A critical shift has occurred in today’s advertising away from the traditional “Hard Sell.”
Unless businesses sit up and take notice, they will be left behind in the dust wondering why their ads aren’t working anymore.
We have entered the Information Age, intricately linked to the Internet and mobile devices.
Most businesses have adapted by adding their own websites and connecting with potential customers through Social Media, but many still tend to have the “Hard Sell” mindset.
This old-school way of reaching customers was to be “in their face.” This meant having a large unique logo that dominated the ad, a catchy phrase and a hard push to buy now or else miss out on what everyone else is enjoying. The ad would be repeated ad nauseum day after day, until the prospect assumed it must be a good product because he has seen it so many times. There is a place for this type of advertising, but it should not be the only kind of marketing businesses do—especially with the new expectations customers have.
Potential customers today expect more from companies. Because the Internet has placed an almost infinite amount of knowledge right at the fingertips of everyone who owns a computer, smart phone or mobile device, customers now approach every product and service with serious question marks. They want to know everything they can about the product before considering buying—its specs, how well it compares to similar products, what can possibly go wrong with it, and whether it does the job. They question every service a business might offer, wanting to know whether they can trust the contractors coming into their homes, mechanics working on their cars, and estate lawyers handling their affairs. They are as wary as wild animals and can be scared off just as easily. A simple “hard sell” ad is just not going to convince them.
Moving Away from Hard Sell
How does a business start shifting away from less effective advertising? What’s the secret to building credibility and gaining the level of trust that turns leads and prospects into loyal customers? By offering useful information to them related to the kinds of choices they must make when deciding on products or services. A contractor can share a step by step “How to” on how to fix a leaky faucet or a guide for selecting cabinet finishes. An auto mechanic could explain why certain cars need premium or plus gas instead of regular. An estate lawyer could offer a checklist for setting up a trust.
Vehicles for getting this information into the hands of customers range from blogs to direct-mail postcards and brochures, from videos to emailed newsletters and white papers. Their purpose is to first freely provide useful information that the prospect can immediately benefit from—whether or not he or she ever becomes a customer. The company logo, call to action and contact information should be on or in the marketing piece, visible, but not overpowering. By providing information first and leaving the ego and hard sell out, the prospective customers can recognize the company’s expertise and begin to trust it. Without the hard sell, and with facts and practical suggestions that actually work, today’s businesses can draw in new customers and keep them.
A Handy Resource
Because putting out a steady stream of useful information is time consuming, many businesses take advantage of ghostwriters to crank out the blogs and write the copy for these information-based marketing pieces. This is actually a smart way to go. Hiring a ghostwriter frees up your people to do their own work. Plus, most ghostwriters can work via email to create professional copy that immediately appeals to potential customers.
Do you think that information-based marketing might boost YOUR business? Add your comments below.