Show (don't tell) Your Customers How You Solve Their Problems
In Seth Godin’s book, Purple Cow, the main theme is ‘stop advertising and start innovating . . . if the offer itself isn’t remarkable it becomes invisible.’ In this increasingly busy, fragmented, and noisy marketing landscape, if your business isn’t sticking out from the crowd, it doesn’t get noticed.
Doing what everyone else does, even if it’s very good, isn’t good enough. (Tweet This!)
Godin’s concepts of Don’t be boring, ‘Safe’ is risky, ‘Design’ rules now, and ‘Very Good’ is very bad are all ways to differentiate. I’d like to add one of my own to this list . . . Show me, Don’t tell me.
As I look at how my own prospects – B2B companies that sell professional services – are marketing themselves, I notice that most of their marketing is very safe. I understand that a lot of professional services tend to be conservative by nature, but simply explaining what you do isn’t going to compel many people to want to work with you (plus, all of your competitors are doing the same thing.)
There’s nothing engaging or compelling in a list of features and benefits. Telling is boring and unconvincing. There is no reason to believe or disbelieve you, and no reason to care; there is nothing to distinguish you from the pack, nothing to excite and entice the customer. So, stop telling your prospects what you do. Instead, show them! Let me explain how to do this.
The concept of ‘Show Me, Don’t Tell Me’ has been an important principle of persuasive writing for forever (you may even remember your high school English teacher harping on this). Here’s an example: (courtesy of Dennis Jerz):
“My brother is talented.”
There. I’ve just told you something. Pretty boring, huh? Now, let me show you.
“My brother modifies sports car engines, competes in ballroom dance tournaments, and analyzes chess algorithms.”
“Wow, that guy is talented,” you say to yourself.
You didn’t need me to TELL you what you’re supposed to think, because the details I chose SHOW you the range of my brother’s talents.
Don’t just tell me something . . . show me something and let me decide whether I’m impressed.
‘Show Me, Don’t Tell Me’ extends beyond persuasive writing and becomes a critical online marketing tool. To convince your customers and generate more leads online, don’t just tell them what you want them to know, show them!
In order to do this, you should obviously employ persuasive writing tactics like those above, but to truly differentiate you must go beyond copywriting and create an online experience that unequivocally answers the question: What is it like to work with you?
The interaction a prospect actually experiences with your marketing needs to clearly demonstrate what it is like to work with you:
- Walk visitors through a process that gives them exposure as to what its like to work with your company and the value you add.
Document this process - what it takes to build a user experience like this - and make the process available as content to pull in leads.
This process then becomes what you actually sell to your clients as the initial engagement.
Allowing your prospects to experience what it’s like to actually work with you is the best way to become highly visible, to differentiate from the competition, and to build trust online.
If your services are truly remarkable there is no better way to market yourself than leading by example.
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