Marketing Team for Growing Your Business

Marketing + customer service are your secret weapon for growth
Marketing + Customer service + client input

You have a secret marketing team at your disposal to effectively grow your alternative health, wellness, or CBD business and it’s probably closer than you realize. It’s your customer support team and your customers themselves in addition to your marketing team. They need to be closely working with marketing.

A colleague and I were talking about this recently. He’s been a copywriter for over 15 years. One of his clients suddenly had a huge drop in his business. In less than six months their revenues had dropped over 40%. 

Desperate, he called my friend, Joshua, and asked him to come to help them sort it out and he would make the arrangements for Joshua’s travel.

Joshua flew to their headquarters for the staff meeting. He needed to talk to all the key people to see what had changed.

When he arrived to the meeting, the head of the marketing department wasn’t there. Joshua stopped and told them he couldn’t progress without everyone there. The owner made a call and an hour later the department head arrived.

Like I do, after listening carefully, Joshua started asking questions. He started digging. The products hadn’t changed. Pricing hadn’t changed appreciably. Orders, shipping, and delivery were all handled the same.

He asked to see the copy they had been sending out to customers over the past few months. 

The owner liked the new messages. He found it hard to believe that the changes they had made could cause such a dramatic change in sales. 

Could a marketing change really do that?

Instead of trying to convince him, Joshua asked who had written the copy. Turning to her, he said, “Please write the next piece that’s to go out. Do it just the way you have been…no changes. Okay?”

Slightly bewildered she agreed. Then he turned to the owner and said, “I’ll also write copy for the same content. I want you to A/B test them and we’ll see what your buyers say. Agreed?”

The owner agreed and they sent the test emails out.  The copy my friend wrote outperformed their staff writer’s copy 20:1.  Why?  He wrote directly to their target market and their mindset. He didn’t try to change them from who they were.

Management had lost connection with their buyer’s wants, needs, and mindset.

We can’t afford client marketing disconnects in the midst of this crisis.

Have you noticed it’s harder to get answers to questions right now?  I have. In my client work I’ve noticed they are slower to get back to me. 

Businesses that I deal with are slower to get back to me. Some are even completely ignoring their customer’s requests for support or have reasonable ways to be reached.  

It’s a recipe for decline, loss of sales, and a decrease in customer retention.

The answers are at your fingertips or the other end of your cell phone.  Your best secret weapon is your customer support staff and existing clients.  

Your customer support team is your “first-responders”.  Just like medics and firefighters, there are the first ones your customers interact with. They hear the stories. They know what’s working and where the problems are.

In my client work, I have found there is often a big disconnect between management and customer service. Management may assume they have it all delegated. 

Numerous studies and surveys verify this.  About 75% of management thinks they have great customer service.  Only about 25% of customers agree. 

Management may assume that they are on target. It’s easy to not accurately connect marketing strategies, investments, and focus with what the customer service team is experiencing.

Here are three techniques to lessen this disconnect and empower your business to move forward.

Talk to your real marketing team…

Have a conference with your customer service team with your marketing team listening in. Start by listening to what they are experiencing.  What’s going right? What are the concerns they hear the most often? Where, if any are the breakdowns?

Is there a product that has developed an issue? 

Is there a need that could be better met with a little tweaking?

What about a concern or information that if provided on the website could reduce interaction friction?  You want to minimize purchasing friction every step of the way. What would make the buying process easier?

Review how customer service interacts with clients or queries. 

Phone? Email? Chat? What is the typical response time?

What is the scope of your sales? Local, regional, national or beyond? 

What hours is customer support offered and are they reasonable for people beyond your time zone? 

If you’re an east coast firm doing business with not just continental USA, but also Alaska and Hawaii – you have a six-hour time difference to consider.  Even just in the continental US, it may be 5 PM  on the east coast…but it’s only 2 PM on the west coast.  This can cause a lot of customer service friction.  

Right now…and for the foreseeable future, consider shifting most, if not all customer service to remote work. If you don’t have it, consider how to create a way for that team to be able to offer support.

Also, is there a way you could have longer hours through a remote worker?  Either an opposite coast liaison or someone who would be willing to handle an early or late shift…depending on your location.

Create better customer relations by letting them know when they can expect to hear back from you.  Supply chain users are learning they have to be more flexible and things are taking longer. Retail consumers are less content to wait.

One of my clients is a distributor and while their sales have been suffering greatly, now they are getting lots of requests for “I need it right now.”  

Set expectations by having clear guidance on how you are working and fulfilling orders.

Even if you get it out the same day…we both know deliveries are not predictable. Not even express or other very expensive delivery services. 

What are your customers saying?

You might want to read some of the customer emails or chat threads to get a better sense of how your customer is feeling about your company and your product.

Visit your social media pages and check out the conversations there. Do you need to ramp up support there?

Are you getting reviews on your website or social media?  What do they say?  What can be done to improve them? 

Customer problems are opportunities for increasing sales…if you listen and act on them. 

With over 30 years in business, I know we can’t make every person happy. However, often, there is an easy fix. Product or product packaging tweaking. Digital content tweaking or additions. Better customer experience opportunities.

Get feedback and share it with customer service and marketing

If you don’t have an automatic feedback system following a sale, consider incorporating one. 

Every time I pick up groceries… I get a how did we do email.  Businesses that use square automatically followup with a little smiley face or frown option on my phone…again, feedback on how they did.

Customer surveys are a goldmine.  Offer a bonus for taking a few moments and giving you some feedback.  Keep it short and simple.  I hate my grocery store feedback because it asks way too much demographic information that is identical every time.  

Be respectful of their time.  Think of how You would feel being asked these questions.  

It’s better to have just a few quick questions and then a space for comments.  It empowers and respects them at the same time.

If you get a comment that brings an issue to your attention, have a script for staff to use as a response. Thank them and let them know this will be looked into.

When I work with clients, these are techniques I share. I recommend the findings and suggested modifications/changes be shared with all levels. Management needs the information, Customer Service wants the suggestions and Marketing needs to keep the customer in the loop of changing you are making.   

Need more recommendations? www.jculpcreativecopy.com

Newsletters Build Bonds

Newsletters are a great way to bond with customers. They are a friendly, casual way to stay in touch.

There are a lot of different formats. But there is one thing they must do to be successful.

Newsletters must get the reader’s attention…

I’ll never forget the two teachers I had in a shared-time experimental English class. It was my junior year of high school.  

Monday through Wednesday we had English literature followed by two days of public speaking. 

The teachers couldn’t have been more different. 

The English teacher was a petite woman with a soft voice. Unfortunately, she also tended to speak and read in a monotone.  

I love books, I love literature. But she was so hard to focus on in that soft lullaby voice. The hour dragged. I could feel my eyelids wanting to droop.

The first time I met our Thursday-Friday teacher, I was terrified.

Mrs.Trueblood strode into the room like a warrior-queen. Her voice boomed rich and deep. Authoritative. Strong. 

As she made her way toward the teacher’s desk on the far side of the room, I noticed everyone was sitting up a little straighter. Mrs.Trueblood commanded every class.

Yup. She had my attention…and then she captivated my brain. That turned into one of the most enlightening and amazing classes I took in school.  

If I would see her now, I’d stand my tallest and shake her hand with all the professionalism I grew into…and thank her for what she gave me.  Skills and confidence that are still with me today. 

Every newsletter needs to open with a good subject line and lead that gets the reader’s attention. 

I’ve been writing newsletters for well over 25 years. They’ve kept customers up to date, inspired them and offered valuable information.

Were they all masterpieces? Of course not. But they’ve given me lots of practice to find what works.

Discover your stats specific to your industry niche.

Industry stats are something many businesses are unaware of. 

Sending out e-newsletters and then seeing how many people do, or don’t, open them can be a little nerve-wracking. I’ve seen many businesses start second-guessing themselves and abandon the project.  

Instead use Google and find the typical statistics for your business segment. 

You’ll find out all sorts of interesting data there. The typical number of opens, the typical number of clicks, (if you have links,) and even conversions.  It’s all available as part of the tracking of the mail-handling program. 

Different systems track different things if they are properly interconnected to your website. Talk with your webmaster about what will work best with your system.

Once I learned those statistics I discovered I was doing better than most businesses in my industry. Sometimes 10 times better. 

But what if you get an email that doesn’t get the response you expected? I’ve found most of the time it was timing.  It wasn’t the perfect time for that message. 

It could also be the wrong group or segment of your recipients.

Try these 4 techniques for a great newsletter

One question I often get is…how often should I send a newsletter?

Frequency

Your newsletter can be a monthly release of multiple articles that are featured weekly.

They start with  the first week’s article in brief with a link to the full article. They  also include links to three other articles at the bottom. Each week one article gets its turn at being featured in an email.

That works well for larger businesses who really want to build and share information. It also builds traction faster.

But if four monthly articles are not in your time schedule, or budget, then send at least monthly.

You need to stay in touch with clients and prospective clients at least monthly to stay on their mind.

I like to work from an idea list.  I also review what worked well in previous years for specific time slots. 

You have two choices for tracking data from your email system. Export it to a data file or stay with the same email contact manager system. This builds you a history you can easily review.

Keep your newsletters to one theme if possible. 

Even many popular magazines tend to use themes. You won’t find 4th of July picnics in the December issue. Get the right message at the right time.

Start with seasonal. Look for events or holidays you can tie into if that fits your specific products. 

But if you’re in the midst of a crisis? Pause and think about what is going to be the most important message you can share this month. 

Right now family bonding, mental health and self-care are all important.  

Tips for coping with stress, anxiety and getting a good night’s rest are high priorities.

Tips for dealing with unavailability. Many of us are accustomed to dropping by the store nearly daily to get this or that.  Not now.  

Most of us are planning and shopping in advance to minimize the number of trips we need to make. We’re making contingency plans for things that aren’t available.

We’re coping with back orders and items out of stock with no projected availability.  This adds to the stress levels. Anything to cope with stress or anxiety is getting checked out.

Consider length…

Are your customers  looking for a quick read?  Plan the length and complexity based on your target audience.  Are you sending a series of educational pieces? Those may run longer.

Are you sending a helpful, hopeful, hang in there message? Keep it short, positive and inspirational. 

Get your message clear and simple. 

I’m often asked how long is long enough?  

A short email might be 200-300 carefully chosen words.

A blog length article can be 800-1500 words.

But as my seventh-grade-teacher always said, as she primly lifted her calf length skirts toward her knees…

It needs to be long enough to cover the subject and short enough to be interesting.

Of course, we giggled or tried to keep straight faces. It was years before I realized how profoundly truthful those words are.

Don’t drag it on…that’s when you lose readers. 

Find the magic balance…

Many of the emails and newsletters we receive are 100% sales. If you’re like me, you can spot and delete those in seconds. 

The first pass of my emails is looking for stuff to delete. Sound familiar? Absolutely.  

We are being so inundated with emails…especially sales and sales pitches, that we’re experts at spotting the stuff we aren’t interested in. So we go down, tick them and in one fell swoop…their opportunity is in the trash.

Maybe those businesses haven’t noticed people have other needs than just a sale.

Here’s a quick question or two for you to consider.

What type of email do you like to receive from your suppliers?  

A sale? Or helpful information with maybe a short call-to-action or product special at the bottom?

Which makes you feel better? Which makes you feel more connected to them? 

Make your communications heavy on the information, inspiration and connection side. 

Keep the selling information to between 10-20% of the total. Message first. Sales second is a better way to bond.

Not sure how your newsletters rank?

As we make our way through the marketing complexities we face, here’s a special offer. For the first 2 people who contact me…before 5PM PDT on 4/16, I’ll do a quick complimentary review of an existing newsletter. 

www.jculpcreativecopy.com

Content Marketing to Connect During a Crisis

Content marketing engages with clients when things are tough

It’s no secret we’re in trying times and uncharted waters. And businesses are trying to figure out how to survive.

Only a few people alive today that went through the Flu Pandemic of 1918. It killed millions.

The good news is medicine and communication systems have come a long way. The first antiviral drug was only developed 57 years ago.

Drugs are already being researched for the coronavirus as are other therapies to help treat those who have it.

It won’t be fun, but we’ll make it and learn a lot on the way.

For marketers…it means regrouping and rethinking our marketing strategies.  We need to show care, concern and be aware of sensitivities.

Here’s what not to do…

Did you see the post from Spirit Airlines? In early March Spirit Airlines sent a promotional email with the subject line, “The perfect time to treat yourself? Right this minute,” the email went on… “never been a better time to fly.”

Frontier Airlines also sent out a blunder at the same time. “Book with confidence. Increased flexibility! Change/cancel fee waived for bookings through March 31.”

Both emails have hurt the brands’ reputations despite apologies. These were pre-scheduled automatic sends. No-one turned them off.

And then there was the company promoting you to buy their luxury pajamas since you had to stay home.

They were the wrong message at the wrong time and they felt very wrong to those who received them.

When in a crisis people are looking for information, education, inspiration, and entertainment.

Why Content Marketing now?

Content marketing is non-promoting, digital, online. That makes it easily accessible regardless of social distancing.

It can have every attribute people are looking for. Value, education, inspiration, entertainment.

It used to just be blog posts but has expanded to become more a holistic approach. Now content marketing covers email, social media and even paid distribution.

What to avoid?  Highly promotional.  A crisis sale can come across very tacky.

Content marketing works in a more subtle, acceptable and approachable way.  It builds bonds, and relationships that keep going during and after the current crisis ends.

This style of marketing is a highly effective way to stay in touch with your customers. It will attract leads that are ongoing.  When done, it’s an investment that will last for years.

Staying in touch with clients and prospects can be uninterrupted with content marketing. All you need is to make sure you follow proper content marketing strategies.

It might take a little time to figure out your best approach. That’s okay too.

One secret to remember…

You need to be as responsive as that cat on the hot-tin-roof.  To prevent a mishap, turn off your auto-sender.

It’s time to be in the trenches, flexible, in control of what goes out. You have to be sensitive to the timing and make sure the message you planned is still right.

You don’t want to have a boondoggle like those airlines made…

It’s okay to take the time to make sure your employees and those directly affected customers are taken care of.

It’s okay to slow down your email sends.  People are being inundated with emails and it’s harder to get seen. When you do send them, make sure they are content based rather than sales promotions.

Focus on three things in content marketing.

Here are three things to focus on when planning your content marketing regardless of how you deliver it. 

For businesses that depend on meeting people and making sales at trade shows…take it virtual. Offer educational information about your business on-line. This is becoming more and more common.

Build relationships

Share the types of things that will build getting to know you and your team. Build trust. Maybe what you’re doing so you can take care of staff and customers… and plan for the future.

Think brand awareness. People need to feel you are connected with the situation we’re living in. If you’re doing something special or helping out your community in some way…share that story in a non-promotional way.

Invite them to help in their own communities. Let them know you are here for them.

Social media may be the best place to be.  Cecilia Gates, CEO of Gates Creative, a creative agency agrees. “It’s time to step back.”  She suggests that social is a better idea than push marketing, and your best way to stay engaged.

Be where your customers are in a gentle supportive way. Be genuine.

Inspire

Piccioli, the Italian creative director of Valentino, posted recently on Instagram. There is an image of him at home in Nettuno, Italy, surrounded by his sketch materials. His personal caption reads:
“Home. This country has overcome the toughest moments with pride, creativity, and optimism. And so it will, once again. There is a time for moving and a time for staying still.  Even at home, our imagination can lead us anywhere. Such a serious situation will not stop us from dreaming. Our will is strong, our duty is to resist and we will keep on dreaming, harder than ever and we will rise stronger than ever.”

I think he handles it beautifully. Did you notice he doesn’t mention fashion?. He doesn’t mention his company or even the coronavirus by name. He doesn’t say what anyone should do during a time none of us really knows how to deal with. 

His message has been liked many thousands more times than his typical posts. Those tend to be focused on Valentino’s designs and events.

Look for how you can boost others through inspiration.

Educate, inform and entertain

Sometimes just helping people feel good is a big boost for them.  It might be information on how to use your product to feel better. It might be a story from one of your clients that could inspire.

It could equally be helpful to give them a tip for self-care they can do at home, with things they may have on hand.

It is a time to give, help and support…not push a big sale.

My hair salon recently sent an email update. Of course, they are closed and no one knows when they will open.

Instead, they acknowledged that hair keeps growing and to help their customers they are putting up a how-to video to get people through the crisis. Helpful ways to avoid the dreaded “baby-bangs.”

My tip for anyone who offers services? Look how can you help, support and nurture.

Let people know you are here if they need you or have questions – virtually. And that once this is passed you’ll still be here for them and their business in 2020 and beyond.

If we focus on how we want to be remembered when the world starts to return to normal, we’ll be on the right track.

CBD Case Studies – Marketing Magic

Follow these 5 keys to maximizing results …

We are all made of stories. Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

CBD case studies or success stories can be pure marketing magic. But, like any other copy, they need to be done correctly if you want results for your investment. Keep these five keys in mind to maximize their impact. 

Our brains are hardwired to love stories.  It’s how cultural history and lore was passed down from generation to generation for millennia before the written word. Stories are still the most powerful way to catch attention, engage and inform.

Stories “infotain” us.

When I was a teen the library was my favorite place when school was out for the summer. Every other week my sister and I would walk to the local library, return the last batch of books and select new ones. She might get one or two…

Not me. They all called “read me, read me.” I could never get out of the place without a load so heavy my arms ached by the time I got home. 

Books were my passion and my escape from what I saw as a rather dull life. As soon as I got home, I’d grab the top book and head for the big wicker chair on the patio. Their titles lured me. Stories unfolded. No longer was I in my boring suburban back yard…

I was in faraway places…the other side of the US way back in history. Europe, China, Mexico, and all points in between. I reveled in history, people and exotic landscapes. I learned about artists, builders, and native peoples. Irving Stone, Michener, Pearl Buck, Shin, Haley, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Michael, and Kathleen Geer and of course… Tolkien.

Books were an escape…but they also taught me a lot.  I didn’t think about what I was learning, but I was absorbing the uniqueness of people, cultures and their homelands. Many were biographic or historical fiction.

They were real, living and drew me in. They weren’t written to sell travel…but they sold me on it.

1. CBD Case studies are expanded testimonials…

When we employ case stories, we create a way to engage and help prospective customers.  Think of them as expanded testimonials using the vehicle of the story. More entertaining than just a testimonial and far more powerful. 

We aren’t making any claims, only sharing what happened to someone else. We share the customer’s problem and how we helped them find a solution. 

2. CBD success stories are information based

Case studies combine the power of storytelling with the ability to share information that is relevant to CBD.  More importantly, specific to the product…the solution that you offer.

Your readers get to connect with a person who experienced the same problem they are coping with.  It’s. They read about someone that would understand their own feelings.

Every little success the person in the story experiences gives them hope.  It also gives them a glimpse of possibilities.  Sleep better. Be able to keep up with the grandkids better.  Cope with everyday stresses that threaten to overwhelm.

That person’s success gives them hope and a glimpse of possibilities. Success and hope in a story.

3. Case studies are multi-use marketing tools…

You can use your case studies on your business website.  But they are equally good as articles to submit to a local or regional magazine.

Don’t overlook online sites that are very niche specific.  There people who share a problem share ideas and information.  Get the right match and your case study is a natural additive.

They can also be used to build your reputation.  Reputation takes lots of quality content. Use social media to share your stories in the form of articles, posts, infographics or videos.

Package them correctly and they are perfect information to share with potential customers.  Success stories could be included in an email funnel with the suggestion of trying it for themselves. 

They could be mailed out or featured in regular newsletters.

4. For maximum success… follow the pattern

  • Title

A story starts with a great catchy title.  Like a headline or subject line, it needs to be kept short and intriguing.  It gives a hint of what is to come but doesn’t blurt it out.

  • Summary 

I like to think of this as sort of a promise. A hint at the before and after. Here’s “Joe” with a problem but three months later he went back to work, full-time.  Whatever his story is.

  • Solution

Talk about the process.  What did he do/how did he use the solution.  This is a really confusing area for CBD so how they incorporated it to change their life can be very useful to the reader.

  • Focus on the results.

Share a snapshot of their life before and after.  How are they better off?  Be sure to include a call-to-action…something that relates the solution to the next step you want the reader to take.

5. Select the right client CBD case studies

For a CBD case study to be a real success story, you must match the right client experience with your ideal target market.  It is critical there is a connection between the reader’s problem, passion, concern and that of the person who your story is about.

You are creating content that will help not just current prospects, but future customers.  Case studies are “evergreen” meaning they don’t shed their value, or leaves, in the fall. Rather they are lovely and useful year-round.

The right story can be used in multiple ways to help build and maintain your reputation.  Again, it needs to be someone the reader can instantly connect with. That might be by shared personal concerns. 

Some companies have created fabulous success stories featuring the changes someone in the media, an influencer who used their product experience.  Sometimes this person even becomes a paid spokesperson for the company.

Do take into consideration how they will be perceived.  Are they someone who fell in love with what your product did for them? Or are they someone on your payroll.  Two very different things.

Working with the client…

Whoever you chose to feature, work with them.  These stories can be sometimes tricky to write and it can be well worth the investment to have a professional do this for you.  Make sure they are well versed in writing for our niche and what can and can’t be said. And that they understand the art of a case study.

Let the featured client review the draft. Get their endorsement on it.  Support the work with good images to help tell the story. And let them know how much both you and your readers appreciate their sharing.

When I work with clients we look for the best stories they hear from clients. They connect me with their favorite stories that best match our goals.  I reach out to the clients and interview them. We create their compelling, informative, story and share their journey.  Before, process, after.

Once done share that CBD case study

When the article is completed and approved, we post it in all the right places to maximize their results. Pair up the social media venues that match our target clients. Words, articles, posts, memes, graphics and even video snips.

I help them with the best social media practices and strategize multiple ways to make the best use of our creations.

If you need help developing strategies to share success stories from people using your product and craft these stories in a simple “infotainment” manner…message me.

judith@jculpcreativecopy.com

For more information on the power and importance of educating your clients and prospects, read this: https://www.jculpcreativecopy.com/2020/01/21/cbd-education-sales/

Trust…3 ways to build it

Never underestimate the power of trust. Photo by Sam Rios on Unsplash

In the wild, wild, west of CBD marketing, many consumers have come up frustrated and disillusioned. They ordered a product hopeful it would help them only to have it backfire. Their trust was broken.

One such young lady reached out to me. 

Caitlin had ordered a CBD infused cleanser and lotion. It had all the latest ingredients and maybe it could get her blemish-free for homecoming. 

“I was so excited,” she sobbed. “I really wanted Jack to see how pretty I was.  But in a week I thought I noticed more pimples. I’d heard that sometimes happens so I kept using it. 

“Now look at me, my face is a mess. It’s awful.” Tears rolled down her cheeks.

I got her sat down and we talked. “Did you bring the products with you so I could see them?”

Catlin nodded digging into her backpack and pulling out the offending products.

A quick scan of the ingredient lists revealed full-spectrum CBD and some antioxidants…but it was in a base of coconut oil. 

Darn. 

Coconut oil is a wildly popular tropical oil. It can also be very comedogenic causing breakouts to those sensitive to it. Clearly, Caitlin was.

Think Caitlin will ever buy from that company again?  I doubt it. Do I think she’ll tell her friends? I’m sure of it. Two of them were sitting out in the reception area waiting for her.

Her trust in that brand was gone. Along with it went her trust or hopes that CBD would help her.

If prospective clients feel nervous they won’t buy.  When they are apprehensive or afraid they don’t move forward. If they don’t trust you or your product ingredients, you lose the sale.

It’s entirely different from the way I felt the very first time my online-pal who had evolved into much more, put his arms around me.  Warmth, glowing certainty. I had finally found my soul mate.

When we are marketing CBD we are introducing people to something new. Something they may have heard about but never experienced. 

In order for them to step across the line and place an order, we have to help them get to know us and to like us.

Only then, will they feel safe enough to press the “buy” button.

In e-commerce, it’s rather like online dating.  Hard to get their attention, hard to build trust to get the sale…and we must not disappoint when the package arrives.  We need them to feel like I did when I met that guy of mine in person.

How do we do that?

If we want to connect with them, we have to help them feel we are safe to interact with and do business with. 

They have to feel we have something they need. They have to feel we will stand behind our words, our promises and have their best interests at heart.

We have milliseconds to make this happen.

1. Be like them to build trust

Share your story. People don’t really buy from websites.  They buy from the person behind the products sold there. 

It’s easiest to connect with someone who is like us. So look for something that will connect you with your prospects.

To do this you really have to dig and get to know your prospects. Not just anyone 27-75 with an ouch or problems sleeping.  What about them makes them like you? 

You will always reach a broader scope than you designate. But it’s much easier to focus on a specific persona, a specific segment that most closely matches some connection you can make with them.

2. Trust comes from being a safe haven

You want to stand out as a safe haven for your prospects.  In every way you interact with them, you need to first… make all messages match.  Congruity of style and content is crucial to creating that feeling of safety with you. 

Make your business easy to find.  If prospects can’t find your web page… how can they buy?

Make it easy for them to communicate with you.  Nothing puts people off quicker than a website, social media post or email that doesn’t let them contact you EASILY! 

Put contact information out there so they see you are a “real” company.  It’s amazing how many companies don’t offer a phone number or even a general location. 

Always put yourself in your prospect’s position.  

They are on your email list – they have taken the first step and shared that private information with you.

You send them an email on a Thursday evening with a great offer that runs for 48 hours only. Urgency and a great deal.

They want to take advantage of the offer, but the code in the email doesn’t work. They hunt and finally find a phone number. The offices close at 3 PM CST and the client happens to be PST. That means there is no one to answer their questions on weekends or even normal Friday business hours in your prospect’s time zone. 

I had this happen.  I went ahead and placed the order and messaged them.  I never got a contact back nor any offer of helping me out.  They probably won’t get a second chance because my trust factor plummeted.

3. Educate and inform to add trust

Educate them about your product and how it can help them. “Infotainment,” is easy to read, friendly, informal, but backed up with good solid proof so they feel validated in a buying decision. 

Introduce your team and let them build confidence in your brand. People really want to connect with people. They want to know who is there to take care of them.

Share success stories and real customer testimonials.  People believe what other people share far more than anything you say.

Offer viewers something in a way they see real value for taking their time to consider it.

The more you educate and share value, the more they build trust with you. The more they trust you, the more they will open up and want to buy.

Small successes can lead to validation.  Validation leads to more purchases.  That’s customer lifetime value.  It’s far less expensive to take care of a customer than to keep finding new ones.

4. Be consistent everywhere they find you

Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, your website, sales letters, blogs, articles, or email…They should all project the same tone and feeling. Focus on trustworthiness.

Think of it this way.  You meet a nice guy and enjoyed time with them over coffee. Just your type. You both love to hike and go to concerts. But he also knew how to clean up and look good in the fitted black crew-neck shirt and jeans. Just the right blend of muscle and clean-cut.

By the end of the coffee, you found yourself accepting his invitation to the local football game Saturday afternoon.

Waiting near the ticket gate, your heart lurches into your throat when you see a guy swaggering toward you. There’s a broad smile on his black and yellow wildly painted face. A huge clown yellow wig hides his dark precision-cut hair. The team shirt has been slashed to new standards of keeping cool…and those raggy jeans barely cling to his butt.

It just wasn’t possible. Couldn’t be. Warning bells echo like Big Ben and you start glancing about for a way to escape.

Trust is equally important to our customers.

It’s the same thing in our relationships with customers and prospects.  We need to present consistency to build our credibility with them in order to help them know like and above all trust us.

Customers need to feel we aren’t going to change from Jekyll to Hyde. They need to feel when they come back again they will get valued customer care.

When I work with clients, I always keep Disney in mind. 

Disney has built know, like and trust factors into every conceivable connection. Every person, every contact sends the same message, friendly, warm, inviting, genuine. You know them, like them and trust them to deliver.

Every new touchpoint we create with the prospects needs to carry on the same feeling. I help clients build the aspects of “know, like and trust my message”. Something that says, “I can help you and I will stand behind what I say.”

How good are the trust factors you put out there?

Not sure how you stand?  Message me and we can take a quick look and evaluate. If necessary, tweak your messages to enhance your trust factors.

Planning CBD Marketing? 3 Techniques for $$$

Planning CBD Marketing Strategies Avoids FDA Pitfalls Photo by Kimzy Nanney on Unsplash

While marketing CBD is fraught with restrictions, there are some methods to get the word out there effectively.  Success requires careful planning for your CBD marketing. Following these three proven techniques will get you on the path.

Before I share these techniques, I want to share a quick story about someone I know. The man is an amazing researcher and if tested it would probably be revealed he is a genius. Smart, kind, gentle and loved to read quantum physics while he waited for his wife to get ready to go out to dinner.

While studying for his medical degree he was doing research trying to identify some microorganisms.  When he looked through the magnifying glass, he spotted something he hadn’t seen before. Science and logic clicked. It was cancer.  It was different from what they had been studying. If he could share this finding, lives could be saved.

In his youthful excitement and exuberance, he dashed from the laboratory with his notes in hand.  He didn’t go to his instructor, nor the department head.  My friend went straight to the dean.

There he managed to wangle his way in and excitedly tried to tell the dean what he had discovered.

He was met with a stern, fixed gaze. “Stop!  Don’t say a word more!” 

My friend had broken the rules. Bypassed the chain of command.

“But, sir.” He pleaded. A finger firmly directed him out of the room.

Planning CBD marketing strategy

It’s crucial to know your brand and how you can differentiate it in a sea of CBD options.  The same could be said for a soda or a bottle of wine.  They are all alike but different. So you need to find something special about your brand.   It’s always there…but it may require stepping outside the box to find it.

I recently saw a commercial for an accounting firm.  One of the key players is a member of the family-owned business that has been around for years. So the marketer suggested, “she’s a CPA with XYZ in her DNA.”  It’s a clever way to build trust, distinction, and credibility in just a few words.

That’s what you want to find for your business.

Every business wants to attract new customers. It’s just as important to have a plan in place to keep them coming back. It’s far less expensive to retain a customer than acquire a new one.

It’s also critical to be up-to-date on your marketing options paid and free.

Paid advertising

This is the toughest area to market CBD.  Every option has its own set of restrictions.

Facebook will not accept CBD from cannabis paid advertising.  However, they are considering hemp-derived CBD.

Google ad words also do not accept cannabis-based products nor will it accept hemp products. Currently, they are doing a limited hemp-based trial but no results have been released.  

Twitter allows no paid ads accepted for any form of CBD.

Instagram, like Twitter, allows no paid ads accepted for CBD, but there are fewer penalties being issued.

Pay-per-click or other social media advertising can be extremely expensive.  It’s easy to pour hundreds or thousands of dollars into just one media…quickly.  Sometimes a more organic approach works better.

Planning CBD marketing options that do work

These options also require an investment. But they require less tweaking and maintenance than paid advertising.  They can also be a safer path. In many cases  they are equally effective to build your brand.

SEO works

SEO  has been proven to work using keyword optimization. These show up in your meta tags and in your content.  It takes a bit of work to come up with the best keywords to use.  Avoid FDA trigger words that tout CBD as a miracle cure-all or disease fighter. Those will just get you into trouble you don’t need.

Take the high road and be a thought leader.  Someone who can be trusted. Honesty, integrity, transparency.

But your SEO can’t do the work by itself.  It needs quality content.  It is dependent on it.

Content

This is a huge area that does work and generally the best place to start.  Generate quality content that you can optimize. Share educational content that explains CBD, what it is.  Share who uses it and why.

Know your target market and make sure the content will resonate with them. 

Add lots of value via information, free guides, stories of use. Tell readers what is currently being researched and studies being conducted. Talk about chemical structure and future potentials. 

Don’t forget to share your certifications, awards and other recognitions.

Avoid making medical claims or assumptions.  The beauty industry has coped with the same requirements for decades. And they too are coming under closer FDA scrutiny.  It all comes down to word choices. 

Is Informational content really important?

I saw a recent article that talked about Eughan Henn, from Search VIU, who was working with an e-commerce site with over 60,000 product pages.   They had 25 informational pages that they decided were a waste of money because those pages only directly resulted in a small percentage of sales. So they pulled the informational content. 

Big mistake!  They lost one-third of their visibility and sales plummeted. It didn’t seem possible because percentage-wise, they were just a few pages. 

In the interest of scientific research, they decided to re-add the pulled pages.  Within three weeks their visibility and sales completely rebounded.

Those informational, how-to, guides and blogs may seem expensive initially. 

Think of them as a sales and brand investment. They demonstrate your expertise, authority and build trust. For them to be the most effective they are dependent on a clear target customer profile.  They require a deep-dive into keyword research.

Once the content is created share it….share it…Share it!

Use bits of content to create posts for social media that link back to your website, driving traffic. Sharing informational posts that lure prospects back to your website avoids many of the paid advertising pitfalls. You are focused on education, information, news, guides…not directly pushing product.

You are building the know, like, and trust factors that make people comfortable buying from you.

Email

In a recent report, 59% of B2B companies and 80% of retail companies said that email was their most effective marketing method. 

It can be one of your safest marketing methods with a high return.  To get the most traction, generate a quality “bait-piece”, an informational piece that is useful and valuable. Use this as a reward for someone sharing their email address with you. 

Sometimes companies use a discount as a lure. That can work and it’s probably less expensive upfront. But you are teaching prospects to wait for a sale. Sale discounts come right off the top of your bottom line.  Discount rewards also require regular updating.  Your informational piece can work for longer with much less attention.

Once you have just ten people on your list…start staying in touch with them. 

Rewards, points, newsletters, you have lots of options.  In my experience newsletters need to be at least monthly.  Focus on sharing valuable, useful information. Then add your link and call-to-action.

You still have to follow the rules and avoid health or miracle claims, so be aware of your word choices.

You can also ramp up your email ROI by targeting specific subsets of your customer list.  The best way is to make interest-based groups and target the content to those specific interests. Wellness, fitness, coping with stress are some examples.

Sales funnels

Many companies have found a series of automated emails that go out to a new subscriber keeps them interested and promotes sales. 

The series can be a minimum of 3-5 emails that go out over a week or two. Then they might drop down to a bi-weekly post or a monthly newsletter.

Automated email funnels can be 15-20 or more that go out over a longer period of time. Scheduling and timing require consideration and planning.

Tailoring your emails and email series to your target client is the key.

Support your CBD marketing strategy efforts

Once you have the Content, SEO and Email efforts planned out and created then support them.  This is where trade shows, affiliates, and influencers can come into play. 

When I work with clients we evaluate where they are.  Then make a plan to help them achieve their marketing goals.  For many CBD companies that means sharing information in a way that doesn’t bring the FDA down on them, at the same time helping them grow sales. 

And my friend the research doctor?

Because he didn’t follow the guidelines and broke the rules, no one would pay any attention to what he tried to share.  Not his instructor, not the head of the department.  His discovery was halted by his hasty decision.  It was more than twenty years before the form of cancer he had found was re-discovered by someone else.

And yes…it could have saved lives.

Like this doctor, we have to follow the rules, the guidelines if we want to get the message out there in order to help others. It takes careful planning of CBD marketing to avoid the pitfalls and grow your business.

TERMS

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