Friday, September 19, 2008

Negative and Posititive Marketing Messages

Negative Versus Positive Marketing Messages: Which Works Best?

Nancy is a small business owner who helps nonprofit groups create
fund raising events that can double- even triple- their average

Until recently, Nancy has gotten her business primarily through
in-person meetings: attending networking events, taking people
out for coffee, and giving presentations.

In-person is great for getting local business but Nancy wants to
serve a national customer base. So she hired someone to design a
website and using emails and postcards to market her services.

She's been using emails and postcards for the last ten months
and the results have been dismal.

"I haven't gotten a single new client," she told me.

So I took a look at the emails she was sending out and I
immediately saw the problem.

>> Enthusiasm Can Turn People Off

Nancy loves her work and really wants her clients to succeed.
It's hard to spend time with her and not get excited about what
she's doing.

Her enthusiasm works to her advantage when she meets people in

It seems logical then that enthusiasm would work in all her other
marketing. Wrong.

>> Establishing Trust is the First Step

There's a saying, "People want to know you care, before they
care about what you know."

As human beings, we have a natural desire to belong and feel
valued. It's the reason why people hate to be sold to...we
don't feel understood or valued for who we are.

When you meet someone in person, it's a lot easier to build
trust because you can communicate that you care in many ways: in
your tone of voice, in the way you look at others, in your

For people like Nancy, building trust occurs almost immediately
during in person meetings because she communicates that she cares
both in what she says and what she doesn't say.

But when communicating in less personal ways—using email,
postcards, and other types of written media, you have only words
to work with.

Which means you must take an extra step and deliberately
demonstrate empathy before you enthusiastically share why your
products and services are so wonderful.

>> Establishing Trust Means Starting with the Negative

So how do you show you care when you use email, web pages, and
other mediums that limit your ability to express yourself?

You start with the problem or pain your customer is likely

When you do this you are saying, in effect to your audience:

"I understand you have this problem that you're struggling to

"I, too, have struggled with it"

"Through my experience, education, research, etc., I have came
up with a solution to solve the problem."

"My solution work for you too."

Once you say these things, you are free to bubble away about your
wonderful solution.

>> Example: Establishing Trust First

So let's go back to Nancy.

Instead of immediately starting her emails off with how she helps
her clients double their fund raising results she begins with
demonstrating empathy and understanding.


"Non-profits, let me show you how to double- , even triple your


"Non-profits, are you struggling to compete for funding in
today's difficult economy?"

Can you feel the difference?

Nancy's email then went on to describe her own struggles with
fund raising and how she developed her solution.

When Nancy began using this approach, her prospect inquiries
immediately increased and she's now in the process of turning
some of the prospects into clients.

But she first needed to demonstrate she understood and cared
before they were willing to make the call.

>> Bottom Line

The less personal the communication, the more important it
becomes to first establish trust with your prospects.

For emails, blog posts, web pages, etc.:

1. Start with the Negative: demonstrate you understand their
problem and struggle to solve it.

2. End with the Positive: share why your solution is better and
will work.

Judy Murdoch helps small business owners create low-cost,
effective marketing campaigns using word-of-mouth referrals,
guerrilla marketing activities, and selected strategic alliances.
To download a free copy of the workbook, "Where Does it Hurt?
Marketing Solutions to the problems that Drive Your Customers
Crazy!" go to
You can contact Judy at 303-475-2015 or judy@...

Greg Cryns
How Michael Phelps got started

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