Content is more important than technology

With all the social media, SMS, apps and video rolling around the Internet, why are there so few people making a lot of money from their campaigns?

I mean, all these tactics for getting a message in front of someone are incredibly advanced. With all of the traffic available online, and the means to reach them being so easy to create, why is it there are so few stories of small businesses becoming big deals?

Part of the reason is so many businesses are using these tools to spread their message. As a result, most people online have learned how to tune them out. Sure, a paid placement on Facebook could potentially reach millions of users a month. But since they’re all the way over on the right side of the page, and to most people never worth investigating, no one ever does. You’re more likely to get clicks from people accidentally clicking on your ad than people who want what you’re selling.

But that’s terribly pessimistic of me, when the real point I want to get to is this other reason your – and, frankly, most everyone else’s – ads are ineffective: Your message hasn’t kept up with the technology you’re using.

All too often I read copy that is lifeless, directionless, and assumes that if a user sees it, they’re already on their way to becoming a customer. The copy may as well read, “Well, get buying already – we don’t have all day!”

When you build your paid search campaign or you post to Twitter or whatever else you do, do you consider what the person reading it needs? We know what you need: To make money. It’s a given. If you’re advertising, you’re doing it to move some product. But what you want isn’t important – what’s important is how you can help your potential customer. What do they want? Or need? And will your product help them? If so, how? What do they need to do not to complete a sale for you, but to suddenly make their lives better or more complete?

Boiler plate copy explaining who you are,  and what you sell, isn’t important to a customer in need. What’s important to them is the solution you offer. That MUST be the focus of your copy, whether you’re doing print ads or paid search or a sign in a store window.

You can’t ever let yourself forget that the customers aren’t there to help you by buying something. You are there to help them, and if you can convince them that you’re up to the task, they’ll return the favor with a sale.

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