If you are like most business owners and entrepreneurs, you probably struggle with getting the right content on paper when it comes to marketing your products and services. Whether for your company website, printed brochures, sales emails, or even your bio – the right copy is absolutely critical to the success of every marketing venture.
As a business owner and entrepreneur for over 20 years, I know just how frustrating marketing your organization can be, which is why I want to share with you the biggest mistake I see negatively affecting the websites of many emerging small businesses today.
Stop leading with your solutions
Listen up... if you’re an entrepreneur, small business owner, consultant, or executive coach who is trying to build a brand and gain traction, this one could kill you.
The majority of websites I see today dive right into the benefits of their products and services, before identifying the problem their offering solves. While on this surface, this may not sound very problematic, the truth is, if you continue to write your copy this way, you are leaving money on the table.
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Why is leading with your solutions a problem?
Simply put, it creates confusion because it relies heavily on your target audience’s ability to read between the lines. You might think… “well, it’s obvious what problems my product solves – so why do I need to spell it out for them?”
I’m glad you asked!
The bottom line is, people don’t buy products, services, and features… they buy solutions to their problems. So, if you never clearly identify the problem you solve, you are not positioning your product or service with any real value to your potential customers.
People don’t buy products, services, and features… they buy solutions to their problems
Leading with the problem you solve provides the following benefits:
- Instantly defines the value of your product or service
- Stimulates an emotional response creating a desire to learn more
- Eliminates confusion by not relying on leads to draw their own conclusions
- Increases engagement by creating curiosity
- Helps qualify your leads by weeding out anyone who does not resonate with the outlined problem
If leading with the problem is so effective, why don’t more people do it?
I understand this problem firsthand because, for many years, I was one of the majority of people who followed this approach to messaging. I just thought that was the way you were supposed to message your organization. Now that I have been shown the light, it is clear to see why so many people don’t adopt this method.
- People copy their competitors. Let’s be honest; writing marketing copy can be challenging if it is not something you do every day. One easy way to get a “corporate sounding” website copy that passes the weight test is to see what your competitors are writing and use that as a starting point, tweaking and shaping it until it becomes your own. The only problem is since most websites lead with their solutions, you are most likely baking in the same flawed approach.
- Organizations don’t want to be pigeonholed. Identifying specific problems means you have to be… well, specific. Most growing businesses don’t want to feel limited to an exact service offering – so, they opt to be broader to avoid losing out on any potential opportunities. I can relate to this one! However, over the years, I’ve learned that by not finding your niche (or even niches), you are doing more harm than good to your business.
- They confuse outcomes for problems. I see this one a lot! As an organization that is personally vested in the development and evolution of its products and services, it is very easy to confuse the benefits and outcomes you provide with the problems you solve. While this is easy to fix, it is a little less obvious to recognize, so to help you clearly see the difference between outcomes and problems, let’s look at an example.
Problems vs. Outcomes Example
Many of my clients are Executive Coaches and Keynote Speakers, so for this example, let’s look at the types of problems an Executive Coach might say they solve.
- Develop your leadership team
- Build an inclusive and cohesive working environment
- Execute your strategic vision
- Maximize results
Uh oh! While these might sound good, I hope it is clear that these are all generic actions and outcomes… not problems.
That said, here is a list of some specific problems that would work better:
Instead of this...
Develop your leadership team
The leadership team's inability to effectively communicate is costing the company money.
Build an inclusive and cohesive working environment
High turnover, low employee satisfaction, and low productivity
Execute your strategic vision
Company lacks focus and planning – spread too thin on many different initiatives
Organization lacks repeatable processes and is highly inefficient
So, when can I talk about my products and services?
Let me be clear; I am not saying that you can never talk about your products and services. That would be crazy!
start with the main problem you solve, then introduce your products and services as the best solution to overcome this challenge
What I am saying is that you should start with the main problem you solve, and then you can introduce your products and services as the best solution to overcome this challenge.
Following this approach makes your offering much more precise, frames your organization as the remedy to your potential customer’s pain point, and makes the value of your offering instantly obvious to your target audience.