In a blog post not long ago, I mentioned a conversation with someone who felt that the act of marketing their service was unethical. My comment to them was that if they really can help people with a problem, then not marketing themself is the unethical thing.
If you have a solution to someone’s problem, remind them of the pain and be expected to make it go away.
When I say inflict or remind them of the pain, I don’t mean that you should be cruel, mean, inappropriate, and rude or that you should hurt someone. None of those things are needed, but the pain is critical.
Pain means a lot of things. Let me give you an example.
If you sell hearing aids, you might write one of these things in an ad’s headline:
“Our hearing aid allows you to hear the TV at a normal volume.”
“We are the leading seller of hearing aids in the Flathead, for a reason.”
“Our professional staff is trained to give you the perfect fit for your hearing aid.”
Not one of these inflicts pain even though the last one is a horrible headline.
When I say “inflict pain”, I mean that your marketing needs to be able to motivate me to drag my sorry keister (apologies to Archie Bunker) off the couch on a frigid winter Saturday afternoon, scrape an inch of ice off the windshield, drive down to Mike’s in Columbia Falls and spend $128.57 to fill my gas tank as a 40 mph wind blows out of the canyon and up my pant legs, and then carefully crawl into Kalispell over black-ice-covered roads at 41 mph, all so I can give you my money … and do so gladly, just so you will make my pain go away.
Maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but that’s what you’re up against ¬– at least in the winter.
So what’s the pain really about? In the case of the hearing aid store, think about the specific client you serve and the situations that make them need the hearing aid that they surely don’t want to get.
Maybe it’s an out-of-work, 47-year expert welder’s hearing loss caused by factory job conditions, or a 35-year-old attorney who cranked up Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog” just a few too many times in her youth, or the 61-year-old whose hearing is fading naturally as he ages.
The specifics of the client’s situation are critical to your marketing because one ad simply cannot speak to all three people and make them think, “That’s me and I’m so tired of the problem that I’m going to fix this today.”
With that in mind, compare these headlines to the previous list:
“Job-related hearing loss? Joe’s industrial-grade hearing aids help you get your job back, safely!”
“Ever lost a case because you missed a critical spoken detail during the trial? I did, and it almost cost me my practice. Do what I did – call Joe’s Hearing Center NOW!”
“My new hearing aid seemed expensive, until my only grandson looked up at me, smiled and said ‘grandpa’ for the very first time…”
Each of these reminds the potential client about their pain. We don’t insult the prospect; we simply remind them of what is already on their mind and then put a solution in front of them.
A tire company used to do a great job of this. Remember the ads where the baby is sitting in the tire? “Everything is riding on your tires,” the ads said. Spending $150 per tire seems nuts when you think of the cost of a circular piece of rubber and some steel belts. Spending $150 per tire to keep your baby safe seems much less questionable.
Henry David Thoreau wrote that, “men lead lives of quiet desperation.” People take drugs, avoid family members and work at jobs they hate – all to avoid pain and despair. Much of this pain is private. Only they know of it. Your job is to figure out what causes that pain in the lives of your clientele and repeatedly remind them of it – assuming you have a solution to provide them.
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