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.
- They can buy something else you have to offer.
- They can refer their friends.
- 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.