What's Missing From Your Marketing?
By: Charlie Cook


Holly called from Anchorage, Alaska looking for ideas on ways to increase advertising s.ales. She provides live traffic reports from her plane to six radio stations and wanted help selling the 15-second advertising spots she reads during the traffic reports.

John called from Boston, Massachusetts for ideas on how to market his new product. He wants companies like Black and Decker to license, produce and market a unique hydraulic hand tool he and his partners have patented.

These two clients are as different as night and day in terms of the products and services they offer, but both have the same objective and are stuck on the same problem. They're having difficulty getting prospects' attention and both want more qualified prospects to contact them.

Are you getting your prospects' attention?

Do you want more prospects to contact you?

I review a lot of marketing copy, ads, web sites, and s.ales letters for people who want to attract more clients and most of them have the same problem. They're missing at least one of the three core elements essential to attracting prospects and helping them become customers and clients. Whether you are marketing yourself as a real estate broker, accountant, business coach or you sell advertising in Anchorage, Alaska, your marketing should be structured around these three elements:

1. Problem

This is what your prospects are thinking about and what prompts them to open the yellow pages, use Google to search the web or call you. They're asking themselves questions like:

How can I get more clients? Where can I get an iPod? How can I keep more of what I make? How can I keep my figure? How can I avoid losing everything if my house burns down? How can I avoid wasting money? How can I eliminate back pain? How can I eliminate stress?

When you know what your prospects want, you have the key to getting their attention. Lead with a quick sentence or question about your prospects' primary concerns; what it is that they want to Get, Keep, Avoid or Eliminate.

2. Solutions

Once prospects have learned that you understand their concerns, they want to know if you can help them Get, Keep, Avoid or Eliminate what they want. Tell them about the solution you provide to their problem and the benefits it provides. Using their list of concerns and wants, explain how your product or service can help them.

Credentials and technical features may matter to some, but it's the results your product or service provides that will convince a prospect to buy. Write a list of five to ten results your product or service provides and use these in your marketing copy.

3. Call to Action

Is this the point in the process when you tell your prospects to buy? Yes, you do want to give prospects the option to make an immediate purchase, but in most cases, they won't. Remember that 80% of people scan and research their options for weeks, if not months, before making a purchase.

Prompt your prospects to buy but make sure to also give them a reason to contact you so you can build a relationship with them. Tell them which actions to take and why.

Where should you use this marketing sequence?

Everywhere you market. If you contract with Holly for one of her 15-second radio spots, lead with a problem, then describe the solution and the results and tell people how to contact you. You'd use the same formula if you were writing copy for a postcard mailing piece or the pages of your web site. That's right; each and every page of your marketing can benefit from using these three core elements.

For example, most web sites have an "About" page or a "Products" page. In most cases, these are comprehensive, descriptive and boring. Before you write or rewrite them, stop and think about your objectives. What do you want your prospects to think and do when they read or hear each of your marketing pieces, including your web pages?

You want to get peoples' attention, to position yourself as someone who provides solutions to their problems, and you want them to contact you.

Include these three essential elements (Problem, Solution, and Call to Action) in all of your marketing and your conversations, and you'll increase response rates and generate more new business whether you're designing industrial tools or circling Anchorage to provide traffic reports from your plane.

2005 © In Mind Communications, LLC. All rights reserved.

- The author, Charlie Cook, helps service professionals and small business owners attract more clients and be more successful. Sign up for the FrŽe Marketing Plan eBook, '7 Steps to get more clients and grow your business' at http://www.marketingforsuccess.com