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News


“Your customers are reasonable” and other small biz mistakes.

December 12, 2013

Mistake 1: “Your customers are reasonable.”
People are more likely to be emotional, insecure, stubborn, fearful, distant and ridiculous, than rational. “Being reasonable” really depends on you, your view of how things should work and how you think your customers should act. To get these irrational customers to act on your advertising, tailor your advertising to align with their reasoning, not yours.

Mistake 2: “Your customers are looking forward to making a change.”
Nope. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Change is something most people avoid. It’s scary, new, different, unsafe, even dangerous. If you want people to change, change your advertising so that it builds trust first. It makes asking for change later go down easier.

Mistake 3: “Your customers think about your company like you think about your company.”
That’s impossible. No one cares about your business like you do. It’s your passion, your livelihood. It’s just a convenient, affordable, beautiful, warm, helpful, nice place for them to frequent (or not). You are not the audience for your ads. If you can’t think like your customers, hire an ad professional who can.



Big Data is sexy & seductive but ultimately a fantasy for small businesses like yours.

November 27, 2013

Big data. Macro trends. All those fancy info graphics. If you’re General Motors or Samsung or Pepsico, these long term trends matter because you need the masses. But if you’re like most of us — smaller, local Kansas City businesses — you don’t need tens of millions of customers. You need a thousand, or a hundred or maybe just ten new customers to move the needle for your company.

Your business moves up or down because individual humans, with names and needs and desires and quirks and kids, either trust you enough with their business, or they don’t.

Individuals matter most of all. Get to know them. Use your advertising to start a dialogue with them. Leave the big data trend chasing to the GE’s of the world, you’ve got smaller things to do with your time and marketing budget.



“TRUSTED BRANDS” Are there any other kinds?

November 27, 2013

Sure you can build your business on faster (think QuikTrip and how quickly they check you out), or cheaper (like Cargo Largo). That works right up until someone comes along who’s even faster or cheaper. Everyone else has to build trust.

When customers have a choice, they will always base their buying decisions on who they trust to deliver on the promises being made in their marketing. Period. No trust. No sale.

So what are you doing to become the most trustworthy business in Kansas City? Just saying “trust me” doesn’t cut it. Show me. “Wow!” me. I wanna believe in you.

Because you’re either a trusted brand, or you’re out of business.



Why is most advertising so much gruel?

November 11, 2013

It's simple really. Most advertising talks about the client, the product or to the cleverness of the ad agency. As a customer who only really cares about my own needs, that (like most advertising) is easy to ignore. There is a really simple fix:

Quit talking about yourself.

Effective, moving, inspiring, sales-producing advertising is all about the viewer, the listener, the reader -- the customer. Great advertising delivers a big idea in an entertaining way that delivers "how-to" and hope to the customer. Not the product. Not the clever copywriter. Not the marketing committee. The customer's concerns are the only things that really matter.



Want to sell online? It only takes five web pages.

October 07, 2013

Want to generate sales from your small business website? Keep It Simple Sister. Don’t sweat the geek-speak. Don’t get caught up in all the bells and whistles and shopping carts (and expense). Forget about programming. All you need are these five pages:

  • Homepage – it will be the most visited page on your site. Make it strong and persuasive.
  • Product / Services Listings page – describe your products’ benefits to the buyer. If you have more than 12 products, you’ll need a separate page for each. Make it easy to find what they’re looking for within two clicks.
  • About Us page – the most difficult page to write. People want to know who they’re buying from, tell them like you’d tell a friend about your business.
  • “Why Us” page – your customers have more buying options than ever. Use your Why Us page to demonstrate the benefits of buying from you.
  • Education page – not everyone who visits your site is ready to buy now. They’re looking for information. More than sales and product information, educate them on your philosophies, your industry, post about the things that they’re going to be interested in reading.

Where’s the shopping cart?
The real question is, "do you even need an eCommerce site?" There are only three reasons a small business should invest in a shopping cart for their site:

  1. You sell something I can’t find anywhere else easily online.
  2. You sell the same product for less than anyone else sells it online.
  3. You  ship your product outside of Kansas City or you don’t have a physical location in town where I can buy your product.

Otherwise, save your money. Your energy, time and resources are better spent creating a better website that moves people into your store.



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