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… Tell an outdated story for the business you started five years ago (but doesn’t reflect who you are today)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

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.

When we talk about tribes we often focus on their qualities. This phase is especially useful as your tribe grows and you get to know who they are. What do they have in common? What are they seeking?

What’s missing from these discussions is the question, “Why do some people tend to attract tribes and others get a motley, disconnected group of clients who don’t even get along in a 4-week workshop?”

Often what your tribe shares most is their respect for you. They talk about how much you’ve helped. If they’re an especially strong tribe they will actually shun those who criticize you. (“He’s a good, kind person. If you’re having problems, it’s you!”)

Some people get tribes by sheer hype, glamor and glitz, but those tribes don’t last. People want substance. They recognize kool-aid when they see it. They want a solid meal and they’ll ask tough questions about what’s gone into it.

One quality of tribal leaders is that they stand out from their competitors, often in surprising ways. That’s why people follow one leader and not another. In fact, members of one tribe often actively dislike the leaders of other tribes. Tribe leaders tend to be edgy in a way that resonates uniquely with their members and repels others.

A good first step in assembling your own tribe is to ask the question, “How can I stand out from the competition?” Almost everyone can learn to stand out more than they do know, once they answer the question, “What makes you special?” Or (as some like to say), “What makes you fabulous?”

The answer to this question is your “Fab Factor,” and it’s always directly related to the way you deliver solid benefits to your market. One marketer claims people like his events because he serves high-quality food; another points to celebrities who dazzle the audience. They create fabulous events, but their tribes remain loyal because they’re getting value they won’t find elsewhere. In some cases, they won’t even window-shop.

We talked about this topic on a recent call. You can get the on-demand recording here:go here and sign up.

Let me know if you have trouble signing up. I’ve been testing some plug-ins and every so often things get less than fabulous.

copywriting tip for the new yearAnd I really want you to leave a comment below! Do you have a tribe? Do you know someone who does? What do you think is the factor that separates tribe leaders from ad hoc team captains?

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.

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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.

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