Why Aren’t People Buying Your Stuff?

The goal of marketing comes down to selling more stuff.

“Stuff” = programs, books, services, coaching, fidget spinners, whatever.

If you want to sell more stuff, there are a few things to look at:

1. Do people care? Do they really want what you’re selling? (How you know: A. Someone else is successfully selling something similar that you can deliver better. B. People are asking for you to sell this thing — and not just friends and family who tell you that your mobile ferret washing service is a great idea.)

It seems obvious, but every day I see products that aren’t selling well – but are “me too” products that provide no clear value over existing solutions. You can’t have something “just as good as” what’s out there; it needs to be BETTER — significantly better.

2. Do people know about it? If people don’t know what you sell or do, or how to buy what you do, they’re going to have a hard time giving you money for it. (This is the point of a lot of marketing – to “get the word out.” But that’s not enough – you need the rest of this list, too.)

3. Do the RIGHT people know about it? You can rent a billboard in Times Square to advertise your new housecleaning service in Georgia… but if you’re not getting your message in front of the people who want and need your service, you’re wasting your duckets.

You’d be surprised how often businesses are targeting the WRONG DARNED PEOPLE and don’t even know it.

For instance… in the past week I’ve been targeted on Facebook by ads for:

• Nursing moms (my youngest is almost 13)

• Goth dresses (I own a pair of Doc Martens, but I’m way more prep than punk)

• Colorful cat litter (I have two dogs)

What a waste of money. And it’s annoying.

4. Do people understand it? It’s amazing how much money is spent on Facebook ads, TV commercials, radio spots, and other paid advertising… with no clear message to the target audience. The ads are confusing, too complicated, or simply not clear. Let me make THIS super-clear: IF YOU ARE CONFUSING YOUR MARKET, THEY WILL NOT BUY. Don’t try to be clever. Don’t try to incite curiosity at the expense of clarity. Just SHARE your message clearly and simply.

That means you have to know what you’re selling, why they want it, and how to communicate it in language THEY understand. (NOTE: If you want more help on this topic, check out “Communicating Your Awesomeness: Where Do You Start?“)

5. Are you giving people opportunities to buy? I went to a website the other day that “sells” exercise programs via video and digital delivery. After 3 minutes on the site — which is 12x the amount of time most people will give you — I STILL could not find where to order, or what exactly the offer was. I knew it was exercise videos, I was ready to buy — and I left without spending a dime.

It’s easy to roll our eyes at scenarios like this, but it’s really quite common.

When I review autoresponder email series (the series of emails new subscribers receive when they sign up for your email list), often there is NO clear offer made. When I ask the business owner why they’re hiding their offers, they say stuff like, “I don’t want to be too ‘salesy,'” or “I don’t want them to unsubscribe!” or “I read so-and-so’s book and they say to build a relationship first.”

I get that, but there’s a BALANCE. There’s no specific formula that says, “Send three emails over 75 hours before you ask for the sale.” There are a lot of factors that play into it, from the price point of your offer, the pain the potential customer is in, and how prepared they are to buy.

If you offer a program to help people deal with marriage problems, people may seek you out when they are on the brink of divorce and they’re DESPERATE. By making them go through a five-week “indoctrination” series before you make an offer to help alleviate their pain, you’re actually punishing them.

Yes, it is possible to provide buying opportunities without going overboard and devolving into “used car salesman” territory. I help clients do this every day.


So if you are on a quest to get people to BUY MORE, one or more of these five elements will steer you in the right direction. In my experience, it typically is more than one thing that is not firing right… like it’s an issue of message clarity AND buying opportunity, or product offering AND awareness. But don’t get overwhelmed with trying to do it all at once. Start with one product, one offering, one funnel, and start optimizing. Get the quick wins by addressing the obvious deficiencies, and then move on to the next.

You got this!

Want a Free Marketing Strategy Session?

Want a FREE professional marketing strategy session?
READ ON!!!

As a marketing strategist and copywriter, I get to work with rockstar entrepreneurs like Jason Van Orden, Jaime Masters, Ryan Moran, etc., to create and implement high-converting marketing and sales funnels.

I’m now researching a lower-priced, super-high-value offer.

This will be for online business owners who aren’t quite ready to invest in my done-for-you services but still want the strategy and process I use with my six-and seven-figure clients to increase their conversions and streamline their marketing and communications.

If you’re currently a successful one-gal (or guy!) shop that you know could be even MORE awesome if you didn’t have to do ALL your marketing yourself, I’d love to chat!

In exchange for sharing some of your obstacles and challenges around your marketing, content creation, and communications, I’ll give you the benefit of my 10 years online building two six-figure businesses.

I can:
– weigh in on your messaging
– do a quick eval of your homepage or sales page
– advise you on email marketing self-publishing, webinars, affiliate promos…

I’ve done it all – and I charge my current clients in the neighborhood of $250/hour for my expertise. But you can get it FREE!

If you want to get some clarity, direction, and input from a successful marketing strategist in order to help you grow faster while doing LESS, this could be a great trade!

Let me be clear: I don’t have ANYTHING to sell you. There will be no sales pitch at the end. I’m just info-gathering. 🙂

Interested? Please email my assistant at bella (at) fastlain (dot) com. We’ll ask you a few more questions to make sure we’re a good fit, and then get you scheduled!

Best Email Subject Lines of the Week

#fastlain feature: “Flop or Fly.”

I get a lot of email. (100+ a day!)

I delete most of it, but a few grab me. Every week I will be announcing 5 winning and losing email subject lines, and why they worked or flopped. Stay tuned to soon start to seeing a pattern — and to review your own subject lines with a more critical eye.

Just checking in! How is it going with subject lines? Did you use the tips from last week’s post? Comment and let me know the progress you have made!


#1:”Stranger in a Strange Land?”

From: Buck Books

Why it works:

This subject line is a great example of knowing your audience. Since this email list is aimed at book readers, they will probably get the reference to the novel by Robert Heinlein. +1 for piquing curiosity and +1 for literary reference = HOME RUN!

How you can use this:

Make your readers feel like “insiders” by using references only they’ll get. Then they’ll feel more engaged with the topic — and more inclined to open.


#2: “You have some dirty windows…”

From: Alex Charfen

Why it works:

Curiosity at its best. It stands out and makes me want to learn more

How you can use this:

Dream up a subject line that will be one-of-a-kind. Send the email that only YOU can send. That way, you train your readers to expect unique content.


#3: “Latest episode and it’s good. Real good.”

From: Nathan Latka

Why it works:

LOVE the conversational tone. It sounds natural and, as a result, doesn’t sound like bragging. And because it’s “Real good” I’d be a dummy not to read more!

How you can use this:

Keep it friendly and positive, and deliver the goods (Warning: don’t tell people something is “real good” unless you can stand behind that claim!).


#4: “Money, power, influence”

From: Tara Gentile

Why it works:

Talk about appealing to your target audience.. who WOULDN’T open this?! Money, yes. Power, yes. Influence, heck yes!

How can you use this:

Don’t be afraid to go for the bull’s eye and hit every one of your audience’s desires head-on.


#5:“Really Ugly Book Covers”

From: Adazing Books

Why it works:

I laugh just thinking about this subject line. It’s my favorite type – curiosity + a little quirkiness with the promise of humor. It’s unique and fun, and promises some info and education, too.

How you can use this:

Play on counter-intuitive wording to give your subject line an edge. Subscribers will click because it’s something they haven’t seen before. Going against what is expected is a sure pattern interrupt that will draw their attention.


Now, the flops:

#1:“Our Mother’s Day offer has had it up to 15% off”

Why it flops:

A sales should be a “gimme” when it comes to powerful subject lines. But this went off the rails! First, 15% off is not that impressive… I’ve read previously that 25% is the minimum to make a significant increase in sales. (Here is an article from Yoast on discounts — percentage off vs. $ off, etc.). Next, the subject line is confusing. It sounds like I’m in trouble (“My mother has HAD IT UP TO HERE!”).

How you can avoid this: Remember: Clarity FIRST.

My rewrite: “Mom would be proud of you…”


#2:“FINAL REMINDER ????????”

Why it flops:

Can you say “internet marketing scam”? THEY ARE LITERALLY SCREAMING AT ME! I hit delete before I opened.

How you can avoid this:

You better be telling my my house is on fire or that I won the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes if you are using ALL CAPS and a boat load of question marks!

My rewrite: “Last chance to save!”


#3:“Get A+ Zzzzz. Renaissance Hotels is on.”

From:  e-commerce site

Why it flops:

Are you as confused as I am? Confusion = no action. No action = no money.

How you can avoid this:

Remember the First Rule of #FastLain Communication: Clarity!

My rewrite: “Renaissance Hotels: The Best Sleep of Your Life.”


#4: “The Evolution Process From A Junior Level Designer To Becoming A Design Lead”
Why it flops: 

Several no-no’s here. Firs,t this is too long. It’s going to be truncated in the inbox and as a result it won’t be clear. Next, it’s not a topic I’m interested in. AND even if I read the whole darn thing, it’s not very compelling.

How you can avoid this: Keep it short. Keep it interesting. Keep it targeted.

My rewrite: “Ready for the Next Step in Your Design Career?”


#5: “Re: Greetings.,s/m”

From: a Nigerian Prince

Why it flops:

Do I need to say anything here?

How you can avoid this: Make sure you don’t look like a scammer. Avoid the “Re:” prefix. And just make sense.

My rewrite: “Give me your money.”


The upshot: The subject line is the headline for the email. If you don’t get it right, people aren’t going to read any further.

Got your own submissions? List them in the comments below!

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