As promised, here is Part Two of how to use your brand voice in your marketing. Click here for Part One if you missed it.
How to Use Your Voice In Your Brochures
Often, business owners do the same thing with their brochures as they do with their website. They only highlight themselves.
Too many companies use their brochure as a bragging arena. “We’re The #1 Resource…,” “We’ve Been In Business For 30 Years…,” “Family Owned For 50 years.”
However, you don’t just start singing out in public without context. Although the “flash mobs” of random orchestra players in a crowded mall may generate excitement, that’s not how it works with prospective clients.
You need to first get permission to sing. This means you must connect with your reader. And who does your reader really care about? You win the prize if you said, “they really only care about themselves.”
Using the same principle as websites, including headlines on your brochures will let your prospect know you care about them. Your brochures need to first identify your reader’s interests to build trust. Only after doing those things can you present your solutions with the expectation of being heard.
There are many copywriting formulas, but one of the most popular (and effective) is the PAS method. It stands for Problem, Agitate, and Solve.
First identify a problem your prospect has. It could be a fear of overpaying in taxes. Or the frustration and difficulty involved with trying to figure out the new tax code.
After identifying the problem, you then agitate the problem by painting a noticeably clear picture of it and how it affects your prospect. For instance, a great headline is often a question, such as “Do You Dread Facing Those Complicated Tax Forms Yet Again… And Spending Your Entire Weekend Stressed Out?”
Listen, getting attention from your prospect is getting harder and harder every day.
There are a ton of marketing messages he’s receiving. There are hundreds of emails in his inbox, all vying for just a mere minute of his precious time.
That is why you must start taking your copy seriously. Both online and offline. Your brochures essentially have to grab your prospect from the collar, shake him hard and say, “Slow down! I know why you’re having a hard time sleeping at night!”
Once you discover the real reason for your prospect’s frustrations, fears, anger, envy, sadness, shame—and their desires which are greed, revenge, happiness, health, love, passion, relaxation, freedom—then you can finally solve it. You position your services in the right light and sing “on key.”
How to Use Your Voice In Your Ads
Ads still work. But the type of ads you run will make all the difference between them working “okay” versus really ringing your bell.
The problem with many ads (and the same can be said with online sites and brochures), is businesses will place too much emphasis on featuring an image. The image will often take up a lot of space. And that’s valuable real estate—especially with an ad.
Again, remember an ad should focus on the prospective client. Not you or your business name, how many years you’ve been in business, awards you’ve won, etc. This means a photo of you should not be taking up half, 1/3 or even ¼ of the ad space. You need to stop muddying the water and diluting the purpose of running your ad.
The purpose of running your ad—and the ONLY reason you place an ad—is to get a prospect to contact you. You have your phone number prominently displayed, a website, address, and email address.
You need to have a strong USP (Unique Selling Proposition) in your ad. Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. She is likely asking this question: “Why should I do business with you rather than my brother-in-law’s friend, business associate, or the chain provider down the street?”
A strong USP is like Domino Pizza’s “Delivered in 30 Minutes… Or It’s Free!”
What is yours? Do you have a guarantee regarding tax returns? A promise to get the lowest rate for a media spend? A free “money map” that shows them five hidden areas that could help them save money for their retirement?
The best way to generate leads with your ad is to offer your prospects something they want and make it easy and non-threatening for them to get it. Use your brand voice to communicate this message, but make sure you’re delivering the type of message that will be heard—one focused exclusively on your prospect’s interests and needs.
How to Use Your Voice in Your Emails
I have a saying: “Bored gets ignored.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received flat-out boring emails.
The subject lines are dull. The content isn’t customized to who I am or worse, doesn’t address my needs or interest. For the most part, many businesses just “phone it in” because sending email is so easy and inexpensive. Don’t be like them.
Instead, you have an opportunity with email to truly stand apart from what everyone else is doing. Use your unique voice to communicate your services in a fun, interesting way.
Yes, I said “fun.” And yes, you can include fun observations or views within an email that’s about financial information. In fact, you can even show you take satisfaction in crushing the assumption “advisors are boring” (you know they’re not, but it’s a stereotype you can address with your marketing).
The most important thing to remember about email marketing is understanding the importance of your subject line.
Your email subject line acts as the headline. It needs to persuade your reader to open the email and read the message. However, if the subject line is boring or doesn’t bring with it a sense of urgency, it will often be deleted without a thought.
Once your email is opened, you must also immediately grab attention with your first sentence. We’ll discuss more details about emails in the next chapter, but realize your prospective reader has dozens if not hundreds of emails she tries to process each day.
If your email isn’t clear or doesn’t get to the point quickly, guess what? It gets deleted quickly.
Therefore, you really can’t lose when it comes to using your brand voice in your emails. It’s also why it’s so important and will set you apart from everyone else.
Once, I read the “About Page” of an accountant who has been in business for 40 years. He has a personal note on his page, and it opens with this, “I hope you forgive me for being blunt…”
What a great introductory sentence! He does several things with this statement: 1) It takes on the stereotype of the accountant and slaps it around a little. 2) It’s refreshing to hear someone be blunt because you know some honest truth-telling usually will follow. 3) And perhaps more importantly… it makes you CURIOUS. You want to know what he’s going to be “blunt” about! What is he going to share that will help you?
All of those wrap up curiosity and self-interest with just a few short words, which is one of the most powerful types of headlines and introductory sentences you can write.
When you create your copy—whether it’s web copy, brochure copy, email copy, any marketing copy—you must remember the reader is ONLY interested in themselves and what will benefit them. This is why it’s advantageous to use some creativity with your copy but at the same time, keep your focus on the other person.
How many emails do you get that don’t even bring up a good point or raise an issue that urgently needs to be solved? I belong to a Facebook private marketing group and one time a web designer asked for feedback regarding his web page copy.
I gave him an idea he might not have thought about before. His current page focused on getting a website up and running for a low price. However, I told him I work with a lot of small business owners. And do you know what their real problem is?
Web designers who take too long to develop the site or worse, take the money and then completely disappear on them.
I’ve heard more “horror stories” about web designers than almost any other type of creative service provider. So, I told him he should emphasize on his website he was trustworthy and had a system or process that would notify a client where the project stood with a timeline.
I also suggested he gave a guarantee regarding how quickly he responded to client communication. All of this will help build trust.
How does this relate to emails? Simple. It helps you discover your prospect’s real problem. It’s often not quite what you think it might be. Then write emails that will address those problems in a compelling way.
If your brand archetype is the Magician, then write emails which address these problems with inspiring solutions. Include quotes from motivational leaders. Don’t be afraid to use your imagination within the email message.
If your brand archetype is the Hero, then you want to save the world. Use inspiration to help move a person toward making the world a better place. You can use this by promoting a message which explains how saving money can help a person give more to those around them—their families, their communities, or their places of worship.
Email is cheap to send but avoid thinking it doesn’t take some planning and effort. Once you get the hang of “singing in your voice,” your clients and prospects will welcome your emails and even interact with you because of them. And isn’t that the point?
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.