Converting Prospects to Your Way of Thinking

When prospects understand your business, they're more likely to becoming paying customers.

Q:I've just completed a yearlong advertising campaign designed toincrease my business' sales volume. Although my sales haveincreased somewhat, I must admit I'm rather disappointed in theoverall results. I had expected a much larger impact on sales. Whatcan I do to improve the results of future advertising efforts?

A:Some of the most difficult things to access are the root causes forthe failure of an advertising effort to produce the results weoriginally expected. Sometimes when our advertising falls short,it's because our expectations were too high to begin with.Other times, poor results are caused by systemic weaknesses in,and/or the misdirection of, the specific advertising campaignitself. Or perhaps you tried to market to potential customers--butthey didn't share the same view of your business and itsproducts and services that you do. When this happens, yourpotential customers may respond better to "conversionmarketing."

Traditional marketing efforts typically focus on attempting tomake a sale. In this scenario, a business's products andservices are introduced to potential customers by telling them howgreat the products and services are, as well as the benefits ofdoing business with this particular company. Conversion marketingtakes a completely different approach.

Rather that constantly attempting to drive increased sales asthe first order of business, you may be better served byimplementing the precepts of conversion marketing. Yourbusiness's marketing efforts can then be focused on the processof converting potential customers to your business's way ofthinking. Once potentials customers think like you do, they aremuch more likely to listen to, believe and take action based onmessages your advertising is delivering. You will also have pavedthe way for your business's future marketing efforts.

In order to successfully integrate conversion marketing, youmust communicate what your business is really about to yourpotential customer base. In this manner, you allow them to seebehind your business's entity, products and services andidentify reasons why they should patronize your business.

The following examples illustrate three businesses that havesuccessfully engaged in conversion marketing:

  • The accounting firm that goes beyond advertising thatthey're CPAs who do accounting and tax work. Instead, theycommunicate that they're sincerely interested in helping smallbusinesses become more successful by consulting with their owners.Once potential customers understand of this new way of thinkingabout accounting services, they'll be much more receptive tothis accounting firm's specific marketing efforts.
  • The retail shop that specializes in products that facilitatethe enjoyment of wild birds. In this example, the owner implementsconversion marketing by introducing the shop's potentialcustomers to the joys of wild birding. Next, the owner personallytakes potential and existing customers on regularly scheduledbird-watching walks, where the numerous benefits of bird-watchingare demonstrated and enjoyed. Also, the shop distributes a monthlyinformational newsletter to members of the business's targetmarket, which helps to educate this potential customer base. Oncethese potential customers become wild bird enthusiasts, thebusiness's marketing becomes much more effective.
  • The Web site that provides medical information and advice tosite visitors. Once site visitors discover that it's possibleto receive very specific medical information and advice, they willhave been converted into Internet users who have confidence in theability of this Web site to provide highly technical information ina useful format that they can easily access anytime they havemedical questions. Once converted, they will return to the siteagain and again, and will then be more receptive to any marketingthat is also included on the medical Web site.

Once you've successfully implemented a permanent conversionmarketing presence into your marketing efforts, you'll findpotential customers to be much more receptive. And before long,you'll be enjoying significant growth in sales.

David Meier received an MBA in Finance from Loyola ofBaltimore, and spent much of the 1970s teaching business courses;later, he created a consulting group, and for the next two decades,provided accounting and tax services to small-business owners. Heis currently the founder and COO of Small Business 411, whichprovides small-business owners with ongoing business coaching andthe knowledge and support required to enable them to become trulysuccessful entrepreneurs. Visit the Small Business 411 site at

The opinions expressed in this column are thoseof the author, not of All answers are intended tobe general in nature, without regard to specific geographical areasor circumstances, and should only be relied upon after consultingan appropriate expert, such as an attorney oraccountant.

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