Put Your Marketing To The "So What?" Test
Want to get Better at your Marketing today?
For many service business owners, marketing can be a real
mystery. We don't really know exactly how it works. We're not
real sure about what works best for us. And probably because of
some past frustrations, we're not even sure where to start.
Most seem to at least have a notion of what's involved in
marketing...a web site, Yellow Pages advertising, brochures,
direct mailings, networking, seminars, trade shows, etc.
But if that's all it took, wouldn't we all be attracting enough
I'm sure you've tried one or more of these things at least to
some degree. And I'm sure you've had at least some successes
now and again. But are you able to make it work consistently
for your business?
If not, what could be going on?
First, let's agree to a definition of marketing. Here is my
favorite one for small, service-based businesses:
"Marketing is the use of strategies to generate a constant
supply of high-quality leads for your service business." Simple
to understand and speaks directly to the results we want.
OK, so doesn't this definition take us right back to what we
said we already knew about marketing... a web site, Yellow
Pages advertising, networking, etc.? Well maybe, but first it's
important to understand why your current marketing activities
aren't producing consistent results.
Put your message and materials to the "So What?" test.
Start with your core marketing message. Pull out your most
frequently used marketing tool and read it out loud. Put it to
the "So What?" test.
After you read it out loud, is it possible that your intended
audience could respond with... "So What?"... "Why do I
care?"... or "What's in it for me?" If your message doesn't
tell your intended audience what solutions you are providing to
address their issues/problems/challenges, and how it relates to
the benefits they'll receive from your services, then a "So
What?" response is exactly what you might expect.
Messages and materials that are all about who you are and the
history of your company and what services you offer and why
you're so qualified to provide these services and how you
partner with your clients to acheive superior results, etc. are
likely to fail the "So What?" test.
Challenge all of your current marketing materials. Remember,
it's the intended audience that counts. What's in it for them?
Why should they care?
Listen, if your marketing is consistently generating all the
high-quality leads you can handle, then don't change a thing.
But if you haven't quite figured out how to generate a constant
supply of leads for your service business, then you owe it to
yourself to challenge your current marketing tools by putting
them to the "So What?" test.
Try these ideas:
* Challenge all of your marketing tools that aren't
contributing to consistently generate leads for your service
business - even the ones that have worked in the past. Could
you improve the message and get a higher return? Put it to the
"So What?" test.
* Try the X's and O's test (especially with the last letter you
wrote). Mark an X every time your marketing piece mentions your
name, company name, or the words "I" or "me". Mark and O every
time it mentions the prospects name, company name, or the word
"you" or "your". If the X's out number the O's, rewrite it
before using it again.
* Try gathering up a group of people you can trust to give you
very honest feedback. You're not just looking for proof
readers, but individuals who will give you honest feedback on
whether your materials pass the "So What?" test.
* Be prepared for some negative feedback, but more importantly,
be prepared to do something about it.
* Don't just accept opinions, but try to get down to realistic
response. For example: "I think this part is too wordy and
detailed." (opinion) versus "I got pretty lost and confused
with the level of detail in this part." (response)
* Remember that it is the intended audience that counts. If
it's not clear who the message is intended for when it's
received, then how can it pass the "So What?" test.
(c) - Kevin Dervin, KPD Marketing
About The Author: Kevin is focused on helping businesses that
are ready to grow, but struggle with how to consistently
attract more clients. Visit
more information you can use to grow your business. Find
Kevin's Kansas City based KPD Marketing practice at
www.ABCDgrowth.com and subscribe to his free ezine.
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