This past November I had fun presenting a writing session at the CSTD conference on the topic of Marketing Your Training. While my audience were corporate trainers, everyone markets something. So I thought you might benefit from getting some fresh marketing ideas. And even if these ideas aren’t new to you, we all need to be reminded. Okay, prodded.
The first thing to remember is that marketing isn’t a dirty word. Marketing yourself or your services is just letting people know explicitly how you can help them be better at what they do. The key thing is to remember that benefits are never obvious, and if you don’t tell people what you can do for them, they’ll never know. And if they don’t know, you don’t help anyone, including yourself.
Why does it matter so much today? Our customers have less to spend and are having to do more with less. We have to work harder to keep our piece of a shrinking pie while competition for that piece of pie is fiercer than ever. Customers are frazzled. On top of all this, technology is changing the rules of the game. Marketers now have less control over information—our customers expect to find answers to all their questions on our websites.
It sounds easy—just be explicit about how you can help your customers. But in reality it’s difficult to do. Most people take the easy way out and express themselves in their own language and speak to benefits that are clear to or affect them. Stretching into your reader’s head and understanding your message or product from their point if view is a small but very difficult stretch. In this series I’m sharing some of the best ideas I found.
Know Your Audience
This seems obvious but too many people miss this crucial step. And if you make assumptions about your reader, or don’t take the time to think deeply about what their life is like and what makes them tick, you will never be able to reach them. Once you can identify who you are writing to, consider these questions:
What are their frustrations?
What do they need to be successful?
What motivates them to act?
What do they fear?
What objections do you expect them to have?
Don’t know? Ask someone who fits your profile. People love to be asked for advice and will give their time generously.
Read the other blogs on this topic:
How to Get Your Reader’s Attention Upfront
Marketing Tip: Be Conversational and Concrete
Make Your Content Reader-Centred
Marketing Tip: How to Establish Your Credibility
Speak of Benefits NOT Features