Marketing should run like a car’s engine. Give it the right fuel and you'll enjoy steady acceleration when you step on the gas, but let the tank run dry or put in diesel when your engine runs on gas and it will sputter and stall. If you’re marketing isn’t helping you attract a steady stream of new clients and accelerate the growth of your business, chances are you aren’t using the right fuel to market your business.
The first step in any successful marketing effort is to get the attention of your prospects. If they don’t know you or your products and services exist, you won’t be able to grow your business. All too often service professionals and small business owners think that touting their expertise and the benefits of their services will get them the attention they want. Unless you are a well published author or sought after expert, this marketing strategy rarely works.
Problems Precede Solutions Prospects’ primary interests are solving problems and meeting their needs. If you can show prospects you clearly understand their concerns and know the problems they are experiencing you'll get their attention and have the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and the solutions you provide.
When you take your car to a mechanic you don’t want to them to replace parts until they’ve diagnosed the problem. A good mechanic will start by asking you to describe the symptoms, then they may hook your car up to the computerized diagnostic machine to further understand the problem before they order that expensive part.
Similarly if you want to sell your products and services to a prospect they must first have a problem that needs to be solved or a need to be filled. Despite an understanding of this fundamental sequence, most firms’ marketing efforts start with a focus on their services, products and credentials.
Client Problems Fuel the Marketing Engine Without prospects problems and needs your firm wouldn’t exist. And without the services and products you provide, you wouldn’t have a revenue stream. You need both prospects’ problems and service solutions to keep your marketing engine running smoothly. Problems are the fuel that provide the power and your solutions are like the cylinders of an engine that do the heavy lifting.
Fueling your marketing engine requires a constant focus on client problems and needs. The more accurate your identification of client’s pressing concerns and interests, the more power you'll get out of your marketing engine.
The first step to strengthening your marketing efforts is to clarify your prospects client’s common concerns. Do you know:
- What the concerns of your target market are?
- What problems they have that you can solve?
- Which problems they want to solve?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, don’t panic. Instead, list the questions you could ask your prospects to get the answers. Chances are you already know your prospects’ concerns and the problems they want solved but aren’t using it to fuel your marketing.
Power Up Your Marketing Materials Take a look at your marketing materials and or marketing meetings. Do you start with clients’ problems and concerns or do you start with a description of your services and products and benefits?
Prospects want to see themselves and their concerns clearly identified in order to feel confident that you understand their needs. If you lead with this in your marketing materials you'll get their attention.
Which of the following describe and focus on prospects’ problems and which focus on benefits and solutions?
- Your one liner describing what you do (Tagline, audio logo, meme, business card or elevator speech)
- Your positioning page (first page of your web site and /or brochure)
- Your ads
- Your exploratory conversations with prospects
- Any articles or press releases you write
If you are trying to fuel your marketing with the solutions you provide, chances are your marketing will sputter along and you won’t attract all the clients you want. Make the switch to using client problems to power your marketing engine and you'll be amazed at how quickly your marketing helps your business accelerate.
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The author, Marketing Coach, Charlie Cook, helps independent professionals and small business owners who are struggling to attract more clients. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.charliecook.net to get a copy of the free marketing guide, '7 Steps to Get More Clients and Grow Your Business'.