Creating a marketing plan is a necessary, but often overwhelming task.
It may be stressful, mind-bending or gut-crunchingly challenging. But, there’s one thing you should bear in mind to make the whole process a whole lot easier.
It’s really just a description of the ‘Who’, ‘What’, ‘Where’ and ‘When’ of what you are going to do promote your business.
So, take these components one by one and you’ll be laughing.
Now, when it comes to the ‘What’, you should be thinking along the lines of: ‘what’ are you going to communicate to your prospects to engage them, educate them and encourage them to buy from you?
When I’m designing a marketing plan for a client, one of the first things I do is to create a ‘Key Message Hierarchy’. This small, but super handy document includes all the facts, details and content about the business that need to be shared with its prospects. Some items are details that need to be included in every single marketing piece. Some are extra layers of information that can be selected for inclusion on a case by case basis. The whole thing acts as a brilliant checklist for working through every time we are drafting a new item, and a great source of ideas for future content. It also a vital document for briefing any outside writers, PR experts or website creators.
Having a key message profile means that knowing ‘what’ to say just isn’t a problem anymore.
One of these sections in the document, and the point of my article today, is ‘Objections’.
So, in this context, what are ‘objections’?
Well, these are the negative thoughts that automatically crop up in the mind of your prospect whenever he or she is thinking about buying from you. We all do it. It’s part of our brain’s way of protecting us from risks. Some of us (the more nervy types (okay, me)) might do this to such an extent that it’s hard to ever buy anything. You have to allow for this in your communications.
Your content has the job of alluding to these objections – subtly, you don’t want to place an extra worry in the mind of someone who hadn’t thought of it – and providing the solution, or proof that it isn’t an issue.
Objections usually fall into one of a few categories. For example:
- What if this person steals my money?
- What if this person doesn’t deliver what they’ve promised?
- What if this person tells the world my business or personal secrets?
- Is the service provider pleasant to be around? Will I enjoy spending time with them? Will they be secretly judging me?
- What will I have to do? I might end up making an idiot of myself or feeling self-conscious.
- Will I have to travel a long distance to take part? It’s too difficult for me to organise this around my other commitments.
- Is the seller’s premises nice? If it’s not a pleasant environment I might feel uncomfortable for the entire experience and want to go home.
- I don’t understand the process. It’s too complicated so I can’t commit.
- I don’t understand what I’m getting for my money. I’m not sure what the total price will end up being and I could end up spending more than I want to.
- I don’t understand what I’m supposed to do and what the results will be.
These are just a few examples, but this gives you an idea. The key thing is, to be aware of the potential, and likely objections for your particular business. You can figure them out by asking your prospects and customers – what would be the one thing that would put you off working with me?
When you start to build up a picture of the various likely objections for your clients, start countering them in your marketing communications.
- Refer to them (and the solution) in your written pieces. If you know that your prospects are confused about what the output of your service will be, write about it in detail.
- Use photography to overcome them. If you are hairdresser for example, make sure your site shows pictures of the inside of your salon, and the cleanliness of your hair washing stations.
- Use testimonials to overcome objections about you as a person, or the delivery of your service. “She is a really nice person.” Could be one of your best ever customer quotes.
- Use the FAQ page of your site to cover off the main objections people could have for working with you.
For help putting together a key message profile for your business, get in touch. Our Freelance Marketing Manager service includes this as part of the programme. And, to overcome any objections you might have: we charge a fixed rate for the plan, we would get together in a very nice meeting room, and if you don’t already know the information I need, I’ll help you to figure it out – no judgement and no looking silly.
Photo credit: Benjamin Voros