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… Tell an outdated story for the business you started five years ago (but doesn’t reflect who you are today)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

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...]

Marketing For Professionals Who Can’t Promise A “Win”

business senior couple on a laptopWhen I write sites for lawyers, planners and other professionals who can’t a “win,” they wonder how they can use copywriting. So they often end up with boring, me-too sites. Occasionally someone goes too far the other way, investing in an over-designed site that looks beautiful but doesn’t bring results.

Here are 3 guidelines for effective professional sites.

(1) Don’t often ask for a site that will be “memorable.” In fact, your goal is to be “sticky” rather than “memorable.”

The truth is, most visitors will remember your web site for about 30 seconds, if you are lucky. Your goal is to attract their attention long enough for them to sign up for your ezine. [Read more...]

How To Save Yourself From Schemers and Scammers When You Go Online

??????????????????????????????????????????????Most of my readers, followers and clients are not totally new to the Internet. So please pass along this post to anyone who might be thinking of setting up a website (or remodeling the ones they have).

Online marketing can be extremely lucrative. But getting started can be a minefield. When I hear someone say, “I just spent thousands of dollars on my web site, and nothing’s happening,”  I can usually identify one of these 3 schemes.

Of course most web developers, designers and webmasters are honest and competent. Unfortunately, when you’re searching for your first website or you’re in a hurry, it’s easy to grab the rottenest apples in the barrel.

Keep reading to discover the most common themes and get access to my free video series here.

[Read more...]

Banish These Writing Ghosts That Haunt Your Online Presence

ghostwithredpencilsmallCreating an online presence is 90% writing and 10% everything else.  
Even when you create a video, you are writing a script. When you have a blank page with just a few words – such as the title of a giveaway and a sign-up box – every word counts. Shorter copy can actually be more challenging than long copy.

But too many people end up afraid of writing because they are haunted by ghosts of English teachers, friends, bosses and even the media. So they believe:

  • “Writing is a Big Deal.”
  • “Writing is supposed to be hard.”
  • “Writing takes a long time.

[Read more...]

How Your WordPress Blog Solves 3 Tough Challenges (And Makes It Easy)

qmarkcomputersmThree of the toughest questions I get are: How can I … … choose a niche? … get more traffic? … demonstrate my expertise to prospective clients?

There’s one way to answer all these questions and more: create a WordPress blog.

– Your blog may become your website. You can learn to create an opening “sticky” page that introduces your business to visitors. as well as the basic pages for a site. [Read more...]

Has your web developer hijacked your website?

websitelayoutsmMany of my clients get frustrated with web developers who take way too long to build a website. One client waited for months…and then another few months because the developer decided, “We need a new platform.” Their business stays on hold while they wait … and wait.

They also get frustrated with designers who seem reasonable and then explode into action. I once sat next to a business owner at a networking breakfast. She told me, “Thirty bucks an hour seemed like a great deal! Then I got a bill for $4000.”

These days I recommend that you create your own beautifully designed website yourself, without a webmaster. It may seem like a lot of work but once you’ve caught on, you can put up a site in minutes. That’s what I do for my own clients in the Website Express Program.