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Negative Versus Positive Marketing Messages: Which Works Best?

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  • Judy Murdoch
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      Article Title:

      Negative Versus Positive Marketing Messages: Which Works Best?

      Article Description:

      Nancy is a small business owner who helps nonprofit groups create
      fund raising events that can double- even triple- their average
      donation. Until recently, Nancy has gotten her business primarily
      through in-person meetings: attending networking events, taking
      people out for coffee, and giving presentations. Read on to learn
      what has and has not worked for Nancy.

      Additional Article Information:

      644 Words; formatted to 65 Characters per Line
      Distribution Date and Time: 2008-09-03 12:36:00

      Written By: Judy Murdoch
      Copyright: 2008
      Contact Email: mailto:judy@...

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      Negative Versus Positive Marketing Messages: Which Works Best?
      Copyright (c) 2008 Judy Murdoch
      Highly Contagious Marketing

      Nancy is a small business owner who helps nonprofit groups create
      fund raising events that can double- even triple- their average

      Until recently, Nancy has gotten her business primarily through
      in-person meetings: attending networking events, taking people
      out for coffee, and giving presentations.

      In-person is great for getting local business but Nancy wants to
      serve a national customer base. So she hired someone to design a
      website and using emails and postcards to market her services.

      She's been using emails and postcards for the last ten months
      and the results have been dismal.

      "I haven't gotten a single new client," she told me.

      So I took a look at the emails she was sending out and I
      immediately saw the problem.

      >> Enthusiasm Can Turn People Off

      Nancy loves her work and really wants her clients to succeed.
      It's hard to spend time with her and not get excited about what
      she's doing.

      Her enthusiasm works to her advantage when she meets people in

      It seems logical then that enthusiasm would work in all her other
      marketing. Wrong.

      >> Establishing Trust is the First Step

      There's a saying, "People want to know you care, before they
      care about what you know."

      As human beings, we have a natural desire to belong and feel
      valued. It's the reason why people hate to be sold to...we
      don't feel understood or valued for who we are.

      When you meet someone in person, it's a lot easier to build
      trust because you can communicate that you care in many ways: in
      your tone of voice, in the way you look at others, in your

      For people like Nancy, building trust occurs almost immediately
      during in person meetings because she communicates that she cares
      both in what she says and what she doesn't say.

      But when communicating in less personal ways´┐Żusing email,
      postcards, and other types of written media, you have only words
      to work with.

      Which means you must take an extra step and deliberately
      demonstrate empathy before you enthusiastically share why your
      products and services are so wonderful.

      >> Establishing Trust Means Starting with the Negative

      So how do you show you care when you use email, web pages, and
      other mediums that limit your ability to express yourself?

      You start with the problem or pain your customer is likely

      When you do this you are saying, in effect to your audience:

      "I understand you have this problem that you're struggling to

      "I, too, have struggled with it"

      "Through my experience, education, research, etc., I have came
      up with a solution to solve the problem."

      "My solution work for you too."

      Once you say these things, you are free to bubble away about your
      wonderful solution.

      >> Example: Establishing Trust First

      So let's go back to Nancy.

      Instead of immediately starting her emails off with how she helps
      her clients double their fund raising results she begins with
      demonstrating empathy and understanding.


      "Non-profits, let me show you how to double- , even triple your


      "Non-profits, are you struggling to compete for funding in
      today's difficult economy?"

      Can you feel the difference?

      Nancy's email then went on to describe her own struggles with
      fund raising and how she developed her solution.

      When Nancy began using this approach, her prospect inquiries
      immediately increased and she's now in the process of turning
      some of the prospects into clients.

      But she first needed to demonstrate she understood and cared
      before they were willing to make the call.

      >> Bottom Line

      The less personal the communication, the more important it
      becomes to first establish trust with your prospects.

      For emails, blog posts, web pages, etc.:

      1. Start with the Negative: demonstrate you understand their
      problem and struggle to solve it.

      2. End with the Positive: share why your solution is better and
      will work.

      Judy Murdoch helps small business owners create low-cost,
      effective marketing campaigns using word-of-mouth referrals,
      guerrilla marketing activities, and selected strategic alliances.
      To download a free copy of the workbook, "Where Does it Hurt?
      Marketing Solutions to the problems that Drive Your Customers
      Crazy!" go to http://www.judymurdoch.com/workbook.htm
      You can contact Judy at 303-475-2015 or judy@...

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