Gaining your customer’s trust is your first goal in marketing. Unfortunately, there is a tendency on the part of some marketers to annoy, rather than inform their audiences. This is a shame because when you lose credibility, you lose sales.
I love commercials for healthcare products. I watch them on TV and read them online. I don’t even turn the sound down or go to the refrigerator to avoid them. In fact, if you are looking for a prospect to buy your health-related product, that would be me.
I don’t read all the email ads I get. I get about 250 emails a day. But, I do open the ones that have interesting headlines just to see how they are put together.
There are good ads that describe the product and its benefits. Then, there are the other kinds. Here are a few samples of what I mean.
Peat, Peat and Repeat
There is nothing wrong with reemphasizing a point. In fact, reemphasizing a point can be a good thing. Your prospect may have missed something the first 10 times they heard it, and it can be helpful to say it a few more times just in case the consumer happens to be an idiot.
Recently, I forced myself to listen to a 45-minute advertisement that illustrated my point. I kept myself awake during the whole presentation. Sometimes, coffee is a writer’s best friend. Sometimes, there isn’t enough caffeine in the world to keep the old mind from wandering.
The headline was great. It announced that there were “Patriot Checks” Available to 244 Million Americans”. Since the United States boasts about 330 million citizens, I thought that there was a good chance that I would qualify for the wind fall. I can wave the flag, and sometimes I can even hit the high note in the” Star Spangled Banner”.
I received some fascinating information while I listened to the pitch. I found out that 2.6 trillion dollars were stranded in accounts in Ireland just waiting for American patriots to ask for it. All we had to do is follow simple instructions and put our names on a “patriot’s list”, and our fortunes would be made.
I found out that Donald Trump is Santa Claus’s first cousin, and that because of his great generosity and foresight, I could get up to 24 “patriot checks” per year, no matter whether I voted for him or not. It didn’t matter how old I am, whether I am unemployed, or whether my father was a space alien if I knew how to recite the “Pledge of Allegiance” while standing on my head.
If I didn’t agree with Donald Trump’s “America First” policies, then I needed to back out of the ad right away. I didn’t have any right to the money if I wasn’t a patriot in my heart and soul. I don’t know how they could tell if I was being truthful, and I’m not real sure I want to find out.
Their main message had to be true. The New York Times and Bloomberg, and several other well-known media outlets agreed that 2.6 trillion dollars is a lot of money. I always figured it was more than I could dig out of my couch cushions. Since CNN and MSNBC both agreed with the New York Times, I started dreaming about all the fun I could have at Walmart just for being a loyal American.
Finally, and I mean after the things mentioned above were mentioned and mentioned at least a zillion times, the announcer promised that he would tell me how to get a bunch of money with no effort. I was all ears (and nerves because of the coffee thing), but first, it was important for me to know … well, the same stuff he had already told me.
At length, I was informed that our government wasn’t paying for this enormous stash. It was from people in the private sector who were richer than they were smart. These brilliant souls had managed to leave 2.6 trillion dollars in Ireland and didn’t know any way to get it out without the help of loyal American citizens.
The announcer then reminded me that I had a right to a cut of the pie if, and only if, I was a patriot. Finally, he got down to business.
He described several eBooks, including his “Cash for Patriots” report, which was mine free. Then he announced that all I would have to do to collect the money I had a right to is subscribe to his monthly newsletter for $99.00 per year. Then he told me that the more I invested the more money I would get for being on the patriot’s list. This brings me to my next complaint.
Mommy, What Does Free Mean?
SEE: Where’s the Gift
When I was growing up, I learned that nothing, including lunch, is free. This made sense to me because, as Mark Twain so eloquently put it, the world doesn’t owe me anything. After all, it was here first.
Along came the Internet, and the word free assumed new dimensions. It no longer meant that you didn’t have to pay to get something. In fact, in many cases, you have to pay plenty to get something that is being offered for free. Here is a fine example of what I mean.
One of my greatest interests is in nutrition, whether it be obtained through healthy food or well-crafted supplements. Because of this, I subscribe to many emails from doctors and supplement companies.
This email promised a “free” eBook chuck full of natural treatments, so I investigated.
In fairness, I will say that the promo is full of good information. It thoroughly explained what could go wrong with your body, and what information the “free” book would provide to cure the problem. However, the only way to get the “free” book was to pay for a subscription to the doctor’s monthly newsletter.
The newsletter is excellent. I subscribe to it myself. The idea of getting cutting edge natural health information appeals to me because it is what I write about, and I like to keep up with the latest health news.
The ad was well drafted, but the “free” book costs money. You must subscribe to the doctor’s newsletter at the admittedly reasonable cost of $39.00 per year to get it.
The sales pitch would have been more convincing, not to mention trustworthy if the doctor had started with the fact that he was selling his newsletter. He could have highlighted information that appeared in previous issues. He has written articles that would bear bragging about. I’ve read plenty of his work, and it is very informative.
However, getting bonuses for subscribing to his newsletter would have made him look incredibly generous. They would have seemed more like a delightful surprise rather than a dirty sales trick.
It is a simple truth that a “free” gift should not require the customer’s credit card number. However, a reasonably priced and informative newsletter, that includes valuable bonuses is welcome in my inbox at any time.
Don’t Call, Just Buy
I recently purchased a natural health product that sounded promising. It is this man’s theory that most chronic diseases can be cured with oxygen. Unfortunately, my screen reader could not read the PDF’s that I had bought. I tried to contact the vendor in the hope that he could suggest an alternative path to the information.
I wrote to him and was informed by the auto-response that he didn’t answer emails unless he thought they were important. He referred me to an email address for his support staff. I clicked, filled out the form and found myself confronted with a “captcha”, which I also could not read.
I couldn’t find a phone number on the site, and there was no other way to let the vendor know what my problems were accessing the materials.
You may be tempted to categorize my ordeal as a personal one. I would have to agree. Most net users are not totally blind and may have had no problem submitting their questions. However, something the vendor should consider is that a product directed at health problems might be interesting to older people. Young people with good vision aren’t the ones who would be as likely to worry about cures for Cancer and diabetes.
More and more Baby Boomers are searching for health solutions. Many of them are suffering from vision problems. When their need for information requires them to jump through inaccessible hoops, they have to go elsewhere for help. Not all visually impaired people have sighted assistance readily available.
A simple solution would be to give visitors a choice between the visual captcha and an audio version. They are still a nuisance, but at least we who are limited in the vision department wouldn’t be excluded from the information. Our money spends the same as anyone else’s, and I submit that a lot of it is “being left on the table” simply because vendors deny us an opportunity to spend it with them.
Another cheap solution would be the old-fashioned customer service telephone number. Even sites that have a customer service number often hide it deep in their content. If it was me, I’d put the darned thing on every page. In fact, I did.
Sharing my contact information in an obvious way gives me a chance to convince potential customers that my organization is responsive, lovable, and a great place to do business. It is, by the way.
There are companies who do provide contact numbers that are only available to premium customers. I would just point out that the best way to convince us bottom feeders to become premium elites is to talk to us, treat us with courtesy and respect, and tell us personally what the advantages are to the premium program. Google, are you listening?
I Can Hear You, and So Can the Neighbors
I watch videos if the subject interests me. However, being blasted with loud music and a screaming announcer when I innocently click a link is not, in my opinion, good marketing.
I hate waiting forever to find out the catch. I talked a bit about this annoyance in the first section of this article. However, the constant repetition present in many sales videos is only one of the problems with them.
Most of us have jobs, families and other activities that make listening to a 45-minute presentation impossibly time-consuming. If it’s inconvenient, most people just won’t do it.
These presentations usually start out suggesting that the product they are selling can solve a big problem for the consumer. This is a good start, but too often it degenerates from there.
Suddenly, you find yourself embroiled in a lot of irrelevant talk. You start wondering if the announcer will ever get to the point. The second or third time that you think you are finally going to hear what you came for, and the announcer promises to tell you in a minute, but first… it is too easy to lose interest.
This is especially true if your kids start fighting, it is time to start making dinner, the phone rings, or someone comes to the door. There are just too many things that can distract even someone who is interested.
Some people enjoy videos, and there is no harm in providing a link that leads to one. However, busy people have so many claims on their time that you are more likely to keep their interest long enough to make a sale if you provide information about your product, and, how to buy it, quickly and efficiently.
Testimonials can be interesting and reassuring if they give good information about the product and the customer’s experience with it. However, more than a couple are just annoying. Again, if the customer wants to know more about how people have reacted to the product, a link to additional testimonials can easily be provided. Having an announcer read such items is just another barrier to the information prospects want.
You can skip through print that doesn’t interest you. Sometimes, you can get the printed version and shut the announcer up by clicking a “Stay” button. I’m proposing that the print version be first and that the video be an option for those who prefer it.
With a video, it is too tempting to give up and back out. Since there are no “rewind” or “Fast forward” features, you can’t go back to a video without starting over.
A well-drafted long-form ad has the advantage that it is easy to find your place if you are interrupted. If you have read through ¾ of a presentation, you will be happy if you can pick up right where you left off. Both should be available, so the customer can choose his preference.
The best way to gain and keep a customer is to provide a good product at a reasonable price. Of course, the customer needs to know what is being offered, and how it will benefit him. He also needs to know what makes your product better than others that claim to do the same thing.
He may want more assurance and additional information. In fact, once you have his interest, he may want to consume all the information you can give him. However, before you propose marriage, you should at least start by offering him a cup of coffee first. If he enjoys that, you’ll have a better chance of getting him to stay for dinner.
Okay, I’m Sold!
Jesus Mysteries Revealed
This last example does everything good sales promotion should do. The headline is gripping. Never before discovered information about Jesus is bound to grab most people’s attention.
Even non-Christians would like to know Jesus’ place in their own beliefs. If archeology or history is your thing, discovering the first known reference to his existence would be exciting. In short, there is a little something for everybody.
The best part is that the word “free” isn’t mentioned once. The ad states clearly that the customer will be charged $1.00 for the Jesus issue as well as 3 months of the magazine.
The ad tells the customer what to expect. It doesn’t promise anything that you have to jump through a million hoops to get.
This promotion is straightforward, interesting and best of all honest. It is living proof that you can tell customers what you are offering, and explain the benefits they’ll enjoy if they accept, without misleading them in any way.
No one answering that ad would feel tricked into a sales pitch. In fact, it was so great, I’m going to bring this paper to an end, so I can buy the magazine. Besides, I need another cup of coffee.
The best approach to marketing is to be honest about your product. If you have something good to offer, you don’t need to trick people into buying it.
What your prospect wants to know is that you understand her problem and can give her a solution. She needs to feel that your copy is speaking to her directly.
People respond to informative, clearly written copy. If you treat your customers with courtesy and respect by answering their questions and concerns, they will know they can trust you. If they know you’re telling them the truth, they won’t have any reason to resist your call to action.
Call me so we can talk about your copywriting needs. I look forward to hearing from you.
Lucille P. Uttermohlen
P.O. Box 278
Monticello, IN 47960