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The Secrets to Successful Marketing

How’s that for an attention-getting headline?! I promise, though: it’s not click-bait. I really do think you’ll find my thoughts below to be incredibly valuable to making your marketing more successful. It’s even simple and straightforward advice. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it easy …

Marketing Is About Them, Not You

You may think that the secret to successful marketing is making it clear how great you are and how incredible whatever you’re offering is.

Nobody cares.

What they care about of course, is what’s in it for them. As I am fond of saying,

Your prospects don’t care about you.

Your prospects don’t even care about what you do. Your prospects care about what you can do for them.

If you ignore this basic truth, your audience will ignore your marketing unless your marketing focuses on sexy models, cute puppies, or gurgling babies. Or, maybe, chocolate …

To be successful, your marketing must make it clear how your product or service benefits your prospect.

Marketing Must Relate to You

That said, your marketing can’t just be about your target audience’s concerns. It has to relate back to what you do. You must demonstrate your value, experience, and expertise.

Of course, saying you’re great and having someone believe it are two different things. There are a lot of different ways to go about this — showing rather than telling, for example — but most critical is making sure that you’re not the star of your marketing story.

In movie terms, you’re the trusty sidekick whose behind-the-scenes brilliance makes it possible for the heroine to save the day.

To be successful, your marketing must demonstrate the value you provide.

Marketing Must Encourage Action

Presenting benefits and demonstrating value is all well and good, but your marketing must also move prospects along on their buying journey. Whether your marketing is digital or traditional, it must include calls to action.

These include things like simple clicks through to the next piece of content you’d like a prospect to include, downloadable PDFs and email signups, appointment scheduling forms, and “call now” buttons.

To be successful, your marketing must move website visitors to become prospects, prospects, to become leads, and leads to become customers.

Whose Language Are You Speaking?

Finally, it’s critical that you speak your prospect’s language.

Have you ever walked into a hardware store holding some broken item and found yourself saying to the helpful person behind the counter, “My whozits is on the fritz and I think it’s because this little thingamabob here hanging off the doohickie is broken?”

A really helpful employee is going to help you fix your problem, maybe even without teaching you that your lower glide assembly needs a new flange to keep the pinion in place. She will recognize whether that knowledge is important to you or not.

You need to do the same with your prospects. Some will want to understand everything they can about your solutions. Others will just want to know that they’ve found the solution that will most efficiently and effectively solve their problem.

To be successful, your marketing must be written in the language your prospects prefer.

I don’t think anything above qualifies as rocket science. It’s all pretty simple, even if it’s not necessarily easy to implement. Either way, it is most definitely worth the effort if you seek strong results from your marketing efforts.

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Andrew Schulkind

Since 1996, Andrew Schulkind has asked clients one simple question: what does digital marketing success look like, and how can marketing progress be measured? A veteran content marketer, web developer, and digital strategist, Andrew founded Andigo New Media to help firms find a more strategic and productive mix of tools that genuinely support online brand goals over time. With a passion for true collaboration and meaningful consensus, his work touches social media, search-engine optimization, and email marketing, among other components. He views is primary goal as encouraging engagement. Getting an audience involved in your story requires solid information architecture, a great user experience, and compelling content. A dash of common sense doesn’t hurt, either. Andrew has presented at Social Media Week NY and WordCampNYC, among other events, on content marketing and web-development topics. His technology writing appears on the Andigo blog, in a monthly column on Biznology.com, and for print and online publications like The New York Enterprise Report, Social Media Today, and GSG Worldwide’s publications LinkedIn & Business, Facebook & Business, and Tweeting & Business. Andrew graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from Bucknell University. He engages in a range of community volunteer work and is an avid fly fisherman and cyclist. He also loves collecting meaningless trivia. (Did you know the Lone Ranger made his mask from the cloth of his brother's vest after his brother was killed by "the bad guys?")

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