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Why They Don’t Buy: The 4 Reasons Prospects Don’t Become Customers

November 3rd, 2021
empty brown theater chairs

I feel very fortunate to work with and around so many entrepreneurial people. I love ideas. And I love it when people try to realise theirs. But there’s one question I hear over and over again in one form or another and it’s this: “Why don’t people buy from me?”

In this post, I’m going to explore the 4 biggest reasons why people won’t buy from you and perhaps more importantly, what you should do about it.

They don’t really want it

I thought I’d start with this one because it is by far the most common reason. People don’t buy things they don’t want. Many a first-time entrepreneur has tried to sell their fairly niche product or service to friends and family that just aren’t that way inclined. This is painful to watch and painful to do.

For the longest time, I thought that if I said the right things, I could get anybody to buy more product. While I had no evidence at all of this, the belief persisted for many years. But the truth is, if they don’t really want it, they won’t buy it.

Sometimes, it’s not so obvious. There may be people who claim they want something because they like the idea of it. But when it comes down to making the commitment and paying the money and signing the contract, you start to see that they’re not really that into it.

This type of problem is internal to the customer. There isn’t much you can do about it. Once you establish that they don’t really want what you’re selling, the best thing you can do is stop marketing to them because you’re wasting precious time and resources in doing so.

They don’t believe in it

Sometimes people really do want something but they don’t believe it will work. They have reservations about the product itself and it’s ability to solve their problem.

To help prospects believe in your product or service, you need to sell it to them. Point out all the reasons why they will be better off with your product or service than they are without it. Point out why it will make their lives better.

If it’s some sort of product or service that may seem outrageous to some, you may need to educate your prospects on exactly how and why it works.

This is all marketing and branding. If you’re meeting customers online, it all starts with professional web design and copywriting.

They don’t believe in themselves

In this case, the potential customer doesn’t think the product or service will work for them. They have some sort of a problem seeing how their problem could ever be solved.

This comes down to low self esteem. And there are things you can do over time to build your prospects’ confidence in themselves.

This type of problem usually occurs with services and info products. Say, something like a personal training program. Motivational webinars and such will likely become a big part of your marketing. In order from prospects to buy your personal training program, they have to believe they can get the body they want.

They don’t think it’s worth it

They may want it and believe the product or service will solve their problem, but when it comes to the price, they don’t think it’s worth it. Which is another way of saying the problem they have isn’t big enough to them to warrant paying so much money to solve.

Blogging For Business: How We Do It

October 15th, 2021
person using laptop computer beside aloe vera

Blogging may be thought of as old-school now. In a world where it’s probably easier (for many people) to make a video than it is to write an article, I could forgive you for thinking that blogging is dead in 2021. If you thought that, though, you would in fact be wrong. And I can prove it.

While YouTube is undeniably a great way to speak to your market, blogging is still effective. Since starting Smart And Slick, we’ve aimed to post on the blog at least once every couple of days. In this article, I’m going to explain the strategy that has proved successful.

How Will The Reader Find The Article?

There are really only two major ways that a reader can find a blog article. They either search for something on Google and find it because it’s in the first 3 results, or they click a link from a social media platform. While there will be a minority of readers that find a blog article some other way, those two avenues account for more than 99% of readers.

So, I start with how I expect a particular article to be found. If I expect it to be found via Google, I need to optimise the article for a keyword phrase. And I pretty much title the article with the exact search phrase I’m aiming for. This gives it a good chance of ranking for that search term.

If I’m aiming to get clicks from social media, I need to fashion a title that creates intrigue and curiosity. I need to give social media users a reason to click my link. If I’m feeling really ambitious, I’ll try and do both.

Write An Article People Want To Read

I’m not content with just getting the reader on to the page. Yes, I already have some wins if I can do that. I already have them in my Facebook Pixel audience and I can, at a price, reconnect with them or at least try. However, I could achieve that with cheap and annoying click bait. I hold myself to a higher standard than that. (I wish everybody else did, too.)

I try to write an article that people will actually want to read. This again starts with research and finishes with writing prose that flows (and rhymes!)

But the bottom line is this: I need to give the reader what I promised in the article title. And I also need to solve whatever problem they’re having, or show them how to get some of the way there. (It depends what the problem is.)

Make It Look Pretty With A Picture

Google likes a page to have an image. Images also help in social media shares because it’s easier to attract attention with an image that it is with a headline. So you’ll want to add a picture. And to avoid any expensive legal proceedings, you’ll want to use royalty-free images from a site like Unsplash (other free image sites are available). Handily, if you’re blogging on WordPress, there’s a plugin called Instant Images that can add images directly from the Unsplash database into your WordPress media library.

Be Consistent

Finally, do the above steps regularly. At least once a week and maybe more often than that depending on your niche. Research (in 2021) shows that Google rewards websites that frequently add new content with high search engine rankings. So there are some very good reasons to blog.

And if writing isn’t your think and you don’t like the idea of having to write an article every week, get in touch. We’re happy to help.

How To Soft Sell With Social Media

August 26th, 2021
assorted-color social media signage

Social media is just another way of gaining visibility by getting attention. In this regard, it is no different from using PR to get featured in print media, radio or television, or from doing traditional advertising. It’s just another way of getting attention.

And, like PR, it is a very soft sell. If you post a link to your sales page every day or even every few days, you are very unlikely to sell anything unless there’s a limited time offer associated with it.

Social media is a way of making yourself and your business known to people who might need it at some point in the future. It’s also a way of adding some personality to your brand.

So, if you can’t post offers every day, what should you post instead?

Forget about selling products and services to your followers and focus on selling yourself or your business or brand. Remember, selling your product requires you to first sell yourself.

Focus on adding value to your followers’ lives. There are two very consistent ways of doing this: help them out for free, or make them laugh. Our feeds try to do a bit of both.

Help Your Followers Out

Post useful content that might help them with their struggle. And do it for free.

This may sound like a huge amount of work to not make direct sales from. If you’re not a natural writer, writing a 500-1000 word article every day, or even once a week may seem like a daunting task.

You could outsource this to a company like us. We’ll do it for you.

Or you can post content from other blogs and websites (although not competing brands).

The most important thing with social media is post consistently.

Make Them Laugh

Humour is powerful.

It is psychologically impossible for people to dislike you if you make them laugh. Internet humour can be weird, but in 2021, it has the advantage of being a multimedia art form.

Video clips, memes, and straight up written word are all ways of producing humorous content and making your followers laugh.

This might sound like even harder work than writing helpful articles. And yes, comedy is a skillset but incidentally one that we possess. We can create humorous content for you and post it to your feeds on a regular basis.

Engage Your Audience

Both of the above strategies are likely to help engage other social media users. When they comment on your posts or respond to your tweets, answer them – write back. This is what adds ‘humanness’ to the technology. This is what will make them trust you even more. Because behind your branding, there are real people.

Is Social Media Marketing Right For Your Business?

I would not recommend spending money on social media marketing if you’re not yet profitable. It’s a soft sell and can take a while for you to see any serious business growth as a result of it.

But if your business is already making money and a couple of hundred pounds a month doesn’t sound like a lot, it’s definitely something to consider.

How To Become Famous

August 25th, 2021
close-up photography of red and white Coca-Cola trailer

I think it’s important that we begin by defining what we mean by famous. Because, let’s be honest, nowadays there are levels.

So for the purposes of this article I’m going to define fame as ‘people knowing who you are and what you do’. Because that’s really what is valuable to a business. You want your market to think of you, or your business or brand when they have a problem that you can solve. Ideally, you want them to skip the part where they go and research solutions to their problem, and just think of you and come straight to you.

Additional fame – Kim Kardashian style – is not particularly useful outside of certain niches in the entertainment industry. But to be honest, the strategies are the same.

So, from this point forward, within this article, I’m going to stop talking about fame and instead refer to it as brand visibility. That way, it is less likely to conjure up images of red carpets and celebrity after-parties and we can focus on the real nuts and bolts of achieving the goal in question rather than getting sidetracked by shiny things.

Why Would Anybody Want To Be Famous?

The greatest benefit of fame is market positioning. It benefits a business, brand or individual to be famous when it means that the market knows what that person, business or brand does. The market could be just a particular industry, or it could be the people who live in a particular area, or it could be the entire general population of a country or even the world. Which will depend on the brand and product in question.

This applies to everything. Even professional entertainers. If I see that, for example, David Mitchell (my favourite comedian) is on a panel show (because I flicked onto Dave), I’m more likely to leave it on because I know what David Mitchell is like. I know that he fairly consistently makes me laugh. And I therefore know that I’m more likely to enjoy this particular episode of the panel show more than another episode where David Mitchell isn’t on the panel.

So yes, he’s a real person, but he’s also a brand name. And the words ‘David Mitchell’ make a promise to an audience about humour, and specifically a particular type of humour. Likewise, every musician and band has their own sound. If I’m aware of what they do – e.g. play alternative rock songs – I know whether their music is to my taste.

Being famous does not result in everybody loving you or your business. How can it? There are very few things that are universally loved. What it does result is in everybody having an opinion. And that’s how it should be. Because for everybody to have an opinion, it’s necessary for everybody to know what your business or brand does.

The negative consequence of this is that some people are not as well informed as others, and it may lead some people to have very strong opinions about a person, business or brand that are based on partial or incomplete facts. This is why it is often not as simple as just getting famous – once a brand is created, it must be maintained.

How We Create Fame

In a nutshell, advertising and marketing over a long period will result in ‘fame’, perhaps not nationally, but at least in your local area. Though, if you wanted to take your brand to a national level, the rules are the same.

Identify Markets

First, we identify the markets of a particular brand. Who will want this brand’s products or services? Where are these people? What media do they engage with? Where do they go? What do they spend their time doing?

Choosing The Right Channels For The Brand

We choose the right channels for the brand. Which media and marketing channels will be the most effective at successfully reaching them?

And there are many to choose from:

YouTube marketing, traditional publicity, event sponsorships, and on and on.

Creating Specific Marketing Messages

We are bombarded with information all day long, every single day of their lives. Because of this, we all have mind filters which basically stop a lot of the information at the door – it never gets a go at being processed by our conscious minds or understood.

One of the best ways to bypass this problem is to create very specific marketing messages that are potent, short and easily digestible: bits of information the mind can very easily understand. Information like this is more easily accepted by our minds because it doesn’t take work to understand and immediately makes sense.

The most important part of our campaign to make a business or brand famous is to come up with these messages. What do we want people to remember about our client’s business or brand?

Create Content

Now, we set about generating content for the various channels we’ve chosen. This is the most labour intensive part of the campaign. Depending on the client, the business or brand and the length of the campaign, we could conceivable spend weeks or months creating content.

Positioning Your Marketing Assets

Parallel to those efforts, we also make moves to position your marketing assets where they will be seen by people you can help or who might like your products or services.

We get your website to the top of Google, such that people whose problems you can help solve, will find you when they look.

Done properly, those people whose problems you can solve will suddenly feel like your business or brand is everywhere.

Want to make your business or brand famous?

Now that you can see how it works and the possibilities it opens up, if you’re interested making your business or brand famous, get in touch and let’s discuss it!

Websites vs Web Apps: What’s The Difference?

June 1st, 2021
person holding black and white ceramic mug

When clients come to us saying they need a website, quite often they’re actually talking about a web app. So we thought it would be a good idea to write a blog post explaining the differences between web apps and websites. So here we go.

What is a website?

In nerdy techy terms, a website doesn’t have much of a ‘backend’ beyond basic CRUD (create, read, update, delete) capabilities. What this means in plain English is that, from the user’s perspective, what we refer to as a website is basically static. User interactivity is at a minimum.

Brochure website

A brochure website is graphic design, text and images. When we build these websites, most of our time is spent creating beautiful and attractive designs. It’s all about look and feel. And then, if you have us write the copy as well, it’s about saying the right things. Because there’s nothing else after that.

Blog

A blog is in much the same category as a brochure website. The main difference between a brochure website and a blog is that a blog is updated far more regularly than a brochure website. Of course many brochure websites also have a blog section – it’s advisable to have one because otherwise a website can go without being updated for months or years which Google doesn’t really like.

While a blog does have a backend – somewhere the blog owner can do to write new posts and publish them – it’s only basic CRUD functionality and nothing more. So while it uses many of the same technologies as a web app, it’s so basic that it still falls into the category of website (by our definition).

All news outlets fall into this category.

What is a web app?

Web apps have a much more extensive backend. This means the website can ‘think’ and do things. So a shopping cart is a standard type of web app. While you may think an online store is simple because you use them a lot, there are actually a lot of steps that need to happen in order for you to order your new items.

E-commerce store

We have CRUD functionality here because the owner can add new products to their store, along with images and other marketing assets that are supposed to help them communicate to their customers and thus sell the products. But a shopping cart must also add up prices, check the items are currently in stock, reach an order total, connect to a payment gateway, put the order through to fulfilment and send any necessary emails to the customer to let them know what’s going on. That’s quite a lot! And it’s definitely a lot more than a static web page.

If you then want to start helping the e-commerce platform learn about individual customer buying habits, we start to introduce algorithms and it all goes another level up!

Hotel & Theatre Booking Websites

These websites need to do a lot of the same logistics that e-commerce stores need, while also applying dynamic pricing algorithms to available seats and properties. This would be a massive amount of work if it had to be done manually.

What Does A Website Cost?

Websites can cost from a few hundred to a few thousand pounds depending on the quality you’re looking for. At Smart & Slick, we are definitely not the cheapest for web design, but we believe that the service and quality of our work is well worth the price.

A brochure website can be created from scratch in 3-5 days normally.

What Does A Web App Cost?

Web apps vary widely in complexity and because of that, costs can be anything from a few hundred pounds up to tens of thousands of pounds depending on your requirements.

An e-commerce store can be created in a few weeks. Other, more bespoke web apps can take several months. This is a conversation.

WordPress Security Basics

May 28th, 2021
flat screen monitor

WordPress is one of the most widely used CMS’s available today and it is believed that 45% of the websites on the Internet are now, “proudly powered by WordPress“. We build LOTS of WordPress themes for all kinds of websites. It’s probably the most common type of project we work on. WordPress is very, very popular.

The downside of this popularity is that it becomes a massive target to hackers – and they regularly succeed because webmasters don’t always maintain good cyber security practises. In this article, I want to talk about how to keep your WordPress powered website secure.

Plugins You Need

One of the best things about WordPress is the plugin library that allows you to add additional functionality to the WordPress core. They have plugins for everything. And you should definitely use some of them to keep your WordPress website secure.

WordFence

WordFence is a very good security plugin. It will do things like check your install for injected code, compare plugins to the repository versions and much more to prevent any devious people trying to infiltrate your website. It’s well worth using.

Delete Unused Themes

Delete any themes you are not using. Even though this code is not in use by your website, theme code can still be used by hackers to get into your website.

Keep Your Username A Secret

This is not as easy as you think. Unfortunately, when you set up a WordPress blog, your author archive is located at a URL which contains your username. Because of this, even if you don’t go with the obvious ‘admin’ as your username, it’s pretty easy for anybody to see what your username is just by clicking the link to your author archive that usually hyperlinks from the by line of every blog article.

Make Your Display Name Different To Your Username

In the users tab, you can set your public display name. This is the name to whom blog articles will be credited in the by line. Make this different to your username. Never use admin.

Delete The Link To Your Author Archive

This is an option that makes sense if you are the only author on your blog. If you are the only person who writes articles on your blog, you don’t even need an author archive because it’s the same as the post loop. By deleting the link, it’s not so easy for people to find your username, which is half the battle when trying to hack you.

How To Increase Your Brand Visibility With PR Campaigns

May 26th, 2021
two women near tables

The Internet consists of billions upon billions of websites and yet there are only several hundred that people visit directly. Most of the others are accessed either via a search engine or via a social media platform. Many of the websites that people visit directly are topical content websites which post new content about news and topical events on a virtually continuous basis.

These websites include local and national news outlets as well as niche specific magazines and blogs. All of them are slaves to the 24 hour news cycle. At Smart & Slick, we help both the topical content websites and our clients by creating stories that benefit both sides. As a result, we help the topical news websites with their unrelenting content problem, and we help our clients to increase their brand visibility.

Here’s how we do it:

Create Positive Stories About Our Clients

Every PR campaign begins with a goal. What are we trying to achieve? What does our client want to achieve? Product and event launch campaigns have a different shape to general continuous campaigns.

We begin by brainstorming stories about our client. The stories have to be positive (e.g. they put our client in a good light) and they have to be true (we cannot write things that are not true or did not really happen).

Pitch To Media Outlets

Next, we pitch each story to a newspaper or magazine that we think will find it relevant. Sometimes the same story goes to multiple publications and other times we’ve gone for a very niche angle in order to get extended coverage in a niche publication.

In order to maintain good relationships with media outlets, we are careful to only pitch stories to them that we think they will be interested in. ‘Spray and pray’ is not the right approach.

Our Client Gets Featured In The Media

If we’ve done our job right, very shortly (within about a week), we’ll start to see stories surfacing on the Internet featuring our client and exposing their business and/or brand to thousands upon thousands of people. Some of those people will benefit from the products and services that our client is selling and may well look the client up directly via a Google search. If our client’s website has done some basic SEO (which we often help with), people will find them.

Context Creates Brand Strength

We do not stop there. PR, as a marketing technique, works because of repetition. Given the extremely noisy world we live in, a single exposure to a new idea (in this case a brand) is unlikely to result in many sales unless it is immediately relevant to somebody who happens to read about it.

For example, if a foodie reads about a new restaurant or cafe in their area that’s just opened, a short sharp burst of media exposure might result in selling a few sandwiches because people need food several times a day (making it immediately relevant) and our particular reader in this instance is very passionate about food and therefore likely to break whatever current pattern they have for grabbing lunch in order to try out the new place.

But for most campaigns, repeated exposure over a longer period of months or years is required. The aim here is to increase the general awareness of a brand and make people aware of the context in which the brand can help them. It is this context, communicated through stories, out of which a brand is really born.

This type of context takes time to create because everybody doesn’t read every news article or topical story. It takes 3-5 instances of repeated exposure to something before the average person really notices it.

You have probably had an experience where you think, “What is this thing I keep hearing about?” because you’ve heard a new word – probably a brand name or person – mentioned several times over a few weeks or months.

This is PR at work.

Is It Really For Me?

PR can help you regardless of the size of your organisation. In fact, in many cases, small businesses will reap the benefits more quickly than larger companies. If you’d like to discuss with us what we can do for you, get in touch and we’ll take it from there.

How To Get Views on YouTube

May 24th, 2021
Youtube application screengrab

YouTube has two major metrics of success: subscribers and view minutes. I’ve covered how to get more YouTube subscribers before, so in this article, we’re discussing how to get more views on YouTube.

Make Videos People Want To Watch

It all starts here. Rule one of all of marketing: there needs to be a demand for the product or service. If there isn’t, it doesn’t matter how much marketing you do or how well you do it.

When we create YouTube videos for our clients, the first stage is to research what our client’s market is interested in and what they want to watch. Then we create those videos.

Make Videos People Watch

Making videos people want to watch pertains mostly to the subject matter. In other words – what does the market in question want to know?

Making videos that people watch pertains more to taking the subject matter established, and then presenting it in a video in a way that grabs viewer attention and holds that attention.

While many still talk about how many views a video has achieved, that’s nowhere near as important in 2021 as the number of minutes a video has been viewed or.

Thus, it logically follows that videos that viewers watch all the way to the end are better than videos that get abandoned after a few seconds. YouTube will internally promote videos that get more view minutes because YouTube’s goal is to keep their users watching YouTube for as long as possible.

Rank Videos In Search

YouTube is owned by Google. Google is a search engine. Our next step towards getting thousands of YouTube views on the videos we’ve made is to get them to rank in Google and YouTube search. Naturally, videos that rank better will get more views.

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We’re used this formula to achieve tens of thousands of genuine video views for our clients.

Interested in using YouTube to market your business? Get in touch today.

Selling Is Easy When You Get These Three Things Right

April 26th, 2021
two people shaking hands

If you are struggling to sell your products and services, I’m willing to bet I know why. It’s one or more of three things. I’ve been there myself countless times in the past. Spending weeks developing a product or a website only to receive very little interest from the world.

Over many years, I came to the realisation that when a product or service will not sell, the problem is almost always one of the following:

Company Reputation

Do people like and trust the company? If they’re going to do business with the company, they need to trust it and believe that it will treat them well and deliver on its promises to them.

Companies spend a lot of money on branding and PR to maintain a positive image in the minds of their target market, but for a fledgling startup this reputation is going to born mostly out of your website design and online reputation.

4 Ways To Build Company Reputation

  • Encourage your customers to tweet a testimonial if they are pleased with your service.
  • Encourage your customers to write an online review on TrustPilot or reviews.io if they are pleased with your service
  • Invest in professional web design
  • Invest in PR campaigns
  • Invest in SEO – people still attribute status to the websites that appear at the top of Google

Website

Your website is very likely to be the first direct contact a new prospect has with your company. That means the prospect is going to judge your company and your product by your website. Website design is mission critical to most businesses.

Does it look professional? Does it give the impression that the company can be trusted? Does it give the impression that the product or service will be of good quality? The potential customer will make all these decisions and more based on your website.

Product/Service

Is the product or service something that a substantial number of people actually want and are willing to pay for? It’s surprising how many entrepreneurs create products and services that nobody really wants. Either they don’t solve a problem or they don’t solve a sufficiently big problem that people will pay to have solved. I’ve done it myself.

Often, those who try to take hobbies and turn them into business ventures can be guilty of this. They just want people to buy their hobby and little or no thought is spent pondering what problem your ‘service’ actually solves for the buyer.

When taking a product to market, it’s better to start from the other side of the table and try to identify a problem that a substantial number of people have and then propose a solution. Once you are confident your product or service solves a genuine problem, selling it is, in large part, about convincing people that your product or service will deliver on its promise to make their lives easier.

Search Engine Optimisation: Who Needs It And Who Doesn’t?

April 19th, 2021
monitor screengrab

While it may sound like one, this is not a rhetorical question. SEO is a visibility strategy much the same as billboard advertising or door-to-door flyers or any number of other methods of letting the general public know you exist and what you offer.

Search engine optimisation is the process of getting search engines to rank a website strongly so that it appears in search results when people search for keyword terms related to whatever the business in question is.

For example, if you are a carpenter in Hull making bespoke furniture, you might want to rank for the term “bespoke furniture” or “carpenter in Hull”.

But does every business need SEO? At Smart & Slick, we are not in the business of selling anybody a product or service that we do not genuinely believe will benefit their business. And the answer to this question is no. SEO is not for everybody because it will not benefit everybody.

Our carpenter in Hull. We’ll call him Hal. Now, Hal from Hull might be selling all types of furniture: bed frames, drawers, wardrobes, dining tables – literally anything they have at Ikea.

Now, if I want bespoke furniture, there is no brand name or organisation that instantly comes to mind. Ikea is not bespoke. Sliderobes might come to mind if I wanted wardrobes, but apart from that, I’ve got nothing. That is why I am likely to go to Google and search for “bespoke cabinet”.

Now, if Hal from Hull has a search engine optimised website, he might come up in the Google results for that search term and I might find him that way. And if his website is good and his marketing says all the right things and Hal can convince me that he can give me what I want, I might place an order.

Hal from Hull would clearly benefit from an SEO campaign because his business stands to benefit considerably if his website ranks for all of these terms relating to bespoke furniture: “cabinet”, “bed frame”, “wardrobe” and on and on and on.

But now let’s look at a different type of business.

Across the country in London, there’s Larry in London. Larry is a comedian. Now, Larry’s core business model is to sell tickets to public shows in theatres and comedy clubs. But it is highly unlikely that his customers are going to go online and search “comedy show” in order to find him. They’re far more likely to have been initially introduced to Larry by a method other than a Google search.

As such, Larry is probably not going to benefit much from an SEO campaign, except maybe for ranking #1 for his own name. But that’s likely to happen organically and is so easy that we don’t even really consider it to be SEO.

So while Hal from Hull would be well advised to invest his marketing budget into an SEO campaign, Larry from London would be much better off spending his marketing budget on YouTube marketing, social media and general brand building activities.

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