First Rule of Marketing: A Confused Mind Always Says “No”

Dear small business owner, I get it. Marketing is not your thing. Your business is your thing and you wouldn’t even think about marketing if you weren’t trying to promote your product or service. So, while you’re out there trying to wear all the different hats necessary to start and grow a small business, let me tell you about the A #1, top, most important rule of marketing:

A Confused Mind Always Says “No”

I learned this from my first business mentor, but really, it goes way beyond sales. In fact, I can’t think of one area of life where this doesn’t apply. Take a moment now and think about it. I’ll bet you can’t think of one situation when you were confused, but still eager to press ahead without all the necessary information. Right? When humans are confused, they tend to stop and examine what they’re doing. They start to doubt the wisdom of their current direction. Often they will back up a bit and may even set the current task aside for further consideration. In sales, this is the kiss of death.

If you started with a storefront business, you might be a little removed from this reality. In person, customers can ask questions, giving you the opportunity to dispel any confusion without even realizing it. When it comes to doing business online, you don’t get that opportunity, so it becomes vital to identify and address any possible confusion in the minds of your customers while they’re looking at your web site or ad.

Think of it like this – To sell anything online, you’re basically asking customers to give you their protected payment and contact information, and simply trust that you will live up to your end of the deal. That’s a lot to ask! If a stranger walked up to you and asked for this information, you’d tell them to get stuffed. It’s not enough that a customer may want what you’re selling, they also have to trust that you will deliver. The moment they think “Huh?” while looking at your ad or web site, you’ve lost the sale.

Do’s and Don’ts

Don’t think your web site is more important than your ads or social media posts. Everything you write is a reflection on your business and first contact is just as important as the “buy” page.
Do minimize typos and spelling errors. Careless mistakes can indicate a lack of sincerity or attention to detail, which buyers may translate as a poor work ethic.
Don’t assume people know anything. If there are options, tax, or shipping, make it clear.
Do spell out your offer every time. When you post on social media, be sure to include the name of your business and what you’re selling EVERY TIME.
Don’t overload customer’s with too many options, choices, or proprietary terminology.
Do organize your magnificent array of choices in a way that won’t overwhelm first time shoppers.
Don’t worry about being repetitive. Of course, there’s no need to repeat yourself in an ad, for example, but you never know how people will find you. It’s important to include your business name and what you’re selling in every piece of copy you write.
Do speak in your own voice, but edit for clarity. You want your style to shine through, but not at the expense of readability.
Don’t publish your first draft. Write it, put it down, and come back to it. You will always find a way to improve it after you’ve let it sit a while.
Do get someone else to look at it. Just because it makes sense to you, doesn’t mean it makes sense to others. Ask someone to read it through and find out if they have any questions.
Marketing is a Specialized Field
Remember, marketing is a specialized field. Countless dollars and hours have been spent to study and perfect the science of selling. You can’t be expected to master it unless you’ve taken the time to study it yourself. If you need help, I am here and eager to assist all types of small businesses to make their dreams come true.

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