Thursday, September 27, 2007

Don't Play Hide & Seek with Your Customers

While surfing the web this week, I visited several author/speaker websites and noticed an alarming problem. Whenever these individuals offered a free PDF resource to download from their website - the PDF documents were devoid of any contact information! That's right...nothing, nada, no website address, no phone number, no nuthin'. That's a big mistake.

Whenever you offer any kind of resource from your website, ALWAYS INCLUDE YOUR FULL CONTACT INFORMATION. And, if my shouting all-cap font isn't enough to convince you, then here's three reasons why:

1. Leaving off your contact information makes you look like a forgetful amateur. All the pros cover their marketing bases, which means they make sure anyone can always find them. You should, too.

2. If someone downloads a resource from your website to read later, but you didn't list your contact info - then they may forget where they got the information from - which means you just lost a potential sale.

3. Most important: Many people may download resources from your website to give to a friend (this is called "Word-of-Mouth" - the holy grail of marketing). But, if you don't include your contact information, then the new person can't find you - which means you just lost another potential sale.

Contact information, people! Put it on everything, and don't be stingy...include your website address, phone number (preferably a toll-free number), email address, and mailing address (or P.O. Box). Don't play hide-and-seek with your customers. People can't buy your stuff if they can't find you.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Danger of Clichés

"Sought-after speaker"; "Award-winning author";
"Master Story-teller"; "Changing the World"

Nothing kills your marketing materials faster than using a bunch of cliches. Yet, most speakers and authors litter their promotional items with these types of nebulus phrases. Why? Because it's easier to use cliches to fill up space, rather than spend serious time thinking about your audience and their specific needs.

Clichés sound bad because they're statements with a lack of motivation attached to them...that's why they come across as vague or trite. Sometimes, we write vague marketing text because we don’t really believe in our own message. So, if we avoid offering tangible benefits or a guarantee, then we think it lets us off the hook. All it really does, however, is diminish our credibility.

Avoid cliches by answering these questions on behalf of your audience: "What is the benefit for them?" or "What specific life change do I want to make happen for them?" Employ marketing text that gives your audience the motivation to listen to your speeches and read your books.

Cliches = bad; Specific benefits = good!!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Are You a Selfish Speaker (or Writer)?

When was the last time you reviewed your bio, back book cover, or description of your keynote speeches? What did it say? If you’re like the average Christian speaker or writer, your marketing text may be working against you.

After reviewing the websites for over 100 Christian communicators, I’ve noticed a strange pattern. Most marketing text focuses on self-praise of the speaker or a self-centered look into the writer’s life. Granted, many of these people are just copying what they see others do. However, if you make this same mistake, you could turn off website visitors, influential leaders, and potential customers.

Here’s the point: Your audience doesn’t care about how great you are. They care about what great things you can do for them. If someone visits your website and never grasps the results you can provide, they might never visit again (or spread crucial word-of-mouth).

Telling people that you’re a certified speaker or an award-winning author can lend to your credibility. However, accolades by themselves are empty descriptions that make your audience say, “So what? Who cares?” Worse, filling your bio with words, such as “authentic, hilarious, and sought-after” is so cliché that it makes you look like an amateur.

All human beings are self-centered, but Christians should be more “others-focused” than secular communicators. If we’re indwelt by Jesus Christ (the most selfless individual ever), then our marketing should make it apparent that we think about our neighbor’s needs.

How do you transform your marketing from selfish to selfless? Explain up-front how your message benefits other people. Why? If someone pays money to buy your book or hear you speak, then you’re obligated to give something beneficial in return. The benefit could be new wisdom, new motivation, an emotional release, or specific answers to a problem.

Yet, most speakers come across as if the audience should feel privileged to sit in their midst. Don’t make this marketing blunder. Instead, describe the tangible benefits you offer people, and build that information into your bio, website, and media brochure.

To determine the benefits you offer people, consider why you started writing or speaking in the first place. Then, ask yourself these questions:

1. Has God truly given me something unique to say? What is it?
2. Have I experienced the benefit of my own message? Would a skeptic believe me?
3. Who stands to gain the most from what I have to say? Why?
4. If someone applies the message of my book, how will their life be different?
5. What result do I want people to experience after they hear me speak?

Don’t be a selfish Christian speaker or writer. Make yourself sought-after and award-winning by marketing yourself as someone who meets the needs of your audience.