Notes from Jeff York

Small business marketing thoughts from a marketing small business owner

Posts Tagged ‘writing

Speaking to your audience

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home_page_image1It’s been my experience that business owners that are new to marketing often make the mistake of emulating messaging or techniques that they were exposed to in mass media. Maybe it was a commercial that they liked on TV or a catchy radio spot. So, it’s their business and their marketing dollar. That’s what they want to do.

As you may remember from your English classes, when writing you need to consider your audience. In this case, it’s the business owner’s core customer base. If the business owner fails to speak to that core base, they will not be effective in their marketing efforts.

This makes the first step obvious. KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER. If you don’t really know your customer, then you have a fundamental issue within your business structure. If you think you know your customer, make sure you really do. Talk to them. Spend time at your store with some of them. Make sure that what you perceive about your customer is really true. Once you know that, then you can start to craft messaging that speaks to that group.

Just because you like the messaging doesn’t mean that it’s the correct message. Test it. Ask people about what you’re doing. Check the metrics. Make sure that what you’re doing is moving the needle in some way. You might not see an immediate increase in customers, but you might be moving the needle in other ways. For example, are your customers even more satisfied? If they are, you might not be seeing an immediate influx of new customers, but you might be seeing current customers buying more. That will eventually lead to exactly the type of advertising that you can’t buy directly: word-of-mouth.

What are you doing for marketing today? Did you throughly research your customer first? Do you know what they want or do you only think you know what they want? If you researched them, know them, are you speaking directly to them? Lastly, I hate to say it, but customers are fickle. What appeals to them today doesn’t necessarily work tomorrow. You have to keep taking their temperature.

If you haven’t walked a mile in their shoes since yesterday, it’s time.

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Written by Jeff York

April 4, 2009 at 12:11 am

Blocking the Writer’s Block

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Many of us have been there.  We have to write something on deadline.  Sometimes it’s on a topic that just doesn’t excite us.  Sometimes, we like the topic, but for whatever reason, the literary gods of inspiration are denying us.

The deadline’s approaching.  What do you do?  What will you do?

My suggestion is to read, take a walk, and drink.  In that order.  Let me explain.

I like reading.  I love knowing what other people have to say.  Thankfully, today we have one incredible resource at our fingertips in the Internet.  Call up your favorite search engine and type in keywords related to your topic.  Start reading what others have already said about your topic.  Don’t steal their ideas!  Just read about the topic and explore the different angles those authors have taken.  Typically, these Internet articles have links to other topics and ideas.  Follow the links down the rabbit hole.  Explore new topics.  Read the fresh perspectives.  Read read read.

But remember, you’re on deadline.  Once you’re gotten a good base in your head, take a walk.  Think about what you read.  Think about different angles people have taken on your topic.  Think about your own experiences and how they may differ from what you read.  Take mental notes which might only be free form thoughts, but may also serve as jumping off points to help get the creative process started.

And drink.  I’ve found things with sugar and caffeine in them to work the best.  Stay away from alcohol.  You’re no Ernest Hemingway.

What’s worked when you’ve been besieged with Writer’s Block?  Ever been forced under deadline to have to find your way through the Block and still deliver the goods?