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… Tell an outdated story for the business you started five years ago (but doesn’t reflect who you are today)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

For professionals who want to overcome “Fear Of Differentiation”

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.

When a prospect meets you at a networking event or gets a referral from a friend, she will  follow up with a visit to your site.  She wants you to answer the question, “Why should I hire you?”

And that’s where many professionals get nervous, understandably. They don’t want to violate their industry ethical code. They don’t want to come across as sleazy. They want to be seen as trustworthy, ethical and credible. So they ask for cookie-cutter websites and a host of suppliers will be eager to serve them. You’ll see templates for “lawyer websites” or “artist websites.” I don’t recommend them, but that’s another post.

To combine professionalism with promotion, begin by finding out what makes you unique and special to people in your niche. I call this quality your “Fab Factor” – what makes you fabulous. Usually you’ll find clues in the material you already have – your testimonials, comments from clients, and even your own copy. Once a client discovered his Fab Factor on page 23 of his website.

When you promote your genuine Fab Factor, you don’t need to use words like “amazing.” You present demonstrations, facts and examples that show – don’t tell – what makes you special.

You’re also helping your clients, who tend to get confused when they page through a series of look-alike websites for professions. Simply by clarifying what you do and how you’re unique, you stand out.

And while I don’t encourage ugly websites, I know a few professionals who violate all the rules of good design but refuse to change because they’re getting clients by the bushel. It’s not the look: it’s the story you tell.

We’ll be talking about this more on Thursday during our free call, and you can ask questions before and during the call. If you’d like to submit a site for comments, let me know right away!  Register here.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Have you outgrown your first website?

Close-up of an old typewriter with paperIf you’re like me, you spent a lot of time developing your first website. If you’ve been in business for more than a few years, you may still be traumatized by the experience. You swore you’d never do it again. 

Then a few years go by. Your prospects visit your site. When they talk to you, listen to your webinars or read your blog they are shocked. Your current website does a great job of promoting your former business. You’ve evolved.  Your website hasn’t. [Read more...]