take advantage of what you are offering because they don’t want to have to supply the information required.
A well-known problem faced by eCommerce businesses is shopping cart abandonment. Even when someone has found the product they want and added it their cart, they still give up before the process has finished. There are many reasons for this and one of them is the hassle of providing the information they need to.
If you have a landing page offering a FREE guide and you want their email address to send it to them (and to market to them afterwards as part of the lead generation process) then it’s best to only ask for the email address and nothing else. Asking for contact number, name, address or anything else will increase the chances of them not pressing the call to action button.
Reduce the number of clicks
Similar to the above, the more clicks (or taps on a mobile device) the less likely someone is going to take action. Avoid redirecting a user to another page or sending them to a form to fill in. A call to action should be simple, straightforward and easy for the potential customer to action.
Limit the distractions
If you are creating a landing page to offer a free guide or to get in touch with you then your primary focus might be to ask for an email address and get the visitor to hit the call to action button. Anything else that's on that page acts as a distraction and reduces the chances they will complete the process.
It might be tempting to add links to your social media, the About Us page and other offers but the mind is easily distracted and customers are easily lost!
Ideally if you are spending money advertising and promoting the offer, you should have just one call to action - the one that captures contact details and offers what you are promoting. Why waste money driving people to your site, only to have them distracted by reading your latest blogs posts?
I talk about various ways to create a landing page that converts in my book How To Create A Perfect Landing Page.
If you would like help with creating the right marketing campaign and call to action then Contact Think Twice Marketing today for a FREE initial consultation.
A call to action is, as the name suggests, a call or message to prompt someone to take action - and while this sounds straightforward, many marketers either fail to have the right call to action, position it badly or don’t have a call to action at all in their marketing!
The call to action (or CTA) can vary depending on various factors such as the type of campaign, the channel being used and the how ready a customer is to buy. In printed marketing and on a website the CTA could be a special offer and with a face-to-face meeting or phone call with a potential customer the CTA could be to arrange the next meeting or to email more information.
Take it steady, or get to the point?
For most businesses there are always customers who are ready to buy and customers who want to find out more about your brand, what you offer and if you are a trusted brand to buy from. Both types of customers should be targeted with different marketing campaigns. The customer who is willing to buy is more likely to accept a call to action that’s direct, such as ‘if you order today then you will receive an extra month for free and 20% off’ but a customer who is still in the early stages of making a decision is more likely to need a softer approach as part of a longer sales. In this case, offering a call to action such as a free guide on how to achieve something or another offer that isn’t immediately going to get the sale is more effective.
In my next blog I will include more detail on how to make call to actions more effective but here are some ways you can be more effective in your marketing:
A call to action needs to be easily accessible and having it at the top and the bottom of marketing materials and landing pages is more effective. If your website has lots of images and words then the call to action needs to stand out and having it visible at the top makes it easier to find.
Have a CTA!
It sounds obvious but it’s easy to forget a call to action. Check your marketing and communications to make sure you have a call to action as much as sensibly possible. This should include web pages, marketing materials, blog posts and your email signature - even if it’s just a link to drive someone to read your blog posts.
Make it desirable, even irresistible!
Sorry but ‘click here’, ‘sign up’ and ‘submit’ don’t get me excited and want to take action. Signing up and submitting are also considered negative subconsciously (are you ready to submit or commit to ‘signing up’ even if it’s just for a regular email newsletter?). Phrases such as ‘save me money’, ‘show me how’ and ‘join’ are more powerful and more likely to prompt a potential customer to take action.
In my book, How To Create A Perfect Landing Page, I talk about how CTAs are possibly THE most important element in a landing page if the aim is to convert visitors into paying customers. You can find out more by grabbing a copy of my easy to read book on Amazon.
If you need help designing more effective marketing campaigns and call to actions then get in touch for a free marketing review.
When it comes to online advertising, it doesn't get any bigger than the two tech giants Google and Facebook. But which one is best for advertising your business?
The aim of this blog post is to discuss the pros and cons of using Facebook Ads and Google Ads (previously Google Adwords). We won't be discussing the in-depth details of the various ways you can advertise on the two platforms.
While both platforms allow you to advertise on third party websites as sponsored ads, Google stands out in one important way - Google search. Adverts created with Facebook that appear on Facebook, Instagram and other sites can be considered to some extent as 'speculative'. Yes, you can define your target audience. A seller of training equipment for playing hockey might be able to target people such as 'anyone who lives within 25 miles of New York, has an interest in hockey and is aged 25-44' but that doesn't mean that person who sees the advert is interested in, or wants to buy what's on offer. They might not play hockey and only have an interest in watching it.
With Google, you appear when people are actively searching for what you sell. Using the above example, a person who wants to buy a hockey stick has already made a conscious decision to find out more about the various types or is ready to buy. They are already further into the decision making sales process and are likely to search specifically for 'hockey sticks' or 'buy hockey stick'.
This means you are appearing to people who are genuinely interested and are closer to buying. With Facebook you might need to reach out to more people to generate sales. That doesn't mean Facebook isn't worth considering.
Facebook has many advantages. It tends to be lower cost pay per click, it has access to an audience that's in the billions and there's the opportunity to educate people who may don't think they need your product... but they do.
Facebook, like Google, also allows you to do re-targeting so that your ad will appear when you have visited a similar website. If you had to decide which platform to use then it will depend on your budget, objectives and industry you are in. You may, for example, have the objective to raise awareness of your new product during a product launch and decide that Facebook is best for that. Facebook is also great for short-term promotions, allowing you to reach a lot of people in a short period of time.
Personally, I prefer Google but that doesn't mean it will always be the right solution for your business. Consider your objectives and what you want to achieve before making a decision. You may want to use both platforms to be more effective.
If you need help with online advertising, contact Think Twice Marketing.
To be clear, I'm not endorsing launching poor products to grow sales and this story isn't about any product Think Twice Marketing has launched! I'm a great fan of reading books that help to understand and develop marketing as well as around personal development and this story is from a book titled Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely.
The story is about a company that launched a breadmaker which, at the time, was a relatively new concept. When Williams-Sonoma first launched their breadmaker for $275, sales were poor and despite their best marketing efforts, consumers didn’t get the concept of making bread at home and found it even harder to understand why they should pay $275 for such a device.
Williams-Sonoma needed a plan B. More thought into improving the solution, it seemed was needed. So what did Sonoma do?
They launched a larger, heavier and less attractive breadmaker at a 50% premium to the original version (although at the time it was considered to have more features the new breadmaker couldn't really be justified at a 50% premium).
What happened was unexpected. Sales started to grow rapidly - but not for the premium priced product, it was for the original machine priced at $275. Why had this happened?
The answer, it seems is - in one word - relativity. This is less about Einstein and more about how people compare your solutions relative to each other, relative to the competition and relative to the idea of not purchasing anything at all.
On its own, the $275 bread maker had nothing to compare against. Possibly a cheaper coffee maker or some other kitchen appliance? Or maybe the idea of keeping $275 in your pocket? Once the new bread maker was launched consumers were saying “wow, this bread maker is much better value for money and is smaller, I think I’ll take that one” rather than “a bread maker? Not sure why I want to pay over $200 for that!”. The conversation in their mind had shifted from whether to buy at all to which one should I buy.
Relativity plays a big role in marketing and decision making. If you are looking to launch a poorer or inferior product or service we can't help but If you would like to learn more about how relativity can be used to improve your marketing activities and grow your sale then my book 'Psychology in Marketing and Sales' is a recommended read. Head over to the Resources page to find out more.
How much time do you spend on the wording for your title? Whether it's email marketing, blog writing or any other form of marketing where a title or heading is required many marketers and business owners underestimate the importance of the title. Consider this...
At some point in the past you may have written a blog post or an email to send out to your distribution list and very quickly added the title. If you have then you aren't alone but it's one of the worst things you can do. If the title doesn't capture the attention of the reader then they aren't going to read the rest of the content.
In today's world, we are busy people; constantly bombarded with information such as emails, notifications and bits of information we see around us such as ads on the TV or people talking. When it comes to grabbing the readers attention, your campaign is just one of many activities trying to grab and maintain their attention. If you haven't succeeded then those previous minutes or hours you have spent writing the body of the content is wasted. The content won't get read.
The purpose of a title?
The purpose of the title is to tell the reader what the main content is about, right? Actually this is only part of the answer. More importantly, the purpose is to grab the readers attention and make them want to read more. If you fail in the last part then the marketing campaign will be less effective.
In email marketing, typically less than 30% of subscribers will open an email, fewer will read more than the first couple of lines and even fewer will read the whole email. The subject heading should entice the reader to open the email. The email title should entice the reader to want to read the main content and the first few lines of content should entice the reader to want to read the rest. The same principle applies for blog posts.
An accountant, for example, might write a newsletter which includes 3 great tips for reducing the tax a business has to pay. When the email arrives in your inbox and you see the title, which one of these are you, as a business owner likely to open?
Summer Newsletter 2019 or 3 Proven Ways To Pay Less Tax In Your Business
The sight of the word 'newsletter' makes me want to immediately delete the email or at best, leave it in my inbox to read later (which in reality I will never come back to).
Time well spent
I've seen an argument for spending more time on the title of a blog post or email campaign than on the rest of the content. I'm not convinced by this as some campaigns can take hours to write and spending several hours deciding on a title doesn't make sense. Without doubt, an effective, well written title is crucial - and arguably more important than the main body of content but with experience it shouldn't take that long to come up with a powerful headline. Just spending 10-15 minutes playing around with different wording may be enough time to find the perfect headline.
Here are some headlines types to consider:
- Ask a question that will get the reader thinking and prompt them to read further such as 'Are you struggling to find time to get fit' (if you are a personal fitness instructor reaching out to your audience).
- Start with 'How to' or 'Discover why' so the reader is clear that the content will explain the answer.
- Make a single bold statement that the reader wants to find out more about. This style is more inline with newspapers who often do headlines such as 'Boy saves lives' or 'Millions suffering'... you get the idea.
The use of power words are also important and this is discussed in my book 'How to create a successful email marketing campaign'.
One element we haven't discussed in this blog is the importance of effective headings in blog posts from an SEO perspective. Titles should include keywords that are used as part of an SEO campaign to get to the top of Google. You can find out more about this in my blog post How to SEO Your Blog Posts.
If you would like more help writing your marketing campaigns including writing effective titles then contact Think Twice Marketing.
And why does it matter?
I always find it interesting how salespeople and marketers differ on this, especially in larger corporate businesses where sales and marketing teams are separated but need to communicate closely.
'Marketing do advertising and create fluffy nice looking brochures' you might hear the salesperson say 'while we go out and get the business in and close the deals'. The Marketer might retort that their efforts to show social proof of a great brand with great products have already done the hard work while the sales guy just needs to turn up, have a chat and walk away with the order... and the credit. These thoughts might be harsh, but the good news is they are both wrong.
The majority might argue that marketing and sales are separate but in reality, the two functions are (or in practice should be) very closely aligned. The job of the marketer amongst other things is to look after the customer but in a slightly different way to the salesperson. While a sales person can be more personal they can only reach out to so many people with phone calls or face to face visits.
Similarly, a good marketer should know how to drive customers online to sales pages (or landing pages) and should know how to create those pages in a way that converts visitors into paying customers. The marketer's job is to work with sales to generate opportunities and help close sales where the salesperson doesn't have the bandwidth.
Sales and marketing should work together in many different aspects to drive a business forward. Here are some examples:
- Participating at exhibitions needs marketing to support efforts in using email marketing, social media and other ways to drive visitors to the event where salespeople can build relationships and generate more qualified leads
- Sales teams can provide valuable customer and market feedback to help marketers create more effective solutions that in turn generate more sales and more easily
- Online advertising and landing pages should be designed to generate leads that salespeople can call, visit or email to qualify further and convert into sales
So, are sales and marketing the same?
In theory, they are different but both roles share the common objectives to generate profitable sales, possibly through slightly different activities but always with the customer in mind.
In smaller businesses, one person may look after and manage the whole sales and marketing process (as well as run the business) so the lines are blurred between the two functions. Whether you believe that sales and marketing are the same or not, it's important that the two functions are as closely integrated as possible for a business to succeed. You could argue that marketing IS selling and selling IS marketing. After all, in his book 'To Sell Is Human', Daniel Pink argues that everybody is a sales person and every day of our lives we are constantly selling something, whether it's convincing friends to go out for a drink, telling the kids how important homework is or asking the boss for a pay rise.
What are your thoughts? Do you agree?
For a free review of your sales and marketing activities, contact Think Twice Marketing.
Optimising your blog posts for SEO is a great way to attract more visitors to your site and generate more business.
If you aren't familiar with the term SEO or 'Search Engine Optimisation' it involves setting up your website or specific pages on your site so that they appear as high as possible in searches when using search engines such as Google or Microsoft Bing.
Because Google is so dominant in worldwide search, this blog post is focused on Google Search rather than other search engines although the way they all work is very similar. In this post, we are also focusing on using SEO for blog posts and not a website in general.
3 main ingredients of SEO
It's important for Google to return valuable content in its search results and, while nobody knows for sure how Google Algorithms work, it's widely accepted that it decides what content is high value based on the following:
- Pages with the same or similar wording
- How many people visit the page
- How long they stay on the page
Let's take an example and imagine for a minute that you are Google. Which one of the two pages would you show in your results for people searching for 'ways to save money on cleaning':
Blog 1: 'Cutting costs when tidying your home'
100 visits a month
Average time on page: 15 seconds
Blog 2: 'How to save money on cleaning your home'
3,000 visits a month
Average time on page: 2 minutes
It might seem obvious but Blog 2 has more visitors who stay and read the content for longer. It also has keywords such as 'save money' and 'cleaning' which are not in the title of Blog 1.
In reality, the way Google works is much more complex than this and there are other factors such as how you use the keywords in the content of the blog post (not just the title) and if your site is secure but if you follow the above principles you are heading in the right direction!
Here are some quick tips on how to SEO your blog posts:
There are various apps or websites you can use to test what the right keywords should be. A free and quick solution is also just to type into Google what you think the title or the keywords should be. As you type, Google will try to complete your sentence for you, showing what it thinks are good phrases or words that you could use.
You should also use this opportunity to see what it returns as the results. It might be that there is a lot of tough competition to beat and alternative phrases that are not so widely used might return better results.
Use video and images to keep readers on your page for longer
Using video is a great way to keep readers on your blog page. You might include videos as part of your content or have a video that provides a summary of some or all of your post. Images also help to keep the readers' attention including the use of a slideshow that makes the reader swipe left and right to find out information.
Use an app or plug-in to help you
Similar to when doing research, there are various solutions you can use to help make sure your blog post is written optimally for SEO. A popular one we recommend for WordPress users is Yoast. This plug-in has a free version that advises on how to improve your content, title and other elements.
Fill in your search title and description
Depending on what platform you use for your website or blog posts, how you do this will vary but it's important to fill in the search title and search description so that Google knows more about what your
blog post is about. These don't appear on your blog post but they do appear in Google search results.
Promote it on all your channels
Blog posts should ALWAYS be promoted online using social media, email marketing and other channels so that you can attract business. This also helps to get the number of people visiting your pages up so that Google sees how important your pages are. If you are serious about SEO then we highly recommend running a short Facebook Ads campaign promoting your blog post to get the number of visitors up even higher and in a shorter period of time.
We hope this has given you valuable information on how to SEO your blog posts. If you need help writing blog posts, why not get in touch?
I've been looking for a replacement garage door recently and whenever a reasonable amount of money is to be spent then I've always believed in getting 3 quotes from different suppliers. After calling 3 companies that could help, one tried to close the sale while on the phone doing another job (without turning up to see us), we left a message for one that didn't call back and a third one turned up and gave professional advice and followed up with a written quote.
Not happy with this, we called some more businesses and out of another 4 calls, only one turned up and gave some great advice but failed to send a quote as promised.
You may be wondering why I'm telling you this story but consider this: Out of 7 local businesses, only 1 has actually fully responded to the needs of their customer while one has wasted time turning up, only to not finish the sales lead generation process of sending a quote as promised.
Could closing a sale be as simple as responding efficiently and professionally to a sales opportunity?
When I refer to 'conversion rates', this is the percentage of opportunities that are converted into s sale. If you receive 10 enquiries and 6 of them become customers then the conversion rate is 60%.
From my experience selling on third party sites I have found that sales conversions are much higher when I respond within hours to an enquiry. Even responding a couple of days later has resulted in responses such as 'thanks, but I've decided to go with someone else'. Frustratingly this even applies at the weekend if someone makes an enquiry on a Saturday but they don't get a response until Monday. Regardless of what the quality of the service or the price might be, it seems that many customers quickly lose interest if they don't get a prompt response.
The perfect lead generation?
We are all human and nobody is perfect when it comes to responding to enquiries. It's easy to forget to respond or to be too busy and if we are too busy with too much business being generated then we might let the odd sales opportunity go but if we look back to my story - that's 6 out of 7 businesses that failed in their lead generation process. And it's not for a small order of pennies and pounds, it's much more.
You might be reading this thinking 'yes, but this is tradesman/they have limited capacity/my industry isn't like that etc' (delete as appropriate) but this isn't the first time I have experienced this - and I guess it's the same for you. Failing to respond and an ineffective lead generation process is common across almost any industry.
How to improve conversion rates
A solid lead generation process should consist of a clear, well working process from raising awareness of your services, attracting interested customers and closing down the sale. An opportunity should remain in the pipeline until it is either closed - lost, closed - won or closed because the customer has decided to either go ahead at a later date or not at all.
If you plan to spend a lot of money on advertising but are unlikely to chase leads until it's converted or lost then don't waste your time or money.
It's possible to automate parts of your lead generation using, for example, automated email marketing and this is something to consider seriously in your business as it can save time and money AND lead to higher conversion rates and sales. However, there will always be times when the personal touch is needed that can't be fully automated and the level of personal touch depends on the type of business.
Facebook and Google Ads, business networking and email marketing are great tools to generate leads but they cannot be highly ineffective if you don't respond to potential or qualified opportunities properly.
It might sound simple but responding professionally and timely to enquiries can make a huge difference when it comes to winning an opportunity. Now you know how to improve your conversion rates.
Contact Think Twice Marketing to get help with your lead generation process.
I hate to sound like a politician but, it depends.
At this point, don't worry, I'm not going to start talking politics although if there was any relation to politics then by any measurement, a blog post should be shorter than the current Brexit process!
The length of a blog post depends on your line of business, what the topic is and what your objectives are. My strong preference is always to have posts that are between 300-600 words in length. Anything short of 300 words makes it very difficult to get the key message of a blog post over to your audience while longer posts start to lose readers who, like all of us in today's busy world, have short attention spans.
Still there? What if I can keep the readers attention?
You can keep people's attention for longer with images and titles (like the one above) but longer blog posts tend to be too wordy or lack focus. A good blog post should have a call to action at the end and the more reading and scrolling on a mobile device to read the full article risks the reader losing interest and not getting to the call to action at the end.
But I need more words to describe my concept or issue!
If you are a rocket scientist (or in the area of anything to do with science!) you may need longer blog posts to explain something. Blog posts can often be used to provide educational or informative insights and longer blog posts may be necessary but this should be for occasional blog posts, not for every post.
My SEO guy says they should be 3,000 words long
If you are familiar with Search Engine Optimisation (getting to the top of Google or SEO for short) then you will most likely have been told to pack your posts with the right keywords and that the more visitors and the longer they stay on your page then the higher Google will rank your page in search. To this end, you may have been told to write blog posts that are well over 1,000 words.
These are valid points but consider these points...
You may want to contrast long blog posts with marketing blog posts from Seth Godin - a well-known marketing guru who frequently writes short posts, sometimes that are less than 200 words. There aren't many marketing experts better than Seth so he must be doing something right.
There is no definite rule to how long a blog post should be, but they should be easy to read, informative and add value. They should include headings, images and if possible, video.
If you can get the message across in less than 300 words then perfect. If you need over 600 words to do it from time to time then that's fine but as a general rule, 3-600 words offers a great balance in meeting your objectives.
Is it possible to get the message across in less than 600 words? Well, I believe it is. Thanks for reading my 584-word blog post!
Need help writing blog posts? Contact us
The opinions in these blog posts are those of marketing professional and book author Darren Hignett.