This summer I’ve had a few calls from people who have felt they’ve been scammed by “quick and easy” Internet marketing companies and their lofty promises.
Instead of taking these cases and then trying to retrieve any investments, I’d rather see these people invest money in something that works, rather than spending their money to recoup other previously-wasted money.
What follows is the entire, straightforward approach to marketing from my new book.
Toward that end, I have been referring these calls to a section in my most recent book, Seeing Life Through Private Eyes.
(Don’t worry: I’m not going to make you buy the book to get the information I’m referring to. This post actually provides the same information.)
Each chapter in my book ends with an addendum specifically written to the relative content of that chapter. Having worked with Brian Chernicky (the owner of a company called Imagine Dynamic) on the MartinPI.com web site since 2006, I asked him to give his thoughts and guidance on how to market a business in today’s complicated and hyper connected world of the Internet.
What follows is the entire, straightforward approach to marketing from Chapter 1, “Life Of A PI,” – plus a few updates and improvements Chernicky made for this post.
Trust me, it works.
If you’re in business, you already have a website for your business. I’m going to tell you how to make more money from your website, using the same approach my media firm has used on MartinPI.com over the years.
Marketing is largely the art of putting the services or products in front of the people actively looking to buy them. If you’re skeptical about marketing people, know that I am too. Some marketing people tend to be obsessed with pretty graphs and nebulous stats like the number of likes a post gets on Facebook.
I prefer a marketing approach that actually produces income.
I prefer an approach that concentrates on doing the things that actually produces income for my clients.
So far, this philosophy has worked out pretty well for everyone: When the work my media company does doubles a client’s income in the first year, my clients tend to pay the marketing bill before they pay the electric bill.
My approach and results even won over a very hard-nosed businessman who has seen and heard every pitch in the world and tends to be quite skeptical: Tom Martin, of Martin Investigative Services. Here are some highlights of what I have shared with Tom over the years – and I think this is advice that works for most people.
First and foremost, I think it’s important to realize that your website is the single most important thing you can do with your marketing dollar. If you think about it, all marketing efforts (business cards, advertisements, email signatures, etc.) point to your website. More importantly, from the standpoint of your potential customer, your website simply IS your business.
Given the importance of your website, you might thinking I’d say something like you need to make your website look professional. Or maybe, you have to make it show up in search engines. These things are absolutely important, and my firm spends a lot of time on these things for each and every client website. However, these things are not enough.
You might have the best-looking site in the world with tons of people looking at it every day. Still, your site won’t actually produce inquiries or income unless you sell the potential customer on your goods and services, and ask for their business. Accordingly, there are two astoundingly simple things you can do if you really want your website to make you more money.
Let’s talk about both of these things.
The potential customer doesn’t care about you or how great you think your company is… they care about what you can do for them.
Have you ever been at a party, stuck in a conversation with someone who talked about himself the whole time?
This guy didn’t listen to you.
In fact, he didn’t let you talk at all.
All of his sentences began with I or My.
Guess what? This is how 99% of business websites in the world read: They are boring and self-centered.
In your daily web-browsing experience, how many sites do you come across with statements like, We were voted the best in town or Our company has been the industry leader in [whatever] since 1988?
I’ve found that in most cases potential customers don’t care about you or how great you think your company is. What the potential customer cares about is what you can do for them.
Pretty much everyone can re-examine every part of their website with these goggles on from time to time. Does the content directly address the potential customer? It should:
- Outline what you can do for them
- Outline the benefits to them
- Outline your qualifications (as relevant to their needs)
- Speak in plain and simple language – at a level that even a 6th< grader can understand
You’d think these things would be easy for a business owner to define. But I’ve found this is rarely the case. It’s hard for anybody involved in running the day-to-day operations of a business to think about their industry from the perspective of the customer. It’s usually easier and more cost-efficient just to hire my firm.
But I digress. There’s a final bullet point you should consider putting into the list above:
- Set up a solution to the potential customer’s problem
Let me illustrate this final bullet point with an example from Martin Investigative Services.
While Tom Martin has dozens of private investigators working for him, more often than not he answers the calls to his office personally. These inquiries usually come from potential customers looking to take advantage of MartinPI.com’s offer for a free consultation. Over the years, I have witnessed Tom handle dozens of these initial calls. Let me tell you how each and every one goes.
Tom asks each caller to clearly explain their specific situation and specific investigative need. Then he asks:
Do you want [this solution to your problem]?
This question is rhetorical; of course they want a solution to their problem. Then Tom outlines the 3 basic things you need to know for any sale:
- The specific plan
- How long it’s going to take
- How much it’s going to cost
Sounds simple, right? Yet most businesspeople, let alone salespeople, rarely explain these 3 basic things to potential clients.
Most businesses can tie Tom’s solution-based phone calls back into their marketing. You should likely put all of these solution-based elements on your website: What is the plan? How long is it going to take? How much is it going to cost? More or less, this is the same script your salespeople should be using too.
If you spend the time to make sure all the pages of your website speak directly to the potential customer, you’re halfway to making your business a lot more money. What’s the second half?
Have you ever been to a website where you had to dig through multiple pages just to find a simple phone number? How many of those times did you get fed up, and try a different website instead?
Chances are you were 100% ready to do business with the first company, but since they didn’t make it easy for you to do so, they lost the sale.
Most people really only visit one page of a website. If that page doesn’t make it easy to do business with you, people won’t.
In my experience, most people really only visit one page of a website. If that one page (which is really every page of your website) doesn’t make it easy to do business with you – forget it. People won’t.
Give them this information often. Here are three ways to do it.
First, the top of your website should have your phone number on it, at all times, regardless of what page you are on. This is relatively simple, but it gets better: Look up martinpi.com on a mobile phone. Note the big graphical “call” button that is there at all times? Click that and it actually functions to call Martin Investigative Services.
Second, ask for the sale multiple times within your content. The homepage of MartinPI.com asks the potential customer to call or email no less than 7 times. This is known as a call to action, a push for the potential customer to become a lead or sale. On MartinPI.com, like all my clients, we want potential customers to call or email.
Finally, make it beneficial for the potential customer to call. As I mentioned earlier, MartinPI.com offers a free, confidential consultation. To the potential customer who has a very real and pressing problem in their personal or professional life, this is a very tempting offer. Why not? It’s free, I might as well call…
If you’re serious about making money with your business, this means making your website revolve around the customer. Forget talking about yourself so much, and start talking about how you can help your potential customer. Ask for their business often and give them an incentive to call. It’s worked for Martin Investigative Services, and it can probably work for your business.
The excerpt above is really a distillation of many things I’ve done professionally with marketing for the past 20 years.
What I wrote about above is nothing particularly new or revolutionary. It is merely a foundational and grounded philosophy, albeit one that has worked for all my clients.
I want to thank Tom Martin for the opportunity to be featured in his book and this post.
Tom has not only taught me about an effective sales call, but many fundamentals of business in general over the years. I can count on one hand the number of people whose advice and guidance has had an effect on my business, and Tom is definitely one of them.
If you ever find yourself stifled or in need of advice about any business challenge, I’d say call Tom. He’s walked the walk, and he most likely has a unique perspective and insight to share.