5 Quick Things You Can Do This Week to Fix Your Marketing

image of wooden file cabinet

Most of the time, “quick fixes” are bogus.

Magic systems to make $100K a year in five minutes a day? Bogus.

Eating plans to lose 20 pounds this week? Bogus.

Five-second techniques to find the romantic partner of your dreams? Bogus.

However, nearly anything you do in life is subject to the Pareto Principle — the observation that you’ll get 80% of your results from 20% of your input.

Consultants like to call this the “low-hanging fruit.” In other words, the few important problems they can fix quickly and look like geniuses.

When you’re using the web to market your business, there are a few important things that most people get wrong at first.

So look through this list, and if you see any offenders in your business, this week, work on cleaning them up.

#1: You have no call to action

Even huge businesses with massive marketing budgets can miss this one, so don’t feel bad.

When you want someone in your audience to take some action (sign up for your email list, buy something, sign a petition, go for a walk, etc.), tell them what to do. Copywriters call this a call to action, and it’s the fastest way to make your copy more effective.

Tell them clearly and succinctly. Please in the name of all that is good, don’t be “clever.”

If you want someone to click a link to sign up for your awesome email course and library of valuable ebooks, use the words Click here to sign up for our awesome email course and library of valuable ebooks.

Your homework this week: Look through the key pages on your site. Do you have clear calls to action on each page? Are they simple and unambiguous? Could they be a little stronger?

#2: No one can figure out what you do

If you prepare taxes, the words Tax Preparation need to be right at the top of your site. If you’re a kettlebell instructor, those words should be Learn the Kettlebell. If you’re a massage therapist, make sure the word Massage is front and center.

Too many businesses get into a marketing exercise of diving deep into what their customers want (which is a good thing to do), and end up with tag lines like “Empowering strength and flexibility through core movement strategies.”

That’s fine as your personal mission for how you’ll help people. But it leaves your audience with no idea what you do.

Tax preparer. Copywriter. Kettlebell instructor. WordPress developer. Massage therapist.

Don’t get clever about how you describe what you do. Use the language that your audience uses. (This is also very helpful for your SEO copywriting.)

Your homework: How would a normal person describe what you do? What specific words do they use?

Go to your home page and your About page right now. Are those words clearly visible?

#3: There’s no benefit in the headline

There’s kind of a tradition for new writers here at Copyblogger. We come up with headlines that are clever, cute, and curiosity-inspiring. Then Brian Clark administers daily beatings until we knock it off.

OK, just kidding. Sort of. But Brian does manage to (respectfully) get all of us to understand that “clever” headlines don’t work nearly as well as headlines that clearly communicate a benefit.

Will your audience learn to save an hour a day by listening to your podcast? That’s what should be in the headline.

Will they discover 8 new ways to find clients from your blog post? You know what’s got to be there.

There are lots of techniques for producing more effective headline, and you should definitely spend the time to learn and master them.

But this is one you can implement right away, and that you can mentally check every time you publish a piece of content.

Your homework: Take a look at any content you’re publishing this week. (Blog posts, email newsletter articles, videos, etc.)

What benefit does the audience get from reading, watching, or listening?

Get that benefit into your headline.

#4: The customer isn’t ready for you

Most businesses, alas, don’t work like lemonade stands.

If I’m walking down the street and I see a lemonade stand, I’ll buy lemonade, assuming I’m thirsty. Very simple.

But your business is probably more complex than that.

Because you’re using content marketing to build an audience, you’ll be attracting some people who aren’t thirsty yet. Some of your audience plans to be thirsty at some point in the next 30 days. Some of your audience isn’t ever going to get thirsty, but they do work with a lot of thirsty people, so they may want to refer you later.

You need a way to “park” your entire audience, and keep them interested and engaged until they’re ready to make a purchase.

There are a lot of ways to do this, and not all of them fall into the “quick fix” territory. But one that you can implement this week is to add an autoresponder to your email marketing.

An email autoresponder is a sequence of messages that fires off for every new subscriber to your email list. It’s a brilliant way to hold your audience’s interest until they’re ready for what you have to offer.

You won’t write an entire sequence this week. (Probably.) But you can definitely get one or two messages written, then add one or two each week until you’ve got a nice, robust sequence that holds on to your prospect’s attention until she’s ready to buy (or refer).

Your homework: If you have an email list in place now, outline a beneficial autoresponder sequence that will keep your audience interested and engaged. Then write the first message and add it to your system.

If you don’t have an email list yet, get one in place. Your audience’s attention is a precious commodity. Don’t waste it — capture it so you can continue to benefit them.

#5: You’re ignoring your existing customers

Want to know the smartest, most effective, and least expensive place to find new customers?

It’s your database of existing customers.

Existing customers can bring in new business in at least three different ways.

  1. They can buy something else you have to offer.
  2. They can refer their friends.
  3. They can pass along marketing content you create, like blog posts or email newsletters. (Of course, that means those things have to be great.)

You need one key component to make this work: You have to care (a lot) about those customers, and you have to let them know how much you care.

Most companies, large and small, make a transaction with a new customer, and that’s the end of it. They might send additional pitches at some point, but they rarely do anything to make the relationship tighter and more meaningful.

So while you might think your homework would be to craft some kind of offer to go out to existing customers, you need to do something first.

Your homework: Think of a small way to surprise and delight the customers who have already given you money.

  • It might be a free Q&A.
  • It might be a special piece of content, like an ebook or white paper, that you offer them for free as a thank-you for their business.
  • It might be a nice discount on a related product they’ve been thinking about picking up.
  • It might be some special after-purchase information on how to get more out of what they’ve bought from you.

What small “thank-you” gift could you send your customers today, to let them know you think they’re pretty awesome? Try to “bake that in” to your sales process, so that your new customers have just as great an experience after the sale as they do before the sale.


Now do this …

You probably don’t want to try and get all five of these “homework” items crossed off your list this week. So pick the one that will give you the biggest bang for your buck … and get it into your calendar right now. By Wednesday next week, it should be finished. Then you can look at the remaining list and schedule any more that make sense.

Have you tried any of these fixes in your own business? Which one will you implement this week? Let us know in the comments.

About the author

Sonia Simone


Sonia Simone is co-founder and Chief Content Officer of Copyblogger Media. Get more from Sonia on Twitter and .

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Comments

  1. Great article. These are all things that I intuitively understand, but have not always acted upon. Thanks for the reminder and specific directions to accomplish what needs to be done. I’m going to be overhauling my site this fall and I’ll be working on all these things.

  2. Nice tips. The key as you said is just pick one and start with that! We can all do that :)

  3. “You need a way to “park” your entire audience, and keep them interested and engaged until they’re ready to make a purchase.”

    Most businesses don’t get the final sale after one interaction. The more complex the product is and the longer the sales cycle is the more time you need to nurture those leads. You have to keep them interested and engaged time and time again.

  4. Thanks so much for your very un-bogus suggestions, Sonia. Quick and (relatively) easy to accomplish most. #2 is still one I’m working on nailing down so that’s my focus this week.

    However, I’ve knocked off two of the five in 30 seconds. That’s a pretty quick fix, no? Just three to go and I’ve got a whole week left. Awesome!

    I just changed the headline (#3) for a post I’m about to publish, which now clearly shows the benefit of reading it. And (#5) the post is about how to thank your audience like a rock star. So I’m going back and letting my audience (and hopefully some new friends too) know how much I appreciate them. This post was inspired by Copyblogger’s own Demian Farnsworth, who Tweeted something to this effect. He also gets thanked in there so the kudos are just shooting out like a fire hose.

    Thanks again Sonia for some absurdly concise advise!

  5. Archan Mehta :

    Once again, Sonia, you have written a remarkable post. One of the finest I have come across: it really made sense and resonated with me.

    I think what we miss is that the process of buying and selling in the marketplace is a relationship and not just a transaction.

    If you want to stay in business, you need to honour that relationship. Long after the transaction is over, you need to pursue your customers.

    You can do that by firing up their imagination about new products and services on offer; or providing great customer service after they have bought your product. But somehow you have to stay in the game.

    The customer needs to understand that you care; that they are not lost and forgotten once you have their money in the palm of your hand.

    And you can be persistent without the bizzare behaviour of a stalker. Good timing is everything, so make sure you are professional and approach the customers accordingly. What’s a good time for them? Cheers.

  6. Stress benefits above all. We show up to be served, right? I read this because I want a quick fix. Excellent piece Sonia!

    I built my guest posting page differently 2 days ago. I title the page, “25 Reasons Why You Should Write a Guest Post for this Blog.” Straight and to the point.

    Some list out numbers or rankings. I do that but expound by focusing on other reasons to write a guest post.

    Once people see benefits they buy, or join, or sign up. Seeing AND feeling I should say because benefits must reach people on a subconscious level to promote action.

    Go heavy on the benefits to grow your business quickly.

    Think like someone who gobbles up benefits all day long; we all do but at times become lazy when building our marketing campaigns, forgetting what drives us to do what we do.

    Wonderful post Sonia, thanks for sharing!!

    Ryan

  7. Great tips – thank you.

    I’m going for the surprise ‘thank you’ gift to past buyers!

  8. About to launch a redux of my site (which sorely needs it) and this is a great and practical checklist before I hit the migrate site button! Copyblogger and Authority… you’re savin’ my bacon!

  9. Thanks Sonia for a practical solution to a nagging problem. #2 has been bugging me for a while and i have scheduled it in my calendar to come up with a clear message. There should be no doubt as to what your site is all about.

    • My massage therapist saw her business take a huge jump when she switched her sign (on her physical space) from “Personal wellness retreat” to “Day Spa.” If she’d changed it to “Massage,” I think she would have done even better.

      What’s clear to us isn’t always clear to our customers!

  10. Arlene O'Reilly :

    Good checklists are so powerful! They give us permission do what matters most right now without delay or excuses.

    Thank you, Sonia. You just gave me my action-list for this week and for regular check-ups.

  11. Hey Sonia,

    Your article is always informative and nice. This one also great and helpful.

    Thanks.

  12. I only discovered this website last week. Bloody hell it’s useful. Suddenly starting out as a new copywriter doesn’t seem as daunting. Not many emails I look forward to receiving each day — this is one of them. This post in particular is great. Realise haven’t spelt out the benefits of my business on my own homepage very well. Time to sort.

  13. Dear Sonia,

    I’ve been following and reading a lot of your relevant posts.
    The only question I have and still haven’t found the answer is how to apply all these ideas when you own an online publication in a specific industry like Fashion/Art.

    Fashion is a big industry, and an extremely competitive one. We work like crazy but we don’t give marketing tips, we don’t sell products, and we don’t teach readers how to monetize their blog.

    We cover original stories of creative professionals and independent brands. But, it’s not easy to build an audience when you don’t give useful tips or information.

    I think it would be interesting if CopyBlogger can bring some ideas about specific niches and industries, like you did for example with Real Estate.

    Many thanks:)

    • Sonia, please see my blog content. Would love to play with you. I’m offer so much more than superficiality!

      Don’t you love these people?

      I’m crushing. I’m finally finding the answers in the snarky way I love to hear them!

    • What’s the primary problem your audience wants to solve?

      Is it a business problem (how to get more customers for their fashion/beauty business), or a fashion problem (how to look good, how to stay on trend).

      Solve the problems that are bugging your audience.

  14. John Waghorn :

    Good second point, I’ve seen plenty of sites that follow this structure and the end result usually involves the customer clicking off the page to look elsewhere. I agree that you need to think about what customers want, but you also need to clearly state what you do as well, otherwise your message will be lost in translation.

    A call to action is a must for businesses selling products and services. It’s effective within copy, but you don’t want to overdo it with too many per page. The top of the page to draw attention and at the end of sales/company copy are perfect in this instance.

  15. I read the words “normal people” and got the giggles.

    But you are absolutely right in that customers often do not see a product in the same way that its creator does. I’m shocked by some of the searches that pop up for my blog which, while completely relevant, are no where near the intent I had in mind.

  16. God, I love you people.
    Ok..so slap me if you must.
    I’m an Image Stylist that ends up doing a sh*t ton of life coaching.
    (Because the image reveals lots of other issues that I can people fix and polish.) It’s true that the styling component appears to get people through my door, but only about 50% of the time.
    (There are also a sh*t ton of life coaches and I really don’t want to market myself that way.)
    How, pray tell, do you recommend that I address my marketing issue?
    I work with conscious entrepreneurs to make them look pretty online and everywhere else.

    Much obliged,
    Auretha

    *see Auretha.com for the soon-to-be-updated-according-to-your-advice website/blog

    • I would probably stick with marketing the problem that people originally come to you with (image consulting), and delivering what gets the results (a more holistic approach).

      There are a lot of people who want to look better, so having that as the primary benefit you sell is probably the way to go. From there, it’s a matter of experimenting with different ways of framing that until you hit on the one that works best.

  17. I think the hidden message to this post (at least the comments anyway) is that the secret to good content is to get a massage regularly. Well done Simone! I just printed these 4 points and stuck it to the wall above my desk to keep me on my toes.

  18. Great advice and it’s great that they are all really quick to do. I know that I need to go through my website and add a few call to actions. Thanks for sharing.

  19. I agree with you on #3.. This can make or break your conversions. Some marketers don’t understand how important your headline is.. Good tips..

  20. Question – What if you do quite a bit? This would be in terms of explaining yourself better to your audience. I mean if I have several blogs on different niches and I use my actual name for each of them – should I explain what I do pertaining to the niche in each “about page” on each blog? And what are your thoughts on creating a main site explaining more about me and all the niches that I write articles and perform services in? Great post! :)

    • I’d probably use tag lines with what you do for each site, combined with a very clear About page for each one that spells it out.

      If you have the bandwidth for it, an umbrella site that’s all about Shawn would be a good move, using that as your hub and then linking out to your other projects.

  21. Elwin Sterrenburg :

    Hi Sonia,

    Awesome post.

    Inspired me to finally get off my ass and get my marketing into place.
    You Copyblogger guys and girls rock!

  22. This serves as a reminder. I am pretty much occupied on things that should be done but have never taken account on cleaning some of the clatters that are emanating. Definitely, I would be dealing on the mess by this weekend.

  23. Hi Sonia,
    Thanks for a very interesting post. I have just published a paper back for my debut novel with Lulu.com as well as an e-book on amazon.com so I’m going to try a little thank you surprise to everybody that has bought one.
    As for my blog I’ll go back through it and make sure I’ve included a call to action on each post.
    Thanks again.

  24. Take away for me for this week is to spend more time in perfecting headlines for my blog posts. I feel I’m spending very little time in drafting headlines for my blog posts. And its post headline which decides whether our blog readers will be reading a particular post or not.

    Apart from this, I’m going to try incorporating more social media links in my blog.

    • Getting better headlines can immediately help with social sharing and traffic. Post with strong, effective headlines just get read more often.

  25. I am notoriously guilty of forgetting the call to action. That’s a great place for me to start. I’ve also been working on including a benefit in the headlines, but this definitely makes it more clear what it is I need to do.

  26. Louise Quo Vadis :

    Hey Sonia,

    That’s great info you have there. I am kind of a newbie, but I am always learning something new every day. Thanks very much for posting.

  27. Great Tips SOnya… Would love to follow you for a brilliant success.

  28. Thanks for the reminder about not forgetting about current customers. They already know, like and trust you so half the battle is already won with them.

  29. Great article Sonia, very in depth. I’m probably guilty on point 2 – trying to be too clever with my titles. A particular one I wrote about Matt Cutts eating my hamster springs to mind. The article was actually about how to get people’s attention and make your post stand out from the crowd… so why didn’t I just call it something like that. In fact, I’m going to change it. Today.

    And just in case you’re wondering… Matt Cutts didn’t eat my hamster. He’s fine.

  30. Hi Sonia,

    All great tips but #4 has been a significant one for me.

    People that come to your site might be interested in what you have to say but your ideas on the back burner for them. If they are on your subscriber list chances are your ideas will be something they need at some point later on. I’ve certainly found email to be one of the best ways to work this idea.

    Your homework ideas are great! Thanks.

    Blessings,
    Liz

  31. #5 You’re ignoring your existing customers–truly a common mistake that content marketers do. I’ve been guilty myself. We tend to pre-occupied in getting more and more new visitors to the site that we ignore the existing customer database we have. That moment I realized that I was giving too much attention to getting new customers, I created two different approches immediately. I started showing my existing customers how much I value their patronage and trust me, it really does pay off well.

  32. This is one of the best summaries I’ve seen. Especially cool in light of Seth Godin’s recent post. Off to work on my site…

  33. Nice article. After printing this article out, I’m going to go through my own website. Next, I’m going through all my clients’ websites. Thanks. Good article for a Monday.

  34. Khairul Azan :

    Thank Sonia, great article. I found the number helping me a lot.

  35. Spot on, most people think having a website is all they need then complain when they don’t get any business from it. Same when they put one ad in the paper and complain that advertising doesn’t work. Call it a spade – quick fixes are bogus, always have been. Every point you make reminds us that the basics of marketing have always been the same, we just keep forgetting them. Thanks for the timely tips.

  36. I love homework (said no-one ever), but I actually like the idea of getting homework from a blog.

    I’m going to sit my ass down now and start writing my autoresponder.

    Thanks for the push!

    • I have been at this for a while. Not making income, but I do love it. My biggest problem concerning internet marketing is information overload. I told myself 5 years ago to quit buying shinning stars and 5 years later I have another 10 gigs of stars.
      I love doing this. It is like a video game to me. I have scored all this -stuff- and none of it matters. I am trying to make money but I am not doing what I am supposed to do.

      I know that I should determine what I want to do online and that I should choose a niche and research the heck out of it, get content and upload to my site, then drive traffic and have an opt in and an auto-responder set up and have back end after I acquire leads from my front end, to soft sell and to educate prospects and to give them valuable free information and treat them like friends. And I could go on.

      So what I do is upload as many pretty sites as I can and then I tell myself, I will come back to them and populate them later. And then I get another shinny star and continue the maddening cycle without getting anything accomplished and with out making a dime in sales and ending up with no opt ins.

      But I love doing this. It is a video game. I just love it and get excited about it. But I would like to start making some profit from it. I am addicted. So that is the extent of my endeavors.

      Can you help? PLEASE?

      Thanks, Trevor White

      profit-play

      • 1. Make a plan.

        2. Stick to the plan.

        3. If the plan isn’t working, find out what’s going wrong.

        4. Find out why it’s going wrong and concentrate on fixing it. Get knowledge by reading useful content on sites like copyblogger, problogger or inbound.org.

        5. Try again and again, if it does not work. Always focus on that one thing that isn’t working.