After you’ve identified your voice, it’s time to let the world know about it! You want your voice to sing beautifully in everything you create to promote your business. Your website, printed marketing assets, media ads, and emails.
But first, before we tackle all those different ways to “sing,” I’ll briefly address a common obstacle that prevents people from doing what I’m going to tell you to do.
I call it a case of “What-If-itis.”
“What if my family sees this and jokes about it, doubting it will make a difference?”
“What if my competitor sees this and laughs, certain I’ve gone off my rocker?”
“What if I do this and end up turning off what could be one of the most lucrative clients I’ve ever had?”
Every person who has a creative bone in their body will understand this. It’s called performance anxiety. It’s the feeling actors, singers, dancers, and professional speakers get just before they step out on their platform.
They wonder if they’re going to flop. They wonder if they’ll remember all their lines. And they’re worried they just may not be good enough. You’re good enough. Even brilliant.
Throughout my life, I’ve not met many people who are “good with numbers.” Most people are intimidated by numbers, let alone figuring out financial information. If you’re able to wade through a stack of seemingly endless columns of numbers—and can give solid advice to someone about how they can save more money—then you’re already a hero in my book (and a lot of other people’s books).
R-E-S-P-E-C-T… Find Out What It Means To Me
Many service professionals—CPAs, financial advisors, insurance agents, bookkeepers, and more—often don’t receive the amount of respect they deserve. Other professional services such as doctors and lawyers usually don’t face a high amount of resistance when it comes to their fees. But other professional service providers are questioned all the time about theirs, as though they’re gouging the client.
Therefore, you need to develop your own brand voice and promote it strongly. It is the key to differentiating your services from those who offer the same thing AND it will help prevent the “push-back” you receive for your fees.
Why does it work that way? I’ll use Apple again as an example. It is debatable Apple computers are “the best.” Their fans will make the claim (as will Apple) but many computer tech experts point to other products which are just as good or even better at a fraction of Apple’s price.
The reason why Apple sells their products at a higher price is because they justified it with their marketing. It’s really that simple.
Think about it. On January 22, 1984, during a break in the third quarter of the telecast of Super Bowl XVIII, a commercial appeared which made a huge splash. It was the now famous “1984” commercial by Apple, introducing their personal computer, the Apple Macintosh.
The commercial is a dystopian vision of a bleak future. The setting is an industrial complex, in drab, bluish tones, showing a line of people (all dressed the same, with shaved heads), marching in unison through a long tunnel toward an auditorium while a “Big Brother” image on a movie screen speaks to the audience:
Today, we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives. We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology—where each worker may bloom, secure from the pests purveying contradictory truths. Our Unification of Thoughts is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people, with one will, one resolve, one cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death, and we will bury them with their own confusion. We shall prevail!
A nameless runner wearing a bright uniform of red athletic shorts and a white tank top rushes into the auditorium, carrying a large hammer. She’s being chased by four police officers, who represent the “Thought Police.” Undeterred, she twirls around and throws the hammer at the screen, releasing it as Big Brother announces, “We shall prevail!”
As the screen explodes amid bright light and smoke, the people watching the screen are shocked and seem to awaken from their stupor.
The commercial concludes with the narrator saying, “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like ‘1984.’” The screen fades to black as the voiceover ends, and the rainbow Apple logo appears.
A few important points: Not once did an Apple computer appear in the commercial. There wasn’t anything said about the features and benefits of an Apple computer. No price was mentioned. And the ad was only shown once to a national audience. But the impact was enormous.
This ad positioned Apple to be a rebel, an alternative to IBM, a plucky underdog who sought to offer freedom from “groupthink.”
Do you see how all those messages, sung in a unique “voice” was enough to get Americans talking about owning something that wasn’t connected to IBM?
This is the power of voice. You can utilize it for your own practice. Let’s look at how to make it work.
How to Use Your Voice on Your Website
Business websites now serve as the “welcome center” for prospects and current clients. But it isn’t enough to simply welcome your website visitor. As Will Rogers said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
Your business website must be ready to attract the exact type of client you want. I’ll assume your website has a user-friendly design. But what about the website copy? One of the most common mistakes I see on a professional services website is a rather simple fix. There is either no headline on the page or a bland headline.
Let me use a familiar example for comparison: If you attend a lot of networking events, over the years, you likely have a pretty large collection of business cards. For many years, business cards served to help explain what a business did and some even included a few offers on the back of the card.
But once the Internet entered the scene, it was necessary to include the business’ website address. And it is what people often check when they want to learn more about you.
When you land on a webpage, one of the first things you do is look for a quick description of the website’s mission. Ask if it speaks to you. You’re tuning into the famous “WIIFM” Radio Station, which stands for: What’s In It For Me?
You’re asking the website: do you have a solution for my problem? Do you even know what my problem is and if so, how can you fix it?
Website visitors are busy. They don’t have time to try to figure out what your mission statement is or what exact solution you provide for a problem they’ve got. Accountants, financial advisors, EAs, and bookkeepers have it easier than other types of businesses because their service is straightforward.
Everyone must pay taxes. And almost everyone works. There are many tax return services out there. How can you compete with H&R Block or Jackson Hewitt?
What you don’t want to do is slap a cute or clever headline that really doesn’t describe well what you do. Also, don’t rely on cute photos (such as your dog or new baby) unless your target audience is veterinarians or pediatricians.
Using Your Voice to Write Great Headlines for Your Website
Your headline MUST have a benefit in it. It needs to speak to your target demographic, preferably with a solution to their problem.
What is the purpose of a good headline?
- It is the bridge between your market and your product.
- The headline does not sell: Its job is to flag down your reader/prospect.
The job of the headline is to get the reader to read the next sentence… and the purpose of the first sentence is to get them to read the next one… and on and on.
There are four important qualities a good headline will possess:
- Self-interest: An example would be “Lose 10 Pounds Before the New Year”Everyone would like to lose weight, so a headline like this would get attention.
- News: An example of this type of headline would have words like“Introducing,” “New!” or “Announcing.”
- Curiosity: A classic example of this headline: “How a Fool Stunt Made Me aSales Rock Star.” The headline appeals to the reader’s sense of curiosity. They wondered what this “fool stunt” was and continued to read on.
- A Quick, Easy Way: Everyone wants quick and easy. A good example of thistype of headline would be: “Give Me Five Days and I’ll Give You a Magnetic Personality” People respond well to quick and easy solutions.
One fail-safe way to make a good headline is to start it with “How To…” Starting your headline with “How To…” will force you to write copy that tells your reader how to do something, which is what your reader wants. People are interested in learning how to do things and with a “How To” headline, they’ll immediately be attracted to it.
Your brand needs to be reflected in your website copy—in the headlines, the body copy, and even the “calls to action”—where you ask the website visitor to make a decision (either to call your office and schedule a free appointment, fill out a form for a free guide, or sign up to attend a free webinar, etc.).
Once you capture attention with your headlines, then continue to “sing” by highlighting how your services will help your clients. Always remember to focus on your client’s needs first. Then you can explain later in your website copy how your firm can help them.
I’ll share Part Two next week.
Partially excerpts taken from the book, The Maverick Advisor: The New Rules of Marketing for Financial Advisors and Consultants – Get Great Clients, More Respect, and the Fees You Deserve, by Mary Rose Maguire.