Use analogies to explain marketing offerings
(Photo by Dan Dvorscak)

If you are introducing a service or product that’s innovative, you’re likely to run into a problem. How do you describe it to someone who’s never seen your novel solution – since it doesn’t fit into their mental framework?

Use Itslikea (“it’s like a…”) to explain it simply. Hollywood movie pitches are great examples of this – a new movie is explained as a mash-up of a couple of other (known and successful) movie story lines. The trick is to make the itslikea connect to something that your audience is familiar with (it doesn’t have to be related to your market niche) and then help them to make the mental leap between that image and your innovation.

Finding great analogies isn’t something that everyone’s naturally good at, since you often need to think “horizontally” (looking at other industries) rather than “vertically” (just at your market segment). To help jump start your thinking, pick three words that describe three attributes of your revolutionary offering. For example, if you’ve created a better small car, you might describe it using: lightweight, shrunken, and eye-catching. Then, use a tool such as Google Images to get some visual ideas for what other things share these attributes. Scroll through the list to find an image that somehow relates to your offering. If you’re stuck, pick 3 other words, and repeat. Once you’ve latched onto an image, then create your analogy leapfrogging from the image (for example, “Imagine putting a small engine into a child’s plastic peddle car…”). The analogy will help to create the right mental image to quickly convey your offering.

A great analogy plants a seed into your audience’s mind. Then it’s up to you to harvest your customers.

Why Pick Me?

Why choose your business
(Photo by Mark Giles)

Why do people choose to hire your services? You may think you know, but you likely don’t know the whole story. It may be your witty personality. It may be your location. Time of your classes. Parking convenience. Yelp reviews. A great coffee shop next door. Results. Price. But you don’t know unless you dig deeply.

You can start by asking your clients, “Why choose me?” You’ll likely get a set of logical reasons. But no doubt many of your competition would also satisfy these same points.

Ultimately, you’ll need to understand their emotional reasons. How do they feel after working with you? How do you affect their senses? Do they smile more when you’re around? For this sort of observation, you’ll likely need a helper who’s paying attention to all the clues. Perhaps they’ll video your interactions with clients or ask subtle questions during interactions. There are clues everywhere, but you’ll need to tease them out.

Once you understand why people pick you, make that message one of the pillars of your marketing campaigns. It’ll make it easier to find more people who are looking just for you.

When To Do a PR Release?

I typically do a PR releases of different articles.  I also send an email with the focus being that same article as in the PR release, however, just have an overview & a link. My
question: Is it better to do the PR release before or after the email blast?  Or
does it not matter?  Which is more effective?


Jay’s Answer: In general, I suggest measuring the results of your actions to see what works best specifically for you.

As for “What’s more effective?” – it matters what you’re measuring. If your press releases are getting picked up by editors, then you’re doing much better than average. Editors are inundated for requests for free coverage of their product/service/event and in most cases, is poorly targeted to their readership. So if your goal is getting press coverage, you’re likely to have better results by developing relationships with editors, and targeting press releases to their readers. But if your goal is to get more SEO juice, then it’s likely not to matter which you do first. Also, if your goal is to get people to open your emails, split test your subject, copy, formatting, and timing to see what produces the highest number of opens (and even better, inquiries & clickthrus).

Name my Party Planning Business

I’m thinking of starting my own party planning business. My main market will be kids party’s and occasionally other events. I’m having trouble committing to a name and coming up with a tagline to captivate my market audience. There are many party planners but none in my area so marketing my business correctly will be very important starting with a punchy name and tagline.

Here are some of my business names

  • bec’s party planning
  • plans to celebrate
  • V.I.P very important party
  • party prep
  • had a great time
  • start to finish party planning
  • party girl
  • how eventful
  • the party mum


Jay’s Answer: As you’ve discovered, naming a business is tricky. You want to like it. You want your prospective customers to like it. You want it to be memorable. You want it to stand out from your competition. You even want a name that has a matching URL (for your website) to be available.

My naming process begins by digging deeply into the minds of people who are likely to hire you. It’s most important that a name works for them. From there, I try to understand what the business owner’s branding goals are. And from there, generate a number of names that are easy to remember and fit the criteria my client has established.

A “punchy” name isn’t as important as you might think – it depends on your specific target clientele.

My hunch is that none of your names are likely to work well for your business (for a variety of reasons). But without understanding a lot more about the underlying needs of you and your audience, it’s simply my guess.

Memorable Tagline Required For Creative Company

I’m trying to brainstorm some memorable taglines for my new home-based business Copeland Creative, and would love to solicit your feedback on some of the taglines I’ve created below.

Copeland Creative provides a suite of copywriting and content marketing services to small and medium sized companies located in the Greater Toronto Area. Typical clients include Performing Arts Companies, Advertising Agencies and Cultural Institutions. The company’s unique selling feature will be its highly customized approach, quality content and campaign management, as well as unmatched flexibility and value.

Some of the taglines I’m proposing below are cliche, but I did read somewhere that cliched taglines can contribute to the stickiness factor. Tagline Ideas:

  • Let’s get “Copeland” creative
  • Compelling Content Guaranteed
  • Creating Credible Compelling Content


Jay’s Answer:

Let’s get “Copeland” creative – This repeats your business name, without adding any explanation of what you offer – or to who.

Compelling Content Guaranteed and Creating Credible Compelling Content – I prefer the first of these. But you’re still not telling me anyone about your niche or USP.

If you’re targeting Greater Toronto, then consider mentioning that in your tagline. Your USP (as-mentioned) isn’t unique. Why would someone choose to hire you instead of your competition (anywhere in the world)?

How To Give Feedback

Efficient Marketing Feedback
(Photo by Stephen D)

If your client is asking for feedback (or if you’re giving your consultant feedback), it’s important to not only focus on what you say, but how you say it – for effectiveness’ sake. If you’re brutally honest, you may enforce your point, but you’ll build resentment which can reduce the desire to work harder.

The next time you need to give feedback, use the “sandwich principle” (2 pieces of bread with the good stuff in the middle):

Start by stating something you like about the submitted work (even if it’s something trivial – like how quickly the work was completed).

Next, list the specific things that need improvement. Don’t say “I don’t like what you did”.  Give tangible clues of what specifically you don’t like, and examples of things you do like (don’t make them guess).

Then end with something else you like about their work (maybe it’s something they did previously that you admire).

The “sandwich principle” works well psychologically since people remember the beginning and end of a meeting/presentation more than the middle. By starting/ending the feedback with things you like, you instill a positive feeling about the feedback – so the  “meat” of your feedback can be more easily digested.

Marketing Foreplay

Marketing by Teasing Your Target Audience
(Photo by Aimee Plesa)

How direct is your marketing message? For B2B (business-to-business) marketing, it generally needs to be fact-based (and data-driven), for example: Our solution to this problem often produces a 50% improvement in bottom line-revenue. For some B2C (business-to-consumer) services (soft skills – like coaching – for example),  producing a fact-based message is difficult (you likely don’t have case studies proving the effectiveness of your work). What can you do instead?

Tease your audience with information. If you’ve ever signed up for a free webinar or teleseminar, you’ve likely experienced this marketing technique. Instead of getting to the “good stuff” immediately, the presenter spends a lot of time showcasing their credentials: awards won, articles published, celebrity clients, books written, large seminars taught, etc.  Ten minutes has gone by. They then tell stories of the amazing successes of their past students. Twenty minutes has gone by. You’re wondering if they’ll ever share any of their techniques with you.

At thirty minutes, they then tell you that they’re about to tell you about one of their amazing “secret” techniques, and then describe how important it will be for your life. And finally, at thirty-five minutes, they share the secret.

What’s the impact to their audience? For those that have stuck through the preamble, it’s a cool drink of water to the parched audience. They revere the information. They worked for it (waiting until it was revealed) and know that the value of the presenter’s (with world-class qualifications) time is high.

Now imagine instead, that the speaker simply began the presentation simply, with a minimal preamble, and then shared the secret. Your perceived value would be much lower (even though the information is the same). The key is that through extended foreplay, your desire is heightened.

For your next marketing campaign, consider if increasing the “tease” will result in more closed deals with your target audience.

In Need Of Etsy Tagline

I need some help coming up with a tag line for my Etsy shop. I sell baby towel aprons. Which is an apron made with towel fabric and has an attached hood for baby’s head. My shop name is Baby Bits of Love. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Jay’s Answer: “Swaddle Your Baby Après Bath”

Name My Coaching & Yoga Business

I am trying to start a business in Self Empowerment Coaching, Yoga and Meditation. Just can’t think of a name. any help is very much appreciated.


Jay’s Answer: Picking a name requires a lot of forethought. You need to first think like someone who doesn’t know a thing about you (and perhaps what you offer):

  • Why would they be interested in what you’re offering?
  • Who are they?
  • Where are they located?
  • Why would they choose to work with you?

From this initial research, you then need to figure out how you want to be seen in the (business) world. What’s your style? What are your requirements?

With both of these understood, you can begin the process of crafting a name – whether that be something generic (“Self Empowerment Coaching”), regional (“Self Empowerment Coaching of Peoria”), aspirational (“Feel Better Coaching”), etc.

Need A Catchy Title For A Breakfast Event

I want to welcome new parents to the school and recruit them as volunteers for various parent run programs. I thought of “The Crying Breakfast” as emotions run high for many parents on the first day of school. The administration thought it was too negative and requested something else. I need it to be catchy to bring them in. Welcome Breakfast seemed too ordinary.


Jay’s Answer: 

  • Every Parent Matters
  • Helping Hands
  • (The) YourSchoolName Parent Team