How To Create Your First Business Website – In 8 Simple Steps

How To Create Your First Business Website – In 8 Simple Steps

Your website is the foundation for your online presence.

It doesn’t matter where or how or how often you advertise online, all the leads you generate land on your website. So, it only stands to reason that your site needs to be clear, useful and well designed for the needs of your audience.

Before you start worrying about Google AdWords, banner ads, Facebook or search engine optimization, you need to make sure that your site is effective enough to convert all those website hits into qualified leads. Otherwise it’s like sending all your friends to a bad restaurant – no one is going to want to go back.

The quality and quantity of ‘useful’ information on the site will impact how many people can find it in search engines and consequently the number of daily ‘hits’ your site will earn. The more hits you earn, the more your online marketing will drive sales and profits, and isn’t that the goal?

Ready to get started?

This Post will cover:

  • How to create a website that is user-friendly
  • Why your site may need to be redesigned or updated
  • The benefits of using a firm to build your site
  • A step-by-step process for creating a website
  • How to optimize your site for search engines

Create a website that is designed for your existing and prospective customers to use.

Many business owners get really excited about creating their websites, and get completely wrapped up in the design process. Usually this results in fancy flash sites that are difficult to use, take forever to load, and drive customers away.

The website is not about the needs of your business, but about the needs of your customers. What do they need to know about how your product or service will solve their problem or meet their need? What additional information would they benefit from learning from you? What do they need to know before they pick up the phone and contact you?

Every business is unique, and will have a different purpose for their website. Some will have an online store, while others will have three simple pages relevant product and contact information. An effective website is one that meets the needs of the target market.

If your business has an existing website, it might be time for an update or a complete redesign.

It’s time to take a critical look at the website your business currently has online. Of course, if your site is experiences a high number of daily hits and has a high conversion rate (converting ‘hits’ into leads), you may not need to revamp it. However, I recommend you always look for opportunities to improve.

Does your website look professional and of a high quality design?

There are millions of websites out there, but unfortunately many look sloppy, templated, and unprofessional. In all areas of your business your first impression matters and this includes your website. Prospects who know nothing about your company will judge your product or service based on how your homepage looks and feels. A well-designed website will attract customers and begin to build trust and confidence in your offering.

Has your business grown since you built your website?

If it has been a while since you built your site, chances are your business has grown and so has your customer base. This is great, but you need to check in with your current website and make sure it still provides accurate and relevant information about your products and services.

It also may be time to take your site to the next level. Here are some suggestions:

  • Online customer support
  • Online purchase of products or services
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Customer feedback form
  • E-mail newsletters or auto-responders
  • Free ‘expert’ information

Where does your website rank when searched on Google and other search engines?

When you take the time to build a website, you want to make sure that people can find you when they search the major online search engines. If you are a dog groomer, you want your site to be in the top 10 when people search for dog care and products in your area. You want your site to rank higher than the competition on the list.

If you didn’t design your site for search engine optimization (SEO), then redesigning it to rank higher is a smart investment for any business. I’ll explain more about SEO and using keywords later on in the post.

Unless you’re a web designer, I highly recommend outsourcing the creation of your website to an experienced person or firm.

The reason for this is simple. It’s really hard to create a site that looks and functions professionally when you have little experience in web design. Plus, you’re busy running and growing your business, and building websites can be a huge drain on your time – especially if you’re building your first one.

Customers’ don’t trust sites that look like amateurs have created them, so spend your time choosing a good web designer and leave it up to the experts. Here are some tips for finding a firm or freelancer:

> You get what you pay for. Avoid the temptation to go with the cheapest web design company or contractor. If you end up with a poorly designed site, it will cost you more money in the long run, driving away customers and needing to be redone.

> Ask around for referrals. Ask colleagues and other business owners who they used to build their sites or can recommend anyone. You can also do a search to locate local web designers.

> Contact a few firms for a quote. Make sure they can turn the quote around in a timely fashion, which shows they can give you the time and service you require.

> Get a fixed fee quote with a payment plan. A fixed-fee quote will keep your costs predictable. Make sure the payment plan is fair; don’t pay more than 50% up front before the project is completed.

> Check out the company’s portfolio. Aside from deciding if the company is a good working fit for your business, make sure they do good work. Look at their past web projects and make sure they design good-looking, easy to use sites.

> Make sure they make Google-friendly websites. The majority of websites are found through search engines, so if your business doesn’t show up on the first two pages of Google searches for related keywords, you’re going to have a hard time generating hits.

website great for customer

1. Decide what your customers need from your website.

Just like any of your marketing materials, when creating a website you need to first stop and think about your target audience. In this case, you want to consider how your market is going to use your website, how web savvy they are, as well as how much information they need to know about your business before they contact you.

Ask yourself:

  • Who are my target audience?
  • What is the purpose of my website?
  • What do viewers need to know to convince them to make contact?
  • Will I need to sell products or services online?

Based on your answers, there are basically two types of sites you could set up for your business:

1. Content Site. This is the type of site you see most often, as it is fairly inexpensive and easy to create. It provides product, service and company information, as well as other useful information relevant to the business offering. The customer has to go in store or contact you to make a purchase.

2. E-Commerce Site. This is a site that sells products or services online through PayPal or a credit card processing company. This is a more expensive site to create that requires much more maintenance and attention. Other considerations include shipping, payment security, inventory updates, order forms and customer relations.

select domain name

2. Register a domain name that’s easy to remember and then select a web host.

Choose a domain name, and register it online.

A domain name is your ‘address’ or ‘location’ on the Internet. It’s the phrase a customer will type in to find your website. Your domain name can be any combination of letters and numbers up to 63 characters, and followed by an ‘extension’ like .com, .ca, or .biz.

A good domain name:

  • Is short and easy to remember.
  • Is simple and easy to spell.
  • Reflects your business.
  • Usually ends in .com

To register your domain name, simply search “register domain name,” and find a registration website. You will need to first search the availability of your domain name, then secure it by registering it to your name for one or more years.

Choose a web host.

A web host is a company that stores your web site on their servers and transmits the files to the internet so that when someone goes to your domain name your website appears.

When you have your domain name registered, you will have to choose a hosting company. The key here is to find a host that offers great tech support and is available 24/7. If something happens and your website goes down, you’ll need to be able to reach them quickly to fix the problem.

There are a variety of web hosts out there, and many major Internet providers will also offer hosting services. If you are using a web design company, they will be able to recommend a quality host.

great website wequipu.com

3. Hire an expert to help build your website.

Like I said above, I highly recommend using a web design company to build your website – especially if you are building an e-commerce site. The process for finding and hiring a firm is explained earlier in this post.

If you do decide to create it yourself, there are many website-building programs out there, and some web hosts even offer templates for you to use. If you choose this option, ensure that your copy and images are as clear and simple as possible. Don’t attempt to earn any design awards, or you may run the risk of producing an amateur site.

Remember that attractive web design will draw visitors to your site, and engage them in what you offer. Many people will judge a product or company based on the design of the site, which means that a good web design can potentially help your business grow.

However, also be aware that content is still king. It’s easy to get wrapped up in flashy design and lose focus of the content or purpose of your site. Make sure there is a healthy balance.

4. Use keywords throughout your web copy.

keywords seo wequipu.comOne of the key strategies for search engine optimization is the incorporation of keywords in your body copy. Keywords are the most common words and phrases that people use to search for when looking for businesses like yours, or any other type of information online. When the words are entered, the search engine delivers the top sites that relate to those keywords – there may be millions of them.

If your website is search engine optimized, it will appear in the top 20 to 30 sites displayed, which will usually generate a high volume of traffic to your website. If you don’t use keywords, you will have a difficult time brining your website up the search engine rankings.

If you’ve hired a web design firm, they should be well versed in SEO and able to help you write your copy with keywords in mind. To find out what keywords you should incorporate, go to Overture or WordTracker and follow the steps.

You will enter some common search phrases a customer may use to find you, and hundreds of similar search terms will be listed, along with frequency. The more often you use the high frequency search phrases in your copy, the better the SEO of your site.

5. Publish your site by uploading it online.

website wequipu.comWhen the files that comprise your website are complete, you will need to upload them to your web host’s server in order to ‘publish’ your site or make it live.

If you are using a web design firm, they will usually take care of this for you. If you are building your site yourself, you will need to use an FTP program like FileZilla to login to the host server and upload the files to your domain.

If you want to make edits to the site yourself, you will have to download the files to your computer, make changes, and then upload them to the host server again. Be clear with the company that designed the site about the procedure for making changes. The most current files should always be the ones on the host server, because it can get complicated if edits are being made in two places, with two sets of files.

6. Test your website for usability.

When your site is published, invite your friends and colleagues to “test drive” it for user-friendliness. Watch them as they fill in forms, submit quote requests, edit user accounts or profiles, make a purchase or even just find key information. Don’t help them along, just sit back and see how easy it is to navigate around your website as a customer. You may find areas that you need to tweak or improve.

test first website7. Register with search engines and tell everyone about your site.

Ensure that your site will get listed with major search engines. Register your website address with the top search engines so prospects can find your business. 70% of web surfers find sites through search engines, so you really can’t afford not to. Most a free, but some will charge a nominal fee for the registration. It’s worth the investment.

Click on the following links to register your site:

Send your friends, customers and colleagues an email announcement. Send an email announcement to your customer database, as well as your business partners and colleagues announcing the launch of your new site. Provide a link for them to easily access the new page.

Exchange links with complementary businesses. If you know of other complementary businesses with websites (make sure they’re not competitors) offer to exchange links and post them on each other’s sites. Generally, the more sites that legitimately link to yours, the higher your search rating will be.

Promote your website offline too! Don’t forget to include your website address everywhere you include your contact information. This goes for ads, brochures, direct mail pieces, business cards, business listings and letterhead. Use an email address with your domain name.

8. Implement a system for tracking traffic on your website.

website analytics wequipu.com Establish an in store system for tracking leads generated from your website. Include your website as a lead source in your tracking systems, or when you ask customers where they heard about your business. This will give you a sense of how many people you are converting from website hits to qualified leads.

Build a tracking system into your website with Google Analytics. Use an online metrics measurement system like Google Analytics to monitor the traffic your site generates. Google Analytics is free to use, and easy to set up. Register at http://www.google.com/analytics/ and have your web design company insert a small tracking code on each of your web pages. Google Analytics offers a comprehensive range of tracking and web analysis tools, and will measure metrics like:

  • how many people visited your website
  • which pages they visited
  • where they came from (geographically)
  • where they came from (online – search engine, link, other site, direct)
  • at which page they left the site

You can then use this information to restructure the copy on your website so that the pages with the highest traffic also have the most important messages. You will also be able to see which advertisements are drawing the highest traffic, and drop the ads that are generating the least.

The world of online marketing can be a confusing and challenging place, but the best strategies start with a strong, user-friendly website.

Once your website is up and running, remember that it’s an evolving tool for you to use and change as the need arises. Keep the content fresh, and look for new opportunities to make it more useful to your customers.

Don’t forget to monitor the site’s performance on a weekly or monthly basis. Like everything else in your marketing plan you need to track the results to find out what is and isn’t working.

Here’s To Your Success!

 

5 Easy Steps to Test and Measure Your Marketing Results

5 Easy Steps to Test and Measure Your Marketing Results

Testing and measuring your marketing is critical to the growth and profitability of your business.

In fact, unless you have some form of measurement system in place, how will you even know if your business is growing or making a profit?

Of course if your net income is greater than your costs, you know you’re making money, but how do you know that cost of one marketing strategy isn’t eating all the profit of another? You need to know that each penny of your marketing budget is bringing in an acceptable return on investment so that your business grows and stays profitable.

Too many business owners fail to test and measure their marketing, and end up spending way beyond their budgets or leave heaps of money on the table. I find that there are three reasons for this:

  1. They don’t know how to test their marketing
  2. They think the testing process is too time-consuming or complicated
  3. They don’t know how to evaluate their results or make decisions based on them

Let’s get started and make sure you don’t fall into any of those categories.

We will cover:

  • How testing and measuring relates to your bottom line and business growth
  • How to test and measure on a small scale before you go big
  • How to track responses on your marketing campaign
  • How to split-test your marketing
  • How to evaluate your results and make decisions
  • Campaign rate of return and break-even analyzes

Testing and measuring is an overall, ongoing system or habit that you need to implement in your business.

You need to consistently test and measure your marketing to make sure you don’t make mistakes that cost you money. You also test and measure your marketing to make sure you’re making the most money possible from each marketing strategy you execute.

Since you should measure every time you market your business, you will need to have an ongoing system integrated into your business operations.

There will need to be a clear system for tracking responses and sales, and attributing each to a specific campaign. You will also need to make evaluating your results and making changes based on them a regular part of your weekly or monthly routine.

This may be as simple as a tracking sheet placed at every point of sale and phone in your business. It could be as high-tech as a web-based lead tracking system like SalesForce. Either way, you need to use a system that works with your business. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting into the habit of asking every customer how they heard about your company.

Your marketing strategy or campaign will never start out perfect – it will be a constant work in progress. The only way you’ll be able to establish what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong is to test and measure the results. When you make these tweaks, one at a time, on an ongoing basis, you will leverage your marketing to get the best possible return on investment.

You can learn something from every mailing, ad, newsletter or promotion, but if you fail to test and measure you’ll run the risk of making mistakes that cost you money, and repeating them.

Always test and measure your campaign ideas on a small scale before you go big.

Like I said, none of your marketing strategies start out perfect. To perfect them and maximize your return, you need to test and measure your results. This means all you perfectionists need to just dive in and start your campaigns instead of waiting for the time to be perfect or for yourself to be absolutely sure of the results.

This is a straightforward strategy when you run regular advertisements in the local paper, mail to your base of existing customers, or are thinking of a cool promotional idea. However, if you’re about to embark on a big marketing strategy and make a big investment, it’s best to test on a small scale before you commit to a large campaign.

Failing to test on a small scale before you go big will put you at risk of blowing your entire marketing budget, and having nothing left but a flopped campaign. You need to take a small portion of that budget to test your idea, and then evaluate the results to determine if it’s worth committing the rest of the budget to it.

Depending on the size of the strategy, I would recommend testing with about 10% to 15% of your overall budget. Here are some suggestions for small tests:

> Direct Mail. From your direct mail list, choose at random 10% of the contacts and send your mailing to that 10% first. Then measure the results, and make changes based on the response rate and sales generated. You may wish to split test if you need to evaluate the impact of your offer or price point and compare the response.

> Website. If you’re creating a website or redesigning the one you have, start by creating a simple splash page or a simple five or six page starter site. Then track your website hits and which pages your visitors are click on most often. This will tell you which areas of your site you need to invest the most time on.

> Advertisements. If you’re planning a big ad campaign in multiple publications, try testing your headlines and offers on a smaller scale in smaller or less expensive publications. If you were planning a series of ads in the same publication, try measuring the impact of one to see if the rest of the series will be worth the investment.

Remember that it can be difficult to get a true understanding of the impact of a big campaign when you’re testing small because often prospects will have to see your messages multiple times. The cumulative impact of a campaign can’t be measured over the short term. However, small tests will allow you to see if a campaign is going to be a big flop, or if you can tweak it to have more power.

Use this process to track, test and measure each of your marketing campaigns.

1. Conduct a break-even analysis to identify the results needed to recover cost and make an acceptable profit.

Before you a run an ad or a campaign, it’s essential that you work out exactly what response rate you need to recover your costs and turn enough profit to make the campaign worthwhile. This will prevent you from running campaigns with a low chance of success.

What should I target as a response rate?

While response rates will vary dramatically, it’s best to be conservative. If you require a high response rate – anything about 20% as a rough guideline – to break even, the campaign runs the risk of costing you money.

Once you begin tracking and measuring response rates on all of your marketing initiatives, you will gain a better understanding of typical response rates for your company, target market and industry. You can base target response rates on averages of these figures.

How do you know if your profit target is ‘acceptable’?

Profit targets will also vary by ad, campaign and, of course, business type. You need to establish what a realistic figure would be for your business, taking into consideration your average revenue and the relative cost of the campaign.

For example, it would be unrealistic to try to double your revenues in a month with a single advertisement, but a 10% increase with three advertisements may be a more attainable target.

Also consider the relative cost of the campaign. If you’re spending $5,000 on a direct mailing, $100 in profit doesn’t justify your time investment or make the campaign worthwhile.

Use this simple break-even analysis to plan for an advertisement, direct mailing or entire campaign.

A break even analysis will tell you how many sales you will need to generate to recover your costs and turn a profit.

A. Costs: Determine the total costs involved in your offer, both fixed and variable.

$ fixed costs + $ variable costs = $ total costs

B. Profit: Assess how much profit you generate per average sale or transaction.

$ average sale x % profit margin = $ profit per sale

C. Break Even Point: Calculate how many transactions you’ll need to break even

$ total costs / $ profit per sale = # sales to break even

So, if I’m considering running a direct mail campaign, my calculation would look like this:

02-How to Test and Measure Your Results

Now, to figure out if the campaign response target is realistic, I include the total number of mailings to calculate the percentage response rate.

# break even point / # total mailings x 100 = % response rate

So, if my direct mail list included 250 people, the response needed to break even would be 19.6%, which is too high for a break even point. I’d need nearly 20% of my recipients to buy before I even started turning a profit. If the mailing list included 5000 people, the break even response rate would be much better at 0.98%

2. Implement coding and tracking systems in your marketing campaigns.

While testing and measuring is not an exact science, there are ways you can build coding or tracking systems into your marketing campaigns to make it easy to see where your leads and customers are coming from.

Each time you design an ad or create a direct mailing, think about how you will be able to tell when a customer purchases in response. Here are some suggestions for “coding” your marketing strategies so you can track their results in your tracking systems:

  • Count the number of people who walk in your store to track retail traffic before and during a campaign.
  • Compare sales figures before, after and during a campaign. Remember that advertising can have a cumulative effect, so don’t be surprised if results spike after the third campaign in a row.
  • Print a coupon as part of your print advertising or direct mail. Offer a discount or free product and require customers to present the coupon to receive it. If you advertise in several places, put a different code or number on each publication and you’ll see which publication generates the best results.
  • Give an incentive for disclosing their source. Give them a reason to tell you what ad or strategy they’re responding to: “Mention this ad and get 5% your next order.”
  • Dedicate a phone line or extension to each campaign. If you do a lot of advertising, publish a different extension for each ad. When a customer asks for “extension 53” you’ll know which ad or direct mailing they’re responding to.
  • Compare website traffic before and after a campaign. Use Google Analytics or ask your web host for a report on the number of hits on your site by day, week or month. Do the same after or during a campaign and compare.

Use a tracking sheet to log leads and customers.

Ask every customer who visits your store or calls your business where they heard about you. If you have contact forms on your website, include a “where did you hear from us?” box. Make it a part of you and your staff’s conversations with customers.

Use a simple tracking sheet like this to keep tabs on where your customers are coming from. I suggest keeping a sheet like this by your point of sale system and by the company phone, and using one per day or per week. This will give you an easy at-a-glance idea of how your strategies are performing.

04-How to Test and Measure Your Results3. Split-test your marketing to compare the impact of two offers, headlines, or other elements of a campaign.

Like I said above, no form of marketing is perfect from the beginning. You need to test and evaluate your strategies to determine which is the most effective. This goes for entire strategies – like direct mail – or elements of that strategy – like offers, color, headlines, font, layout or price. You can always improve your marketing by tweaking the details.

You can use split testing to test two elements at the same time, and see which is most effective. When you measure your results, you usually will find that one works better than the other. Then you can ditch the ineffective one, and go on to test another element, or test the successful element against another version.

For example, if you want to test offers in your direct mail, you would send one offer to half your list, and the other offer to the other half of your list. Then, when customers call or come in store, you see which offer they ask for. The offer asked for most is the strongest one. If you’re happy with the results, move on to test headlines. If not, test the successful offer against a new one.

4. When you’re testing your marketing, only test one detail at a time.

Like any good science experiment, you can only test one variable at a time to measure its impact. So if you’re testing your headline, you can’t test your offer or your price. Otherwise you won’t be able to evaluate which of the two changes generated the change in results

So, if you run a regular advertisement in a magazine or newspaper, only change one element of that ad and measure the difference in response or sales. If sales go up, keep the change and test another element. If they don’t, try another strategy.

5. At the end of the campaign or advertising period, calculate the campaign rate of return or ROI and analyze your results.

Calculate your return on investment for each campaign or ad you run.

To calculate your campaign rate of return as a percentage, divide your profit by your total spend and multiply by 100. You can also simply subtract your investment from you profit and get a dollar value.

$ profit (after costs) / $ investment x 100 = % rate of return

$ profit – $ investment = $ return on investment

So, if your ad campaign costs you $10,000 and after three months it has generated 190 customers with an average sale of $1,500, and a profit margin of 50%, your calculation would look like this:

[($1000 x 190) x .50] – $10,000 = $85,000

or

[($1000 x 190) x .50] / 10,000 x 100 = 950%

This figure will vary depending on the campaign and the business. Generally, a figure that is between 10% and 15% of your sales is a reasonable target. So if you typically bring in $150,000 in gross revenue per month, a healthy expectation for your campaign would be to bring in about $15,000 to $22,500.

Remember that a successful campaign is one that makes you money – not just generates more inquiries or leads – so make sure there has been some increase in sales.

Evaluate and analyze your results to make decisions and draw conclusions.

Once your campaign is over, compile your tracking and sales sheets and evaluate the results. Make sure the tracking and sales are captured over the same time period, and break your chosen time period down by week (if you’re looking at the month) or the month (if you’re looking at the quarter or year). This will give you an idea of how the campaign performed over time.

When you have your results in front of you, ask yourself some of these questions to analyze them and draw conclusions. Then, make decisions about changes you could make to further enhance your results.

  • Did I hit my target response rate?
  • Did I hit my target return on investment?
  • Is the return on investment acceptable?
  • Did I make money on this campaign?
  • Which (headline/offer/guarantee/layout, etc.) generated the best results?
  • How do these results compare to other forms of marketing?
  • How do these results compare to past strategies and campaigns?
  • What can I split-test next?
  • Will I run this campaign or strategy again?

Testing and measuring is the only way to make the most of your marketing campaigns and avoid repeating costly mistakes.

Like I said before, it’s just a matter of getting into the habit of budgeting for and evaluating each campaign you run. Once the systems are in place, it will take very little extra effort and you’ll really see the difference in your marketing budget and in your revenues. You can’t afford not to.

Coming up next is a two-part Class on social proof, or testimonial marketing. The thoughts and opinions of your customers have incredible power over the decisions that your prospect makes over the course of the sales process.

I’m going to show you how to collect and use testimonials to boost your conversion rate.

Until next time!

 

7 Easy Steps To Strengthen Your Marketing Message Now

7 Easy Steps To Strengthen Your Marketing Message Now

Blog-a-Lesson Checkpoint:

  • You know who your target market is, what their needs are, what their purchase behaviors are and how to reach them.
  • You know how to use market research to find out more information about your market on a regular basis.

This Blog-a-Lesson is about writing targeted messages for your target market.

In a earlier post I showed you how to isolate your target market, and then how to use market research to gather information about that group of people to use in your marketing strategies.

Today we’re going to take your market research and use it to create a powerful marketing message. The strength of your marketing message lies in its ability to speak to the specific wants and desires of your target market, and tap into their emotional reactions, or hot buttons.

When you push those hot buttons, you motivate your audience to take action. The more people you can motivate to take action, the more leads you’ll have in store and on the other end of the phone line.

In this Blog-a-Lesson we will cover:

  • How a strong marketing message will supercharge your lead generation
  • Examples of strong marketing messages
  • A step-by-step process for developing your unique marketing message
  • Strategies that will strengthen your existing marketing message
  • How to test and measure the strength of your message.
  • How to be consistent with your strong marketing message

A strong marketing message will make a huge difference in your lead generation strategies.

A marketing message is simply a statement or phrase that you use to communicate information about your business to others. A strong marketing message will do four things:

  • Speak to the reader’s needs, wants or problems (hot buttons)
  • Offer a solution, advantage or benefit
  • Describe a point of difference
  • Motivate the reader to take action

As I said earlier, the key here is to motivate your target audience to do something after they read or hear the message. It needs to be strong enough to entice the audience to ask for more information, visit the website, pick up the phone or walk in the store.

You will put your marketing message on every piece of marketing material your business uses for lead generation, so it has to be powerful and consistent and speak to the group of people that you have identified as your ideal customers. Strengthening your marketing message has the potential to dramatically increase your lead generation before you even change your existing strategies.

Here are some examples of strong marketing messages that are used by successful businesses today.

how-to-create-marketing-material-1

Let’s get started with the process you can use to create a new marketing message for your business, or refine the marketing message you already have.

Work through the following questions to brainstorm and record the aspects of your business that you will communicate in your marketing message. Take your time, and be as detailed as possible.

1. Use all the information you gathered about your target market to figure out what your customer’s hot buttons are.

Write down who your customers are, and what their problems, desires and needs are.

Take some time to revisit the behavioral and psychographic information you gathered when researching your target market. This will give you an idea of what kind of emotional hot buttons you should focus on when creating your marketing message.

Hot buttons are emotional triggers that motivate your potential customers to take action. Some common hot buttons are: price, location, exclusivity, results, safety, timeliness, convenience and atmosphere.

2. Describe the value or benefit that your product or service offers your customers.

This is what your customers get when they spend money at your business – the answer to “what’s in it for me?” How do you solve their problems? How do you meet their needs, or fulfill their desires?

For example, maybe you’re a grocery store in the neighbourhood, and you offer the convenience of being just a short stroll away instead of a car ride.

When you’re thinking about this question, think about your product or service in the context of the benefits, results, or advantages customers receive, instead of the features you offer.

3. Think about the outcome of the value or solution that you provide.

Brainstorm what happens when your customers receive the value or benefit from your product or service, what happens? Are they thrilled? Relieved of worry? Do they have more time to spend with their families, or do they put dinner on the table faster?

This is kind of like the storytelling aspect of creating your marketing message. Paint a picture of how you will improve the lives of your customers, in one way or another.

4. What is your company’s point of difference? What makes you stand out from the competition?

Your point of difference – or uniqueness – is something you will want to strongly feature in your marketing message. It is the reason that the reader should choose your business instead of your competition.

For this step, do some research on your competition and see what kinds of marketing messages they are using. How strong are those messages? What benefits and results do they promise?

If you are having trouble figuring out what sets you apart from your competition, think about including an irresistible offer, or a strong guarantee to give yourself an edge. (We’ll spend some time on powerful offers and risk reversal strategies like guarantees later on in the program.)

5. What is the perception you would like others to have about your business?

How you wish your customers to perceive you will impact how you describe your offering in your marketing message, and the kind of language you will use. Revisit the vision you created, and write down some ideas about the image you want your business to project to the outside world.

For example, if your business is completely transforming its operations to become more environmentally sustainable, you will need to use different language and emphasize different features and benefits than you did before.

6. Based on the notes you wrote in response to the above questions, summarize the information into a paragraph of 4 to 5 sentences.

If you’ve got pages of notes, this may be a challenging part of the process, but that’s okay because it means you have a lot to work with. Take your time, and wade through your notes bit by bit.

You may want to start by writing 10 to 15 sentences, and then narrow those down to 4 to 5 sentences when you have a better idea of what specifically you want to focus on. Or, you could try writing three sentences for each question, and then working to synthesize from that point.

Keep in mind that the most effective marketing messages use strong, descriptive language that triggers emotional responses. Think about how you would describe your point of difference, or value-added service to a close friend, and write with that in mind.

7. Using descriptive language, synthesize your paragraph into a single sentence of 15 words or less.

This sentence will become your unique marketing message!

I know how challenging this part of the process can be, so to make it easier, I usually write a few different sentences that emphasize different things to give myself choices. For example, if you don’t know whether to feature your company’s commitment to unbelievable prices, or its guarantee of customer satisfaction, write one sentence each and compare which is stronger.

Aim to have two or three sentences that you’re happy with, and then test them out to see which is the most effective.

The only way to find out the strength of your marketing message is to test it. Don’t be afraid of making some mistakes – you need to get feedback!

Test your three draft marketing messages internally first.

Before you go out to the public with your drafts, test them on your friends, family, staff and colleagues first. Use their feedback constructively, but don’t be afraid to stand up for elements that you believe are effective or important.

Once you have gathered enough feedback, rework your draft messages and incorporate the suggestions you believe are valuable.

Incorporate feedback, and then test a few draft messages externally.

When you have refined your draft messages and incorporated staff and colleague feedback, you can start to test the messages out on your audience.

This doesn’t have to be complicated, or cost a lot of money. Simple tests using small-scale distributions will give you the information you need to choose which message is the most effective.

For example, place two or three ads in the local newspaper – one a week with a different message each time – and compare the number of leads each ad generates. Or, send out a small direct mail campaign, with the materials split into three groups – one for each message.

The message that generates the most leads is the strongest, and will be the one you choose to be your business’ unique marketing message.

Now that you’ve got a killer message, use it consistently on all of your marketing materials and in all of your campaigns.

Consistency and repetition are powerful persuasive tools to use to reinforce your message over time. Ensuring your marketing message appears on all documents related to your business will build your brand image and your company’s reputation.

Make a list of all marketing materials, stationery, signage and internal and external documentation that your customers and clients come in contact with. Then, incorporate your marketing message onto each of them.

Here’s a suggested list of materials to include:

  • Website
  • Advertisements
  • Direct Mail
  • Listings
  • Phone Messages
  • Email Signature
  • Business Cards
  • Letterhead

Now that you know what you’re going to say, and who you’re going to say it to, let’s dive into some lead generation strategies.

The next post focuses on advanced strategies for lead generation that you can start implementing into your business right away. Our focus is to set up lead generation strategies that either immediately or over time will run themselves, so you can generate more leads with less time investment.

To Your Success,

wEquipu-small-business

We help you develop breakthrough marketing strategies and put groundbreaking small business consulting ideas into action with our Silver Bullet System ultimately improving small businesses decisions and business results through proven methodologies. 

As John Maxwell Certified Coaches, we have the management and team coaching expertise to tackle team challenges head on.  We help small businesses overcome fierce competition, modest budgets and solidifying their sales and marketing engine by improving lead generation, conversion rates, transactions, higher prices and profits generation strategies. – wEquipu Team.