The key to creating effective and compelling marketing is to know the secrets to getting your prospects to take action. This requires a thorough and complete understanding of what I refer to as "persuasive marketing," which is simply organizing the buying and selling processes so you can present compelling information about your product or service that will persuade your prospects to take a specific action. This includes four basic, yet vital, elements.

Interrupt. Engage. Educate. Offer.

Because we're living in a media-saturated world where we're endlessly exposed to a constant barrage of advertising messages, your prospects will filter most of the messages right out of their conscious thought—unless one happens to hit them squarely on their hot button.

For your marketing message to be effective, you must sharpen the focus of your message to ensure that you actually reach your prospect's mind, and that you do so with enough impact that he or she will pick up the phone, walk into your store, or go to the web site and get involved with your business.

You have to put time and effort into investigating exactly who your prospects are, what their most pressing want is, and how your business fulfills that want. You need to know everything about your target customer, and why your offer is their best option – why you are different.

For any type of marketing to work, it must do three things.

1. It must grab the reader's attention.
2. It must facilitate the prospect's information gathering and decision-making process.
3. It must provide a specific, low risk, easy to take action that helps them make a good decision.

To facilitate these steps, you must include these four vital elements for marketing success.

#1 Interrupt
First, all marketing must grab the prospect's attention. If it doesn't, it's worthless, they'll never read, watch or listen to the rest of your ad. That means you must have a great headline if the ad is in print. If it's on the radio, the headline is the first thing they hear, if it's on TV, the headline is the first thing they see and hear.

So, your attention-grabbing headline must emotionally resonate with your prospect by hitting them squarely in their hot button issues. It must address a major problem, frustration, fear, or concern that's currently taking place in their life. If you word the headline properly, you immediately grab their attention. You Interrupt them and simultaneously pre-qualify them as having that specific problem.

Anyone without that problem won't be interested, which is exactly what you want to have happen. You're looking for "ideal" clients, not unqualified, time-consuming, never-going-to-buy-what-you-sell prospects.

#2 Engage
Once your prospect is interrupted, it's critical you give your reader the promise that information is forthcoming that will help him or her make the best buying decision possible. In other words, it must help facilitate their decision to pick you over anyone else. This is the job of your subheadline.

The interrupt is your headline that highlights a specific problem that your prospects are looking for a solution to...and the engage is your subheadline that promises them that you offer a solution to the problem you mentioned in your headline.

#3 Educate
Once you've interrupted and engaged your prospect, you have to give information that allows them to logically understand how and why you solve the problem they're facing. This is accomplished by giving detailed, quantifiable, specific, and revealing information. This is typically done in the body copy of your ad.

When you educate, you need to reveal to your prospects the important and relevant information they need to know when making a good decision, and that your business – and yours alone – provides it to them. The interrupt and engage hit the prospects emotional hot buttons. Educate is the logic they need to justify picking up the phone and calling you. Get them to think differently! I love it when a client or prospect says to me, I've never thought about it in that way before.

#4 Offer
Finally, your marketing must contain a low or no risk offer to further facilitate their decision-making process. You have to give them a compelling, yet safe way to take the next step. This "next step" may not necessarily be to plunk down their credit card then and there and buy your product or service.

It may be to pick up the phone to make an appointment so they can learn more, to order a free trial, or to visit a retail location. Your offer can be a free marketing tool, such as a report, brochure, seminar, audio, video, or something that will continue to educate them.

There's more to marketing these days than just "getting your name out there." If you act on this information, you should see a dramatic increase in the number of leads you begin to generate, the number of clients you begin to attract, and the amount of money you see accumulating on your bottom line.

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Referred to as a "Magnetic Marketing & Mindset Master," Susan Regier, owner of Vantage One Writing, is an in-demand marketing content writer, speaker, and "tell-it-like-it-is" coach/mentor to serious entrepreneurs who want to attract more clients and make more money. Claim your free guide: 15 Tips to Increase Your Influence, Attract More Clients & Make More Money at SusanRegier.com.