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Sometimes the best guide to what you want (in our case, sales) is observing real-world blunders and just doing the opposite.

Take my weekend jaunt to a restaurant in-between mall-torture with the ladies in my life.

Noticed the deranged (and creative) road markers…

This road is inviting disaster…

Whoever was in charge of painting the road was either subtly evil, or was about to quit and give a one-finger salute on the way out the door.

As funny as it was, this goofball road reminded me of confused marketing that creates indecision, overwhelms with too many choices, and creates a road-to-nowhere that throws a wet blanket on buying action.

Let’s take look at some of these marketing blunders and find some solutions…

Three Common Ways Business Owners Kill Their Marketing Before It Takes Root

There are three big mistakes many business owners make that keep their conversions low, but the good news is that they’re easy to deal with.

Reason 1: Conversion-Killing Confusion

One of the most common ways to destroy conversions is by confusing people. Regardless of whether you’re building a landing page, sales page, sales letter, or email series, confusion guarantees people will bounce out of your sales sequence.

What’s the “confusion solution”?

First, you want to ask yourself a few basic questions:

  1. Do you know how your prospects become clients?
  2. Is there a clear path prospects must follow in order to engage your services or buy your products?
  3. Is the path obvious, or does the prospect have to think before acting?

The purpose behind these questions is simple: even with basic eCom funnels, a buyer must follow a path to buy the eCom “thingie”.

And if you don’t know the path your prospects need to follow, then it’s a safe bet your prospects don’t know how to engage with you either.

Remember that a confused mind takes no action.

[bctt tweet=”A confused mind takes no action… and confusion KILLS conversions.” username=”theellispond”]

And confusion kills conversions.

So what do you do?

At the risk of sounding flippant, you need to lead prospects to the sale.

Depending on your business, that might mean advertising, content marketing, live webinars, in-person seminars, sales calls, one-on-one meetings…

The point is, you need to know each step of the process, and then clear mark the path so your prospects can follow you there.

There are some simple ways to make these prospect guideposts…

Outline the process on your website

Don’t hide the process or make it overly complex—map out the process of working with you into 3 or 4 steps , and show that process with visuals and short summaries.

Describe the process in your emails

Make the process something you talk about all the time.

Make the process a market differentiator

If you have a process you push all your prospects through, you’re the kind of organization that cares enough to pay attention… and your prospects will notice this.

Don’t hide this—make your process into a feature or benefit.

Reason 2: Overwhelming Your Prospects and Clients

I have a close friend who has a common lament…

When she’s reached her limit—when, as she puts it, she can’t “adult” anymore—she says she’s overwhelmed, and all forward action stops.

This is the second common mistake business owners make with their marketing…

They give people too many options.

This idea is easy to understand so I won’t belabor the point. But let’s walk through a couple examples to illustrate what I’m talking about.

A Website with Too Many Choices

You know the site I’m talking about.

You land on the webpage, and there are buttons across the top, along the sides throughout the middle, and all along the bottom.

Not only do you not know where to click to find what you’re looking for, but the sheer volume of options makes you not want to search for what you need.

Result?

You bounce off the site to try to find what you need. And if you must use that site to get what you need, you try to get someone to show you where to go, or you stay on the site, clicking link after link until you stumble on what you were looking for.

Not fun.

A better way is to keep the options simple, and the site straightforward.

Make your website clear, make it easy for users to understand where to go and what to do. Your company’s revenue will thank you.

(If you want a couple examples of websites that do a good job of this, click here, here, and here.)

You Have HOW MANY Products?

This problem is the kissing cousin of a cluttered website with too many options.

I’m talking about businesses that toss their prospects to product pages with a billion-and-one products.

Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t have a lot of products—there’s nothing wrong with that—but you’d be better off sending people to specific products based on their actions and interests rather than a catch-all page where you’re forcing people to figure out what they should get.

Better to lead them to the right product than leave it up to your prospects to figure it out.

[bctt tweet=”Lead your prospects to the right product instead of making them figure it out on their own.” username=”theellispond”]

’nuff said.

The Problem of “Thanksgiving Products”

This is a problem I see everywhere, especially in internet marketing.

Businesses think that in order to overdeliver, they need to give their clients everything and the kitchen sink.

That’s the right mindset, but unless it’s done the right way it is simply overwhelming to the client.

You need to think about value from a consumption standpoint.

What can your clients reasonably use, and how can you make that as valuable as possible?

Giving your clients the option to buy all 26 of your products at a discount may be a great deal, but if they can’t more than 1 or 2 or the products, then the other 24 are just rubbish taking up space.

Better to offer amazing products with amazing value—that the client can reasonably use—than throw everytihng you can at them under the flag of overdelivering.

Onwards.

Sometimes People Want Less

In many cases, more isn’t always more.

Whether you’re building your company’s website, marketing campaigns, product offerings, etc., think through the prospect/client experience. Make it easy for them to see the path, and how your products will get there.

Overwhelm them with simplicity.

Reason 3: Not Allowing Prospects to Make a Decision

This is the most confusing mistake I see, and I see it all the time.

I’m talking about when an ad, or a blog post, or an advertorial, or other content piece is produced, published, and advertised, and there’s no offer.

There’s no clear path.

There’s no call to action.

Not only does the prospect not know what to do next, they don’t even have a way to take a next step.

This is the worst thing that can happen with any piece of marketing—and yes, blog posts are marketing (as are white papers, webinars, seminars, networking meetings, and the copy on your website).

Now, I’m not suggesting you pitch someone and try to sell them right away (I describe why not to do that in this article here), but there should be a next step.

[bctt tweet=”Make sure people know where they are on the path to becoming a client. And just like in children’s fairytales–leave breadcrumbs.” username=”theellispond”]

In fact, that next step should be part of an organized sequence of events you need your prospects to walk through before you engage them as a client.

Why?

Because you can shape how they see you and your company.

For example…

… if the first step in your “conversion sequence” is that they subscribe to your email list, then you have an opportunity to introduce the prospect to your business, your personality, all the quirks that make you unique and interesting.

This indoctrinates the subscriber into your way of doing things, and filters out people don’t resonate with your message through the magic of unsubscribes.

People who stick around are your people.

And there’s something even more powerful at work—you’re sowing the seeds of a long-term client relationship.

Brilliant marketer Sean D’Souza talks about the importance of getting three “conversions” from your prospects before they’ll become a long-term, loyal client.

Once a prospect has “converted” three times, they are almost certainly going to stick around a good deal longer—even becoming your best clients.

This conversion doesn’t have to be an exchange of money, by the way.

Conversions include:

  • Email optins
  • PDF downloads
  • Small purchases
  • Attending webinars
  • Attending seminars
  • Subscribing to your podcast (or Youtube channel)
  • Opting-in for your monthly newsletter
  • And many more…

But you can’t move your prospects to that goal of the third conversion without placing the offer (aka, the opportunity to convert) in front of them.

It’s like the road surface markers from my picture…

The pieces are in place to deliver clients where you want, but the markers are really just a road to nowhere (or an unplanned drive-thru in a sit-down restaurant).

Wrapping up

Unlike our nefarious anti-hero who painted the road markers straight into a restaurant’s dining room, building a client-attracting process takes planning and effort.

Presenting a simple path to engage with your business, creating clear and logical offers, and making it easy for prospects to engage with you are three keys to building long-term relationships with your clients.

If you’d like guidance with how to identify and build a path for your clients, email [email protected] and let me know you’re interested in coaching.

Otherwise just make sure your marketing action is part of a clear, organized path your prospects follow on their journey to becoming long-term dream clients.

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