By Charlie Cook

Whether it's your business card, tagline, article title, 
web site title and description or ad, just the difference 
of a few words can either pull in prospects and clients 
or push them away. Getting it right can determine 
whether your phone is ringing off the hook or you are
twiddling your thumbs hoping someone will call.

Just by changing a word or two or combining a couple of
phrases, you can increase your response rate dramatically.
Book publishers know that a book's title can make the
difference between it becoming a best seller or a loser.
Wouldn't you like your service and products to be best

In the past if you wanted to be sure you'd found the best
name for your business or the right phrases to use in your
marketing materials, you needed to hire a marketing
research firm to get a reliable answer. Using phone surveys
and focus groups, a market research firm can tell you which
names turn prospects off and which make people want to buy
your services and products.

While marketing research firms may still be the best answer
for mid to large businesses, most independent professionals
and small business owners, don't budget tens of thousands
of dollars for this type of in-depth analysis. So how do you
find out which key words and phrases will attract clients to

You can research and test words and phrases to dramatically
increase the response to your marketing. Thanks to the
development of the internet and a couple of free and almost
free online tools you can easily research which words pull in
prospects and which push them away. Use the steps outlined 
below, to refine the words you use in your marketing.

Don't make the mistake of marketing your services and
products by focusing on your name, professional label,
your credentials or processes. Your prospects are concerned
about their own problems, issues and needs. For example,
the phrase "back pain" is searched for on the internet one
and a half times as often as "chiropractor". 

If you're a chiropractor, your marketing materials should 
focus on the pain that your clients' experience. Start 
with words that focus on prospects' problems. If you 
can't think of any, use words that describe the solution 
to their problems. What problems and solutions are your 
clients looking for?

Everyone knows that certain words like "sex" attract
attention. The problem is "sex" won't attract clients for
99.9% of small businesses. It's not going to help a lawyer,
cleaning service, caterer, etc. Other words that get
attention are how to, secrets, and free. The title of this
article contains at least two attention-getting words.
Can you identify them?
Certain category phrases exist to describe most types of
businesses or tasks. If you are a web designer, the phrase
"web design" is one. If you sell pyrotechnics, the more
commonly used term is "fireworks"; by a factor of twenty-two.
Improve the response to your marketing by using the
common phrases people use to search online, the same ones
used commonly in association with the services and products
you sell.

Overture and Wordtracker provide free online tools to help
you find the words and phrases your prospects are interested
in. Make a list of all the words and phrases you think people
associate with your services whether or not have a web site.
Then test each phrase to find out which words attract the
most attention.

The easiest tool to test word or phrase popularity is Overture's
at http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/
Type in possibilities from your list and look at the how many
times it was used in a search in the last month. Write the
number down next to the word or phrase on your list and
continue testing until you have a clear winner. Make sure the
keywords you use to describe yourself, and the ones you use
on your web pages to help the search engines find your site
are ones your prospects use, too.

Once you know the category phrase that best describes your
services and products, the next step is to develop your tagline,
or the copy you use in your web site description or even yellow
page advertising copy. If you are a lawyer you might have a
listing in the yellow pages under attorneys, but what should
you say to prompt people to call your office? Do you know
which of the following phrases is most likely to pull in
- F*ree consultation for serious injuries
- Need legal help?
- Find the right attorney
- Maximum cash compensation

Without doing some market research you won't know which
phrase, if any of these, is the most effective. Thanks to 
www.Google.com/adwords it's easy to test out your ideas.
Depending on the popularity of your key words and how
long you run your test, it will cost twenty to fifty dollars 
or more at Google. You can sign-up, put up as many 
variations of your ad as you want, and see which ones people 
respond to. You may be surprised that changing a word or 
two can increase your response by factors of five or more. 
Once you see which phrases are working, try combining them 
to improve your response even more.

Even if you never run an ad, researching which phrases pull
in prospects can help your business grow. Use the results
on your business card, in your tagline, as the title to your
web site or as the title to an article and pull in many more
clients and customers.

2003 © In Mind Communications, LLC. All rights reserved. 

The author, Charlie Cook, helps independent professionals 
and small business owners who are struggling to attract 
more clients and grow their businesses. To get the 
free marketing guide, '7 Steps to Get More Clients 
and Grow Your Business' visit 
www.charliecook.net or write ccook@charliecook.net

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