Nokia Jumped into a Well – Are You Following?

Nokia Jumped into a Well

Nokia jumped into a well. But you can avoid the mistake. photo by Kashif Mardani

A couple of weeks ago Nokia announced they’ll cut 10 000 jobs.

Nokia used to be the market leader. It used to be the innovation leader. It used to be the quality leader.

Now their marketing strategy is a prime example of poor marketing and leadership.

Your company most likely won’t fire 10 000 employees. Or lose $1 billion annually.

But you can make the mistake that got Nokia into trouble. You’re even likely to make the same mistake, and think it’s the best decision for your company.

Here’s what they did wrong and what they should do now to rise again…

3 Copywriting Questions for Business Success

Louis Vuitton Handbag

Do you buy this Louis Vuitton handbag for its functionality (carry things around with you)? photo: Thomas Ogilvie

You don’t need to be a copywriter to run a business.

Actually, you only need to be a copywriter if you run a copywriting business.

But it can teach you three things you must know to run a successful business.

Copywriters can (and usually should) do the actual writing for you. But knowing these basics will give you a better understanding of your business and how to make it successful.

So, here are the core questions of effective copywriting.

And there’s a five-minute “exercise” at the end that puts all of this together and makes a real difference to your success, I promise :)

How to Seduce a Goldfish

People have the attention-span of a goldfish. And that affects your marketing.

People have the attention span of a goldfish. And that affects your marketing.

Have you ever knocked on the side of a fish tank and felt betrayed by the goldfishes that ignored you?

You push your face against the side, yell at them—loudly enough to wake up a fossil—or serve their favorite purple treats that smell like chicken poo, and they’re still more fascinated by the water around them than you.

Does your website or marketing efforts remind you of that fish tank? No matter what you do, no one notices.

It could be that people have the attention span of a goldfish.

Depending on the goldfish, it’s somewhere between three and 10 seconds.

That’s how long you have to turn apathy into solid interest or risk losing your visitors and prospects to other sites and businesses.

Understanding what makes people excited about your message is the key to effective writing and marketing.

101 Headline Formulas that Capture Attention and Get Your Message Read

101 Headline Formulas - The Ultimate Swipe File

“The Only Swipe File You’ll Ever Need”

The headline is the most important part of any text.

It will either keep people reading what you have to say, or send them away.

How many headlines do you read during a day? Twitter, Facebook, email, magazines, etc. Altogether 100? Maybe more?

And how many of those make you read more?

An average headline gets around 25% of people to read on. And even fewer read to the end. Even when reading and leaving are the only possibilities (landing pages, magazines, etc.).

What do you think happens to those percentages in Twitter where dozens of headlines fight for attention?

So, what can you do to beat the odds?

Review: Fascinate – Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation

Fascinate by Sally HogsheadFascinate by Sally HogsheadFascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation by Sally Hogshead

Rating: 5/5

Ever wondered how to capture people’s attention completely? Or why you sometimes lose track of time?

The answer to both is fascination.

What is it? Fascination is powerful attraction that captures your attention and focus.

Why should you care?

Fascination is the best tool you have to get your message heard.

If you want to be good at copywriting, you need to understand how to fascinate people.

If you want to write captivating headlines, you need to make them fascinating.

If you want to be fascinating in your personal life or at work, you need to understand the seven triggers.

But the one question remains: What is fascinating and how do you write/become more fascinating?

New Blog Theme – Coming Soon

If you’ve read Affect Selling for a while, you may have noticed I’ve posted a lot less frequently recently than usual. That’s because I’ve built a new theme for the blog from scratch (it’ll be published next week).

For many people that’s not a huge task. Unfortunately I’m not one of those people; I have no training in coding, I understand nothing about Javascript or complex PHP, and I’m clueless when it comes to databases.

And on top of the new blog theme, I’ve been building another site too. Affect Selling will become the blog part of the new site once it’s up and running.

Fortunately there’s quite a few things I’ve learned in the process, even if you exclude the coding part.

Branding with Images that Stick in Customers’ Memories

This guest post is written by Jenny Sampson.

There are a percentage of business-owners who seem to overlook the power of a great logo. We’ve all seen it, a sign on the road where a pyramid ripped off of clip-art is the best they manage when it comes to their company’s visual representation. With some of the best companies, however, symbols and pictures anchor themselves into our minds.

The US Dept of Labor tells us:

“Studies by educational researchers suggest that approximately 83% of human learning occurs visually, and the remaining 17% through the other senses – 11% through hearing, 3.5% through smell, 1% through taste, and 1.5% through touch.”

Further research has demonstrated that pictures are more easily remembered than words. Thus, a brand logo or icon is an important choice to make.  This leads us to a couple of questions: 1, How should you choose one? and 2, How do you avoid choosing a weak one?

7 Questions You Must Ask Before Marketing

There are countless aspects to think about when you start creating a marketing message. Here are seven that you must ask before doing anything else.

1. Who are you targeting?

“My customers/prospects” isn’t the answer. Not even close. But still that’s the most common answer.

You need to know which customers/prospects in particular you’re targeting with each marketing message. You can and you should segment people into buyer personas.

If you try to speak everyone, you speak to no one. Don’t try to please everyone with one message; no one’s interested in average or the mediocrity.

How to Approach Specific People in 3 Simple Steps

As a marketer/blogger you sometimes need to target specific customers, businesses, and medias. That person/business may or may not have been in any contact with you. And it’s very possible they’ve never even heard of you. So, how do you approach them?

There’s a simple three-step approach to this. And the same steps apply whether your prospect is a person, a company, or any other entity (even a blog).

Step 1 – Research

Before you make any contact with the person, do your homework. Google their name for a start, but don’t think that would be nearly enough. Your goal is to find a way to make yourself interesting to them. Ideally, you’ll get them to contact you.

Understand how you can be valuable for them. Answer the question, “Why would they contact me?” If you can’t answer that, think harder.

Step 2 – Groundwork

Once you’ve understood what would make you valuable for them, it’s time to let them see that reason. At this point they shouldn’t think that you’re trying to approach them. But they do need to notice the value you can provide.

Commenting on a blog is a good way to do this. Write a comment where you refer to the value you can provide. But don’t try to sell the idea. The point is just to get the idea out there.

If you have a blog you can write a post that’s interesting to the person you’re approaching. This works especially well if you have a blog since the trackback will take care of notifying the person (if they have a blog as well). A recent post that I wrote titled, “Danny Iny is a Liar – Just Like Me” did just that, though it wasn’t the reason for writing it.

Step 3 – Approach

Finally if they haven’t contacted you, you need to initiate contact. You should still only attempt to make them see how you can be valuable for them.

Find out how they prefer to be contacted. Start with something less personal like an email and move on sending them a Tweet and to calling them directly.

Once you’ve created a situation that benefits them, you can grow your relationship.

What do you think about this approach to approaching? Share your ideas in the comments.

Buyer Personas – 9 Steps to Profiling Buyer Personas

What are buyer personas?

Buyer personas are the individual and identifiable groups of people who buy your products. For example a stereo store has at least three important and very distinct buyer personas.

Stereo store example:

1. Those looking for a better stereo system. They’re usually men and they generally don’t mind the appearances of the stereo system. Instead they want the ability to listen to LP’s, radio, and CD’s, and just relax with music. They’re not satisfied with their current stereos, so they’ve decided to pay a little more than what they paid for the previous set. But they do have an understanding about the price range they’re looking into. They’re not the most  patient customers, but they probably don’t need the products immediately. They like the feeling they get when they buy a new gadget.

2. Hi-fi enthusiasts. A group of almost solely men, who will spend a lot of time pondering the purchase. They’ll test every possible product at their home. They’re interested in technical specifics. They enjoy the process of testing more than the purchase. They like to talk about their preferences and hear the sales people’s ideas, but they don’t believe anyone but themselves. Price is very important; the higher the better, they’ll often buy the most expensive option they can afford … and then some.

3. Women (apologies for the generalization, this is just one buyer persona) looking for something that will satisfy their men’s desire for new gizmos, and their own sense of esthetics. They’re very price concerned. Only technical specifics are less important than the actual sound quality.

These buyer personas aren’t extremely specific, but they give you the idea of what a buyer persona means. Different buyer personas are looking for different things, so you should treat them differently. And not only in the sales situation, but in your marketing too.

How to profile buyer personas

Firstly, all the people who visit your store or your website aren’t buyers. Base your assessment of your buyer personas on buying customers, not browsers, yourself, thieves, or friends visiting you. But what should a buyer persona define? And remember: you’re like to have more than one buyer persona for your business; specify as many as you can think of.

1. Gender. I realize this may feel awkward for some people, but you should know the gender of a specific buyer persona. But only if it’s possible. Some buyer personas are not gender specific.

2. Age. The age of a buyer persona is the simplest part of the profile. The age of a person tells you a lot abut them. How you view the world and what you prioritize, depend largely on your age.

3. Profession. In B-to-B business you know the profession of the buyer. But in B-to-C business this may not be so obvious. But if you can find a common profession or a status of a buyer, you can make your buyer persona profile much more accurate. It’s also very important to know how well they understand your product, are they professional users of laymen.

4. Financial situation. This is one of the most important aspects of the profile, so make sure you get it right. Don’t concentrate on your customers’ bank accounts, but make note how much they’re willing to pay. And how easily they make the decision to buy; it tells you how important your products are for them.

5. Purpose. Why do they buy your products? Some products have more applications (like fabrics) than others (nail clippers). The purpose of your product is the core of your marketing. If you don’t know what your customers use your product for, you can’t market or sell it effectively.

6. Education. How well-educated is the buyer persona? The educational background makes the profile deeper. It can help you figure out how they process information. Do they understand graphs, statistics, and study results, or are they more concerned with customer testimonials and simplified features.

7. Free time. How do they spend their time? Common hobbies, interests, TV shows, even eating habits can get you closer to them. You cannot know your buyer persona too well, so even these small details can prove to be valuable.

8. Buying decision. Which factors they take into account when they make the decision to buy? Price, features, ease of use, customer service, and resell value, can all play a part in the decision. If you don’t understand this part of your customers, your marketing can only work if you get lucky.

9. Shopping habits. What else do they buy? This is important when you start creating your business network. What else can you offer to them, and what else are they looking for.

What to do with a buyer persona?

When you have detailed buyer personas, you can, and you must, use them in your marketing. Here’s a few ways to use buyer personas in marketing.

1. Address specific people. When you know your buyer, you can talk to him/her directly. You don’t have to say, “you” when you can say, “25-year old man, living in the suburbs”.

2. Address specific problems. Talking about a specific problem is more engaging than a general problem. But it only works if you address a problem your buyers have, so you need to know your buyer personas first.

3. Address specific beliefs. You can create a feeling of being talked directly at with beliefs. For example, “This product is healthy.” is less engaging than, “Your children need more vitamins, that the school system doesn’t provide.”

4. Pinpoint accurate placement. Placement is a key to effective marketing. When you understand your buyer personas, you know where they are, and how to reach them at the right time.

5. Showcasing the right price range. If you market a product a buyer cannot afford, they won’t buy it. And they’ll be left with a belief that you’re over priced for them.

There’s one more thing…

Understanding your buyer personas isn’t enough to create effective marketing. First you need to understand your story. Then you need to understand your customers (more than just the buyer personas). And only by framing your story correctly, you can create an effective marketing message.

If you don’t know sure you understand all the steps, I’ve created a free guide to Premeditated Marketing, that describes in more detail these aspects. And a couple more aspects, equally essential for effective marketing.

I can also recommend David Meerman Scott’s book “The New Rules of Marketing & PR” if you’re interested.

I’d like to hear what your buyer personas include. Do you think of something that wasn’t discussed here? Share your ideas in the comments below.