Let’s face it: Your clients have gotten smarter.

They’ve seen it all. They aren’t impressed by razzle-dazzle graphics. They won’t believe the same old promises everybody makes.

But sadly, many business owners are afraid of being pushy. So they go to the other extreme. They send out bland, timid messages.

So most websites tiptoe along without ever reaching the heart of their target market. A visitor who thinks “blah!” will disappear faster than you can jog across the room.

You need a strategy to establish a connection to your visitors, communicate your value and motivate prospects to buy. Instead your messages …

… Never get read (because they’re overwhelmed by graphics, videos and things that flash, buzz and sing)

… Tell an outdated story for the business you started five years ago (but doesn’t reflect who you are today)

… Stay hidden from customers because you don’t want to go through the hassle of yet another website makeover.

… Underwhelm your prospects because your sales letter needs that extra piece of sizzle

… Get buried under me-too, cookie-cutter copy that doesn’t show exactly why you’re special, unique and just plain fabulous!

The good news is… There’s no need to tiptoe.

You can face the stiffest competition with a strong marketing message that moves clients right to the “buy now” line… without sacrificing six months of time, insulting clients with hyped-up promises or maxing out your credit cards.

My name is Cathy Goodwin and I work with smart service business owners. They want marketing that’s as professional as the services they deliver. They want to keep things simple, get right to the point and get the job done with a minimum of fuss so they can serve clients who value what they offer.

If you relate, you’re in the right place. Grab one of my free ebooks on the right, spend time on my blog, get to know me and let me know when you’re ready to take action.

Halloween Special: The Ghost Of The Haunted Website

When I lived in a small New Mexico town, Halloween meant stocking up on treats for a parade of small visitors who would show up on my doorstep, dressed in costume.

Now I live in a well-guarded building in Philadelphia, a city with more dogs than children. The only costumes I see are worn by bank employees.

No haunted houses in my neighborhood. But prowling around the Internet I’ve seen some copy that I could swear was a haunted piece of virtual real estate.

Here are 5 tips to keep your own site warm and welcoming even on the coldest winter nights, which we are experiencing already. [Read more...]

Guest Post From Ian Brodie: Show, Don’t Tell

Guest Post from Ian Brodie, a delightful British marketer (people listen to his calls just to hear the accent, which I think is Scots).

Show Don’t Tell

In [a previous] email I said,beginguestpost “When expert filmmakers or writers want you to know that the hero of their story is brave, honourable and trustworthy they don’t tell you they are, they show you. They open with a scene of the hero being brave, honourable and trustworthy”.In other words: show, don’t tell.

Shortly afterwards I had two live demonstrations of how NOT to do it. [Read more...]

3 Ways To Cure Content Creation Overwhelm

tired+laptopIntroducing “Mary,” a successful business owner who suffers from content creation overwhelm.  She spends her days organizing clients, shelves and closets, but her own business marketing remains muddled. She’s been working for 6 months to put the final touches on her web site.

Mary’s spent a lot of her time making a plan. She’s worked with her coaches on identifying her niche and clarifying her ideal client. In fact, she’s been through several programs, each coming up with a different set of recommendations. [Read more...]

Why Great Clients Don’t Sign Up With Humble Marketers

finger_holding_weightsBack in Seattle several years ago,  I was enjoying a weight-lifting “maximum sculpt” class at my local gym. Maybe “enduring” would be a better word.

Our regular instructor “Samantha” had arranged for “Martin” to substitute.

Martin’s style was somewhat different from Samantha’s but he was a great instructor. We got an awesome workout.

As we were entering the final stretch (literally), Martin said, “Samantha will be back next week. I promise! I’m sure you’ll be glad –- I know my class was different.”

We were caught off guard.
[Read more...]

The Missing Piece For Finding Your Loyal Tribe of Fans And Followers

leaderRecently I was listening to an extremely well-known coach describing her program. Even though she was doing  a hard sell – and she’s pretty darn good at it – she made a disclaimer: “I can’t help you till you find your own tribe.”

We’re hearing the “tribe” metaphor more and more and you’ll find people use the word differently. Sociologists view tribes as having a culture distinct from others as well as a shared internal culture. In marketing, we tend to use the word “tribe” to refer to our followers, who may not know each other. You feel at home with them. They tend to like each other when they meet at live events or correspond on Facebook; that’s why those group pages will leverage your marketing efforts. [Read more...]

You chose your niche – will they love you back?

3d person standing out

You may not know that Philadelphia’s slogan is “The City That Loves You Back.” Until 1997 we were the “City Of Brotherly Love,” based on the city’s Quaker heritage.

The slogan has been very successful for Philly. And it’s a nice reminder that a relationship – even a short one, even with an abstract entity – goes two ways.

The truth is that we’re encouraged to consider whether we’ve chosen a good niche, but rarely are we asked if that market is going to love us back.

The best niches tend to be action-oriented, based on the market’s pain or problem. What’s keeping them from doing, being and having what they want? Why do they call you? Why now? [Read more...]

Are you nervous about standing out and being “different?”

balls-standoutWhen service professionals ask for a new website, they often say, “Nothing special - I want to look like everybody else.”

This request comes most often in fields like law, accounting and planning, but coaches and consultants sometimes say the same thing. They’ll point to websites of leaders in the field and say, “I like that site.” Usually they point to a site with a simple template and a host of stock photos of well-dressed, smiling people.

These professionals are not totally wrong.

They understand a key element in the psychology of marketing. In many market niches, clients want to see familiar icons associated with the services they use. They want doctors in white coats and banks designed on classical lines.

But there’s another element to the psychology of marketing.  For many clients, today’s icon isn’t the white coat or the classical architecture. It’s the website. [Read more...]

Are you promoting your profession – or yourself as a professional?

MinorityRecently I came across a LinkedIn profile from someone I’ll call “Bob,” and that got me thinking.  It went something like this (I’ve disguised some details):

You are a business owner - or hope to be one soon.  You are very good at what you do. But do you want to get better? Business is the core of a productive society.  Society relies on business owners. That’s a big responsibility. Is it lonely to be an entrepreneur? You bet!  That’s why most business owners at some point in their careers could use  coach. Maybe you need to sharpen your skills, add to your skill set, work on a troubling problem, or change your attitude. A business coach can guide you. Success in business is tough. You certainly don’t want a failure! Look to a coach to lend you a hand.

What’s wrong with this message? If you think I’m referring to your profile – I’m not! But if you recognize yourself in this profile, you’re not alone. Many coaches, lawyers, accountants, planners and other professionals do the same thing. They promote their profession – not themselves. That’s Bob’s profile and we don’t have a clue about why he’s special. [Read more...]

“Are prospects becoming afraid to talk to us?”

phonegirl_edited-1When I start my first business on the Internet, some rockstar coaches were advising everyone to write a note on the back of their business cards: “Free 30-minute consultation.”

Today we’re seeing a backlash.

“I offer a free report on my business card,” said one business coach. “If I offer a free session, people think I’m selling.”

He’s probably right. We hear the word “free call” and our sales radar starts to ping.

Some people use a variation: a low-end product that will introduce prospects to their services. Low-end, of course, depends on you and your market. A website review could be anywhere from $97 to $297 to $1500.

We are also seeing a backlash on low-end programs and offers that include free consultations. People expect to be sold.

All too often, that’s true. [Read more...]

Grow Your Opt-In List With A Standout Giveaway

bluearrowbigwithatsignOne way to grow your opt-in list involves creating your Free Report and promoting it on every page -especially your Home Page.  This step is your gateway to list-building. Therefore your report’s title represents a critical element of copywriting: you need to communicate that you offer a genuine difference.

I don’t recommend reports like,  “101 things a coach [accountant, consultant, speech coach, office organizer or virtual assistant] can do for you.”

These reports fail for 2 reasons:

checkboxredThey just aren’t interesting.  Who wants to wade through a list of 101 items? [Read more...]