The REAL Reason People Aren't Buying (You'll Be Surprised) By Judy Murdoch
Last week someone in a business discussion forum posted this question:
"Help! No One is Responding to My Offer"
The person posting, let's call her Susan, went on to say that she loves her work and gets great results for her clients. She's excited about a new service she's promoting, yet no one was responding to her emailed offer.
Now Susan is no slouch when it comes to marketing. She sold classified advertising for a big city newspaper, she's been to lots of marketing and sales classes, and has a stack of marketing-related books on her desk.
The emailed offers she's sending reflect her best efforts. And yet, something isn't working.
When this happens Susan's self-confidence as a business owner falters. She wonders if she's somehow missing some essential talent needed to run a successful business.
I know I've felt this way when my promotions are unsuccessful. Perhaps you can relate?
So What the Heck is Going On!?
There are any number of reasons offers fall flat. One reason that gets overlooked by most marketing experts (including me until recently) is this:
We fail to acknowledge our customer's need to belong.
(Note: I want to acknowledge my teacher and mentor, Mark Silver, of Heart of Business, on whose work this article is based.)
The Need to Belong is a Powerful Human Motivator
Thousands of years ago, human survival depended on membership to a tribe. In a tribe, our ancestors had a better chance of getting food, shelter, and protection. To be cast out of a tribe was more often than not a death sentence.
Today belonging to a tribe is no longer about physical survival -- at least not in an obvious way. Yet it remains a powerful influence on what we do; on what YOUR CUSTOMERS do.
In fact, your customer's need to belong is so important that it actually trumps their need for your solution and their ability to pay.
How the Need to Belong Affects Whether Your Customer Buys
When your customer sees or hears your marketing message -- whether it's on the home page of your website, an email you sent, or a post card you mailed, his or her decision to take the next step is proceeded by three "micro-decisions."
In order to take the next step (for example, click the "Buy" button) your customer must answer yes to all three questions in this order:
1. "Can I fully be myself and feel fully accepted if I work with this company?" (Do I Belong?)
2. "How much do I want really this?"
3. "Can I afford it?"
Your customer must answer "yes" to all three questions in order of importance to act on your call to action. If at any point they answer "no" you've lost them:
They'll go on to another website
They'll delete your email
They'll throw out your post card.
This is why addressing the need to belong is so important.
It also may seem a little mysterious to you as a business owner. Perhaps you're thinking, "all this makes sense to me but how exactly do I help my customers feel like they belong on the home page of my website?"
How to Create a Sense of Belong in Your Marketing
No, you don't need to start your marketing message off with "Hey I love you. Here comes a great big hug just for you!" Even Barney the dinosaur doesn't say that at the very beginning of the show.
Plus you'd probably creep people out a little.
Here are four ways to reassure prospects "yes, you're at the right place to get the help you need," so that they can take the next step.
1. Begin your marketing message with who you help and the problem you help them with.
For example, "technical consultants who are tired of struggling to get their next contract."
2. Expand on the problem by addressing issues such as:
--how the problem shows up in regular everyday life
--emotions they may be feeling
--solutions they've already tried that didn't work
Why those solutions often don't work
If it feels tricky for you to address emotions in writing, try addressing these points as you would if you were in a conversation with a trusted colleague.
When I began writing the way I speak, I found it became a lot easier to write about customer problems in a way that was natural and empathetic but still within the boundaries of the business relationship.
If you're still feeling stuck, re-read the first few paragraphs of this article to get a sense of how I introduced the problem and expanded on it.
3. Introduce your solution only after you've addressed your customer's experience with the problem.
Once you've covered the problem and your customer's experience with it (in steps 1 and 2) you've told your customer in effect:
"I understand your problem and know how awful it feels to struggle with this problem. You're not alone."
You can demonstrate your expertise and talk about your solution. Again, in this article, I first talked about the problem in detail. I then transitioned to "here's what can cause this problem" and "here are steps you can take to take care of this problem."
4. Once you've discussed the problem, the customer's experience of the problem, and your solution, add your call to action.
At this point folks fitting your ideal customer profile will be feeling seen, heard, and accepted enough to be ready to learn more about how you can help and what it will take in terms of time, money, etc.
This is where you can add a call of action like, "Click here for more details and to register for my xyz program."
There's an old adage that "People don't care about what you know until they know you care." In this case, it is so true.
Your marketing needs to first address your customer's to belong before you say a word about value-added and cost. Otherwise, your customer will move on to another vendor who makes them feel better understood.
About The Author: Judy Murdoch helps small business owners create low-cost, effective marketing campaigns using word-of-mouth referrals, guerrilla marketing activities, and selected strategic alliances. To download a free copy of the workbook, "Where Does it Hurt? Marketing Solutions to the problems that Drive Your Customers Crazy!" go to www.judymurdoch.com/workbook.htm You can contact Judy at 303-475-2015 or firstname.lastname@example.org