The Buying Process – Writing Ads for your Audience

So, I’ve written quite a bit about the buying process lately. I think that’s mainly because marketers don’t always understand. For instance if you’re an affiliate marketer and you write an ad that says:

    Nikon 30D Camera
    Lowest Price on the Nikon 30D
    No registration required

Now, suppose you write that ad because you’ve become an affiliate of a camera website and the Nikon is a popular camera. Does it make any sense to send that person to a landing page with a title like:

    Nikon 30D vs the new Canon SLR

NO! It doesn’t. Do you know why? It doesn’t make sense because the person who clicks on your ad (based on what you wrote) is beyond comparing features in their buying process. They want to be taken to the page that shows the price and the “BUY NOW” button. Anything less than that and you’re wasting your money on ads.

And speaking of how you write your ads, make sure you spend some time testing what’s written. A poorly written ad won’t get you anywhere (well, maybe you’ll get a spot in this blog) :)

Here’s an example of a poorly written (from a non-native English speaker, most likely), and highly humorous ad – just for fun. I got it in my spam e-mail folder today:

Christmas, Happy!
Hey, what are you doing lately? I’d like to present to you a very good company that I knew.
Its home page company:
If you have any needs, please contact the company Email.
They can offer all kinds of electronic products that you need, such as motorcycles, laptops, mobile phones, digial cameras, , x box, ps3, GPS, MP3 / 4, etc. Please take time to look at that there must be something you’d like to purchase.
Hope you have a good state of mind in buying your company!

Please check out these posts on the Buying Process as well:


Internet Marketing: Do You Know the Steps of the Buying Process?

I recently read Todd Brown’s Article on “the Greatest Marketing Lesson”, which I thought useful, and it made me think about reiterating this important lesson to go along with it.

Todd actually wrote about a concept he learned from Eugene Schwartz regarding the “level of sophistication” your audience has achieved and how to tailor your marketing to that. When you’re finished reading this post, go read Todd’s.

Use Surveys to Take Action

It’s always in the back of our mind, “I should be surveying my audience”. We all think it and wish we were doing it. And then some of us actually do it (which makes the rest of us start thinking about it again).

But when have you seen the results of a survey? I’m not talking about the graph or chart that shows how many people picked A on Question 2. I’m talking about a change in direction. When have you seen someone take action because of the answers to a survey?

Most likely. . . never . . . or it was something tiny.

That’s because there aren’t too many people teaching surveys. So today, let’s do just that.

Getting Started

In an ideal world you could publish a 100 question survey that didn’t box people into choosing A, B or C. You could ask questions that open up entire realms you hadn’t considered. Then you could put together a team to analyze the answers, devise an action plan, implement it and track if it worked.

But we don’t live in an ideal world. It’s pretty hard to get people to fill out one survey, let alone answer 100 questions. And then to find the time to analyze 1,000 different answers. . . I could only dream of having that kind of fun with my audience.

Nope. Time and purpose are linked and thus we must be more deliberate with our time.

The Action Plan: Survey Questions

A smart survey has a point to it. That point is action. If you’re going to ‘bother’ your audience to garner information, make sure it is information you can take action upon.

To make sure you’re doing this, you need to spend time writing an action plan based on the replies you could get back. For instance if you ask “Are you a stay-at-home parent?”, then you need a plan that says

  • “If only 10% indicate they stay home, I will refocus my content this way”.
  • “If it is 50/50, I will change x, y, and z”.
  • “If the respondents are 75% stay-at-home, I will stop doing m, n and p”.

If you can’t think of a single change you would make or action you would take, then don’t ask that question. Maybe none of the demographic questions would alter your strategy – if that’s the case then skip them all.

You really want to narrow down the # of questions to as few as possible. Narrow, narrow, narrow the focus and your readers will feel they are more valuable to you and part of the solution.

And remember Google Analytics can tell you a lot about your site and how people navigate it. Don’t ask questions of your audience if you already have the answer somewhere else. Figure out the holes in your analytics – and ask those questions.

The Right Survey Software

It’s important to have a robust survey package. You need one that will allow you to branch out after each question. For instance if the first actionable question is the stay at home question, then you will want to ask the people who said “yes” different questions about the future of your blog content than the people who said “no”.

If you serve parents and you spend a good deal of time talking about child care options, separating the opinions of the stay-at-home parents from the employee parents will help you decide how to frame future content to improve reader engagement.

(Think about this, if I told you that the only people who have signed up on your email list are stay-at-home parents, and told you that conversely 75% of your readers are employee parents, what would you do?)

So make sure you use software that can ask separate questions depending on how you answered the previous one. By the way, I recommend SurveyMonkey – it does that.

The Survey Funnel

If one of your questions is “Do you own any of my ebooks?”, then the ensuing questions would be much different for the people who do than the people who don’t. Imagine 50 people saying “no” and 50 people saying “yes” and having the next question say “Was it helpful?”. (Now 50 people are annoyed)

Before you write the survey, build a funnel on paper and ask yourself at each step, “what would I do if learned this from my audience today?” And what do I want to know of the people who say yes vs no? Hold their hand as you walk them down a path learning what you need to learn to take action and improve your site.

It should really only take 4 or 5 questions to learn good, meaningful information. But first you must plan it out – along with the actions you will take depending on the answers.

What type of Questions

In a package like Survey Monkey, the multiple choice answers dictate which questions they answer next. So ask multiple choice questions, but always include a space to leave comments. You don’t want to box people in if they have something to say.

Once your survey has divided your audience into the groups you feel you can learn from, ask them a final essay question to really learn what action you need to take. In the photo (see above) you can see that there are a total of 20 questions, but no one has to answer more than 5 to get to the end.

Sometimes it is appropriate to ask everyone the same essay question at the end. Then you can compare the answers from one group to the next, which can really supercharge your action plan, can narrow your target market and can increase your income.

Finally, when they’ve answered the last question make sure you take them to a “thank you” page. You can use that page to give away your ebook, have them sign up for your newsletter or give them a link to an article that will make their day brighter. Don’t miss that opportunity to do something nice for them. They just finished doing something nice for you.

Dan R Morris

My Readers Don’t Want a Newsletter

In my recent article Don’t Write an E-book, there were some questions about the purpose of building a list. I believe a couple people actually said “my readers don’t want a newsletter, they already get my feed”.

In reading those I both understand the sentiment and where you might find success creating one.

List building is a critical element of an online business. Without the ability to contact your audience “at will” do you really have an audience? Or are you the kid with the lemonade stand on the side of the highway, just interacting with the traffic when it slows and rolls down the window?

I totally agree with the idea that there is no place or time for a “general newsletter” anymore. Especially for an active audience engaging with the feed and Facebook. Sure your grandma will read your newsletter, but most people will open it 45% of the time for the first two months then only open the seasonal ones.

Suppose you were to write a couple gluten free recipes and you get quite a few nice comments from that. That would be telling that you have an audience appreciative of gluten free recipes. Perhaps you could type those up and offer them as a “kitchen printable”. If you had them “opt-in” with their email to get this printable, you’d start to develop a “gluten free specific” list.

This would be a group that has a certain affinity to which you could learn more about. You could learn the phases of being Gluten Free. You could echo what sucks about being Gluten Free and what’s great. You could put together a pretty good email program, specific to that part of your audience, with recipes, books, blog posts, ideas, images, and more to serve them. Your entire audience might not be interested in that, but your Gluten Free fans would.

Let’s do a quick test, which of these do you open?

SUBJECT: January Newsletter

SUBJECT: 40% Off the Khaki Jeans you like

Parsing your list into affinity groups means every message is relevant. Every “newsletter” has meaning. Your open rates go up, your click through rates go up, your income goes up. If you want to learn more about List Building, Phil Hollows of Feedblitz wrote a great book on the topic. You can read more about that here: List Building for Bloggers.

Is it more work? It can be, but there are lots of ways to automate list building, parsing lists and email marketing to make it both easier for you and a better experience for your audience. If you would like to learn about the automation part, let me know in the comments and we’ll tackle that next.

Dan R Morris 

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Make Products Guaranteed to Sell


So there’s a great way to make your own products without worrying about whether they’re going to sell or not.  In fact you could say there is a 100% foolproof way to figure out what your audience will buy.

The first thing you need to know is that people don’t buy products – they buy labels, titles and headlines. In fact, most people don’t look through the Table of Contents on Amazon before they buy the book.

They base their purchase on referral and the title.

Build Your Marketing Funnel

Today’s note is short because I made a video that better describes what I’m hoping you’ll learn.  It’s hard to figure out what to do from one day to the next for your business. What can make that much easier is mapping out your overall business structure, which I show you in a short video here:

Internet and DR Marketing: Do You Know Your Audience’s Level of Sophistication?

Eugene Schwartz, the guy who revolutionized direct response marketing – the guy who didn’t get paid enough for his copywriting skills – the genius of marketing, broke down this very important lesson.

As I reference in my previous post about understanding the buying process of your audience, it is also important to understand their level of sophistication.

People buy belief not benefits: Just ask Martin Luther King Jr.

A friend of mine sent me a link to this video. I gotta tell you this might be the single best video I’ve seen on the human condition. Straight from TEDx these insights go directly to what makes a good leader. I can’t say better than what’s said here:

Consumer Buying Process – Flow

Does your site have flow? I’m not talking about the Shopping Cart. I mean do you understand the typical consumer buying process for your product or service? Do you get it, can you recite it, can you prove it?

Before we get to your website, let’s talk about something concrete that we both understand. Candy bars and BMW’s.

What is the process of buying a candy bar? How much research is done? How much risk does it involve? Does it require asking friends their opinion, checking for testimonials, reading the ingredients, calculating calories or searching for recall alerts? What does it really take to sell a candy bar to a consumer?

3 crazy ways to get customer feedback

Getting customer feedback is sometimes hard. People are busy, they forget, they don’t want to or they just don’t care enough to take the :30 seconds to do it. But it is oh so important to get customer feedback.

Customer feedback makes me think of index cards on a bulletin board, doesn’t it?  Or comment cards attached to the bill at a restaurant. Sometimes companies solicit feedback in an email survey. For the most part those don’t really give you the kind of information you need.  They’re great for graphs in the newsletter though, aren’t they?

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