Thursday September 25, 2014

Doubt: a guide for marketers

What is this thing called doubt?

Doubt is good for us.

I’m not talking about being in a state of constant indecision and hesitation, but the idea of being open to thought and exploring possibilities.

Allowing ourselves to experience doubt slows us down. It forces us to think, ask questions, seek answers, process things and only then – act. Doubt can lead us to make better decisions.

Harnessing that potential when we’re selling our products and services makes doubt a powerful marketing tool.

We all need to sell

Businesses exist, survive and thrive because there’s a need for them – someone’s buying.

I’m passionate (and I use the word advisedly) about everyone having the best words they can on their website, in their brochure or email campaign. Wellputwords’ mission is to show how clear communication helps you get the results you want – informing, engaging and making emotional connections with the people you talk to, and prompting them to take action – read on, click, respond and buy.

I know the value a good copywriter adds to a business. I’ve helped many an organisation shift from seeing their copy as an unproductive time-suck they laboured on alone to the out-sourced and hardest-working, 24/7 star of their team.

Injecting doubt

But when I’m prospecting for new clients I don’t just tell them this, I ask lots of questions along the lines of:

“Does your web copy convert visitors into customers?”
“Did you know that regular blogging increases your digital footprint?”
“Is spending hours writing really the best use of your time?”

This sets them off thinking about their words, how effective they are and whether they reflect and amplify the business they’re representing.

Unlock the power of words

Turning doubt into desire

And questions asked face-to-face, in a tweet or via email can start a productive conversation. Maybe now these potential clients are admitting, to themselves at least, that they’re not so sure about their copy. I can then move on to show how I can help – from reworking a short sample of their current copy, to going through some of what I offer: auditing their current copy, freshening and optimising what’s already there, creating or rewriting their web copy or regularly blogging for them.

Of course there are no certainties – they may not choose to go with my copywriting service but at least they’re thinking about words and what theirs say about them.

Not the bad old days

Weaving doubt-creation into our marketing, whatever our product or service, is absolutely about knowing our audiences and identifying or anticipating a pain they may have, and then suggesting a way round it.

It’s a far cry from the scaremongering of the bad old days when deploying “FUD” (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) with campaigns of disinformation, was the tactic of choice by some in the computer hardware industry.

If you’re still not convinced…

Doubt sits at the heart of the creative process. We have to go through it to know what questions to ask, to truly understand any problem we’re solving. Someone said, “to doubt, is to live well as humans.”

Can we and should we be adding a measure of doubt to help us win new business? What do you think?

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