Posted June 14, 2017.
If you've worked in a service business for any length of time you'll know the power that customer testimonials can have in shaping buyer decisions. Especially when the service is expensive, intangible and new to the buyer.
As eConsultancy showed recently, 61% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase decision and that results in an average sales uplift of 18% if you use reviews on your site.
And as I showed in my recent article on how to get star ratings to appear in the Google search results, having those reviews visible in the search listings can give you a significant boost in clicks to your site too.
So if that's the case, how come most of us don't use customer reviews and testimonials all that often on our sites?
The truth is that despite knowing how valuable reviews and testimonials can be, most of us don't have anywhere near as many really strong ones as we'd like.
In this article, I'm going to show you how to get more customer reviews and testimonials by following a few simple steps. So let's get going…
Click here to find out how to get more customer reviews and testimonials »
Posted July 23, 2016.
If you've read Email Persuasion you'll know that I recommend writing your emails in an informal style: as if you were chatting to a good business friend over coffee.
Every now and then I get asked “why?” Especially given that the dominant style of writing business emails is much more “professional” (ie stiff and formal).
My recommendation comes mostly from personal experience. I started getting better results (more interactions and more sales) the more I wrote informally. And partly because writing informally is a generally accepted best practice for sales letters.
But honestly, I wasn't quite sure that was enough. I wanted some real, solid evidence that writing informally worked.
Strangely enough, there seems to have been very little testing done on informal vs formal writing in the marketing world. It's just kind of accepted wisdom that informal works best.
But there has been quite a bit of testing done in other fields, notably in online learning.
In a meta analysis published in Teacher Magazine in 2015, Professors Paul Ginns, Herbert Marsh and Andrew Martin analysed multiple studies looking at the impact of formal vs informal communication on the effectiveness of online learning.
The studies they looked at covered four primary aspects of informal vs formal communication:
- The use of first/second person vs third person language – ie talking about I/we and you.
- Adding sentences which directly address the reader – for example “Let me tell you what happens when lightning forms…”.
- The use of polite requests rather than direct commands (e.g. “Why don't we save the factory now?” vs “Save the factory now”) – just like we would do if we were speaking to a friend face to face.
- Making the author's view and personality more visible.
Students who studied from more conversational instructions rated them as more friendly and less difficult. And when there was a more personal and conversational style in the writing, students remembered the material better and were able to transfer that knowledge to new problems.
In other words, when it comes to online learning: informal wins.
Why does an informal, conversational style work?
Click here to find out why…
Posted August 25, 2015.
Got this in my Linkedin Inbox yesterday. It's the first message from someone I connected with a couple of days ago and it's a perfect example of how NOT to build relationships.
First off, it begins with a lie. Or at least an inaccuracy. I didn't reach out to her, she reached out to me to connect.
So immediately I'm on my guard. Either this is a canned message or she's hitting up so many people she can't remember whether she reached out or I did. Or she's trying to fool me into misremembering and thinking I reached out.
Then there's a beautiful line. The sort that annoys the heck out of me.
Click here to read more »
Posted July 1, 2014.
A couple of years ago a load of emails dropped in my inbox proclaiming “Social Media Doesn't Work”.
It was one of those big product launches. You know the ones where a bunch of gurus cross-promote each other's products in turn to create the sense that everyone is talking about the product and that this is the one you must buy (until the next one comes along).
This one was being promoted with the line that “social media doesn't work” and a link to a video that would explain why.
So, of course, I clicked. Who could resist a controversial subject line and topic like that?
What was the great revelation about social media not working?
Click here to find out »
Posted February 8, 2014.
Google “free or low cost marketing” and you'll find a zillion websites, books and coaches offering to teach you how to market your business without spending much money.
And while some of the techniques they preach can certainly be useful, I've found that rushing down the “free or low cost” approach can be a huge mistake for most businesses.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating that you splurge a ton of cash on marketing just hoping it'll work for you. A lot of paid advertising is a huge waste of money for consultants and coaches. But “free or low cost” can be equally as damaging in a more insidious way. Here's why…
Click here to see why “free or low cost” can be a huge mistake >>
Posted January 11, 2014.
If you use blogging, article writing or email marketing as one of your main marketing strategies you'll know that one of the biggest roadblocks you face is being able to consistently produce interesting, valuable material that your audience is going to lap up.
Online you're competing against every other source of information your potential clients use. And that means that articles on “working smarter not harder” or revealing that you should be “working on the business, not in the business” aren't going to get you much attention (other than your audience thinking you're rather short of ideas).
Coming up with stunning new insights from nowhere in everything you write is a close to impossible task. But it is possible to feed the content beast by “borrowing” ideas (completely ethically). Here are some of the ways you can do it.
Click here for the three methods >>
Posted December 14, 2013.
Today's post is from Damien Seaman, a copywriter at Drayton Bird Associates.
In this article Damien attempts to play “peacemaker” between the two warring factions of direct marketing and content marketing. Good luck Damien!
There’s a war raging in the marketing world right now. If you’re not careful, you could lose money because of it.
Because this is a false war based on the shakiest of premises:
That you have to choose between direct marketing and content marketing – otherwise known as outbound and inbound marketing.
You could end up losing money because you’re likely to favour one of these approaches.
And it’s very easy to be suckered into the idea that if you choose one, you can’t also do the other.
But the two concepts are not mutually exclusive at all.
Click here to read how to get content and direct to work together
Posted September 25, 2013.
I'm sure you've heard analogies comparing winning clients with dating and relationships before.
Probably they've gone something along the lines of “short term, one night stand pickup stuff is bad, long term lovey dovey courtship and relationship building is good”. In fact I've probably said something similar myself.
It's only part of the story though.
The truth is that sometimes short term pickup style marketing is EXACTLY what you need, and long term courtship will kill you.
You see, there's a huge difference between what I sometimes call “one to many” businesses and “one to few”.
Click here to find out how to market successfully in these very different businesses
Posted September 2, 2013.
Today's blog post is by Caroline Talbott, leadership coach, author, and long time reader of this blog! Caroline's book Essential Career Transition Coaching Skills was recently published by Routledge.. Over to you Caroline…
We’ve all been told (not least by Ian!) – get yourself known, become a Visible Expert, an ‘Authority’. And we all know that writing a book is a fantastic way to do that – but where do you start?
Here’s the story of how I got mine into print – I hope it’s helpful to you in doing the same.
Myth number 1: Finding a publisher is difficult.
Not so in my case – it was about using my network, demonstrating my credibility, taking advice – and persistence.
My book came about when I saw a post in a professional coaching forum from a fellow member who is the Editor of a coaching book series – she was asking for ideas for new titles, I made some suggestions and one of them she liked. I took her advice about how to write the proposal and a sample chapter – she liked that too, and so did the publisher – eventually. It took a lot of waiting, chasing and a little bit of re-positioning. But getting the contract in my hand was a major moment!
So the best tip I can give you is: find someone, using your network, who has a need for what you want to write about (as with any product or service) rather than writing something and THEN trying to find a need…
Myth number 2: Writing a book is hard
I must say this is the part I loved! The following are my tips for how I got into the flow and made this enjoyable.
Content: If you choose a subject you are really an authority on you will know what you want to say – and you will move in circles with other experts who have different but equally valid takes on the subject. Tap into their ideas and feature them in the book – you’ll then have a range of interesting perspectives. And also a host of people with a network for promoting your book!
Find your voice: Don’t try and write in some fancy, artificial way that’s not you. Writing a blog is a great way to start and to practice with short pieces – and you get feedback.
Just put yourself out there: There’s also nothing quite like a blog to give you the courage to write down your stuff. I remember the trepidation when I pushed the button to publish my first blog post – and then the adrenalin rush when I saw it on the Internet. You know what you’re talking about so don’t spend hours agonising over “Will other people agree?”. As I’ve learnt from Ian, no one can please everyone and the people who are attracted to you are the ones who will want to read your book and work with you. Take the attitude ‘It’s my book and if I say that’s right – it’s right!’
Getting down to it: Set aside time every day to write (or everyday that it’s physically possible). Our minds are freshest and most creative in the morning so just get up, start writing. Great excuse to hang around in your dressing gown! Begin by writing as a stream of consciousness and then critique it afterwards.
Myth number 3: You’ll be asked to do endless rewrites
Not so. After I’d written each chapter I asked fellow coaches to peer review my work. I owed a lot of coffees/lunches etc afterwards but most said how much they enjoyed reading it. The upshot was that there was nothing I had to rewrite, just a few suggestions that were left up to me to use if I wanted to.
Myth number 4: Once it’s written your work is done
No, definitely not. The publishers employ a very helpful band of copy editors, proof checkers, co-ordinators etc etc who support you in getting the manuscript ready for printing. But you still need to do a lot of checking yourself to ensure that it’s exactly as YOU intended. I have to say most of this is still something of a mystery to me – and that’s one of the benefits of using a publisher – because if you self publish you have to do all this yourself. And it’s not easy when you have 60,000 words to contend with!
Does all this take a long time? Yes. I was given a year to write my book and then it took almost another year to get it on to the shelves. But it sure is worth it when you get your own printed book in your hand and see it on Amazon, and then read the 5 star reviews!
What would I do differently? I think the one thing I would change is that I would have put less content into this first book. I could then have got it out there faster – and would have more material for a sequel!
So what are you waiting for? The most difficult step is the first one so plan your strategy and get started – there’s no time like now. Why not you, why not now? If not now, then when?
With over 30 years experience in business, Caroline Talbott develops leaders and their organisations through executive coaching, leadership and Organisation Development and change consultancy, and. She is the author of ‘Essential Career Transition Coaching Skills’.
You can connect with Caroline at the Professionals in Leadership blog, on her website Caroline Talbott – catalyst for change or via twitter as @CaroCatalyst
Posted August 27, 2013.
There used to be a time when over the top marketing hype was restricted to get rich quick schemes and the like. But these days it seems to have infiltrated almost every sector.
In my own field there now seem to be daily offers and webinars that promise to teach you how to get floods of clients without selling, make millions in passive income just by knocking up an ebook or online training course, or to make six figures from group coaching just by holding a few webinars.
Of course, none of it works. Or more accurately, it doesn't work for 99% of people who try it. The truth behind these extravagant claims is usually that…
Click here to find out how to beat hypey marketers >>