When the first attempt at anything doesn’t work, do you give up or stick with it and try again?
Of course, you try again. Why would marketing your business be any different? Like anything else it requires consistent marketing.
I want to talk today about this misconception some business owners have when they’re trying to market the business themselves. This is something that I cover in my new book 11 Reasons Why Your Business Is Not Growing, which covers 11 typical mistakes that businesses make when trying to market and brand their business.
So I’m covering now one of the ways businesses make a mistake in only trying something once and, when it doesn’t work, they give up.
One reason is that they expect immediate results, so when they don’t get sales conversions they decide the approach they used doesn’t work. But what they fail to realise is that sales and marketing are different and work differently.
Sales will give immediate results while marketing is more like planting a seed and you’re going to watch it grow over time as you build a relationship with the client. It won’t be an immediate sale. You’ve got to build that trust. People don’t buy from you until they trust you and know you.
The way to build that trust is through consistent marketing
I see this with a lot of customers requesting my copywriting service for a single email. They want to book one email, as if that is going to do miracles for them. I have to explain that the content needs to be dripped consistently over a period of time. When the first email doesn’t bring in great results, it isn’t that it didn’t work. It’s just the first phase in warming up your audience.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. You’ve been there. Think of all the times you’ve received unsolicited emails offering you something the sender is sure you’ll need. The email arrives when you are busy at work and you didn’t really see it at all. You certainly didn’t open it.
Then the next email arrives from the same sender and this time the sender got lucky. You saw it and it roused your interest. You make a mental note to look at it later when you have time. Of course that time never comes and it gets buried with the rest.
The next time you get the email, you actually move it into your to-do folder to look at later. But it isn’t until the next email arrives that you think, you know I really need this, let’s have a look now.
Imagine if that sender had only sent you the first email and decided this email marketing lark doesn’t work!
Now, statistics prove that your first email will land in a few people’s inbox on exactly the day that they needed to see it and they have an exact need for it and they respond straight away. But more often than not, you need to work at building that trust first.
So think of ways to get emails to your clients on a regular basis and when you have an offer, make it a campaign not a single email!
Keep marketing this way often and even if they don’t need your services now, you’ll be top of mind when they do! Adopt a strategy of consistent marketing.
When building your brand, don’t try to be what you are not. That’s hard to live up to. Build an authentic brand that isn’t trying to be something it’s not.
You want to show up as yourself, but the highest version of yourself. But it needs to be YOU!
Really own who you are as a brand. Own what it is that you stand for and don’t try to be something you’re not.
A good example I can give you of this would be the hotel industry. In the hospitality industry, hotels, as you know, are graded with stars. You can find three star hotels, four- or five-star hotel, you get the idea. The expectations and the experiences at hotels of different stars is different. The star rating serves to tell guests the standard they should expect.
They bring different values to their customers and obviously different price points and different experiences within those price points. So if you go to a three-star hotel, you’re going to expect a certain level of service, a certain standard which is going to be for the most part quite acceptable. What I’m saying is, if you are setting your brand to be a three-star brand, you don’t want to market it as a five-star. You don’t want to try to be that five-star brand if you are actually only a three star. There’s nothing wrong with being a three-star brand. Own it if that’s what you are and market to the segment that will respond to that brand. Put out messages and the values of that brand at the three-star level. When a three-star is being a three-star that’s an authentic brand. The same applies the other way around. If you’re a five-star brand, you don’t want to be slipping down to a three-star level and confusing your customers.
Deliver to the expectations that you set. If you’re a three-star trying to be a five-star, you’ll have serious trouble later on.
Just do you. Be proud of you and totally own your brand. If you aren’t clear on what your brand is meant to be, your customers won’t be clear either.
If you’ve listened to me or know me, you know you have to not only create value for your customers but communicate value.
But how do you communicate value?
Well, first of all you need to be able to communicate in a very simple way to your perspective target audience or your customers. You need to be able to communicate what your value is to them. Do this in a very simple sentence.
That sounds easy but it’s actually hard work to get that sentence crafted in a way that’s going to resonate with your clients. But if you can create this sentence, you will have created a short, powerful communication that is what we call your value proposition.
Your clients are going to understand so much more easily why they should do business with you when you can explain clearly how you create value.
Let me give you one example of quite a clever value proposition that explains exactly what the company does, and exactly what the value is to the user in a very short clear sentence. Then use this to model to write your own about your company and what you do and the value you deliver. Think first what is it that you really do, and it’s usually not what you usually say you’re doing. For example, I can say I’m in the copyrighting business, but what does that mean to you? What value am I creating for you with that statement? Nothing.
So you’ve really got to think about what is it that you actually really do for the customer. What is that value that they keep coming back for?
My example is from Evernote, an app that allows you to collate all your information into one platform and be able to file it and organise and sort everything. You may have used it it. If not, check it out. It may be a really useful tool for you.
“Feel organised without the effort.”
Wow! There’s value right there! I’m going to get organised and it’s not going to take me a lot of hard work to get it done. So they’re selling me the value of it being really easy and I don’t have to do anything much but I’m going to get organised. I’m already in.
After that sentence, they say:
“Evernote helps you capture and prioritise ideas projects and to-do lists so nothing falls through the cracks.”
Mind blown again! So now it’s promising me that I won’t forget things like I usually do. I understand exactly how they can create value for me. You can prioritise, you can capture and you can just organise everything so that you forget nothing. That is so valuable and it is said in such a simple way.
Communicate value by being clear on how you create value
The value is crystal clear.
So think about what is it that you really do. Remember, Evernote didn’t start with – “We have an app …” They take a completely different approach. You want to think about what it is that your business really does. How do you really benefit the customer and write your value proposition in a crystal clear way that says in one or two sentences exactly why your customers should buy from you.
It’s the perennial problem for every marketer – how to stand out and get noticed by your prospective customers
Do you have a prospective customer you’ve been chasing for so long and who has been ignoring you? You need to try something maybe a little different than just social media or email marketing. You need to stand out and be noticed!
Now one of the ways to solve the problem of how to stand out and be noticed is to do something different.
It might be doing something old school like putting pen to paper and actually writing to them, you know, sending them a little postcard note of thanks rather than blasting an email.
OK that seems counterintuitive. Nobody writes anymore.
But hey, that’s EXACTLY why you’re going to get noticed.
Because nobody writes anymore, if you’re the person who sits down and writes a nice personal thank-you note to your client or to a potential customer, you’re going to get noticed by them and they will appreciate the extra effort and feel valued.
It’s all about making your clients feel valued. When they feel valued, they’re more likely to stay with you. They’re more likely to buy from you. So try to think of different ways that you can stand out and attract customers by doing things a little differently than everybody else.
How do you get your offer in front of people that will buy from you?
Today I want to cover another misconception that I’ve come across in my 20 years serving business owners. This is an error that a lot of business owners make when they’re trying to market their business. They try to get in front of as many people as possible because they think that the more people that see their ad or offer, the more they will sell.
Well that’s just not necessarily true. You can put your offer out to 100,000 people, but if only 100 of those people actually need or could use your service, you’re just wasting your advertising budget because 900 would never have bought from you anyway. You need to target the people that will buy from you.
So what I want you to think about is not how many people you can get in front of, but how do you get in front of the RIGHT people.
Let me give you an example of what I mean.
A restaurant puts their ad into the local newspaper because they think a lot of people are going to see it because a lot of people buy the newspaper. So they think that people will see the ad and come to the restaurant. They offer a discount voucher to sweeten the deal. The response is low because not everyone reading the newspaper wants to eat at their restaurant.
We suggested instead a Facebook ad targeted at a specific but smaller audience to fill the restaurant at lunchtime – the lowest hanging fruit. The obvious target was business and office workers within a mile radius of the restaurant. Business lunches would be a good offer, with no discount. Just give the audience what they want.
The restaurant ended up being packed each lunchtime. They got a lot more people to respond to the ad even though they targeted fewer people. Their advertising dollars went only on people who would buy from them instead of the whole city, and they didn’t have to drop their prices.
They were successful because now they were actually talking to the right audience and they were filling the need that these people had to have a place to go to entertain their business associates for lunch.
So to get your offer in front of the people who will buy from you, know who will buy from you and target only them. Offer what they want. If you offer what they want, there should be no reason for you to discount your prices.
Stop spraying and praying and instead aim for the bullseye.
I want to touch in this blog on branding for your business and getting you to look at how to create a brand experience your customers will love, whether you have an in-store service business or you are completely online. Either way, you will be offering touch points where your customers get to experience your brand and they all add up to that customer brand experience and ultimately how your customer feels about your brand.
So think about how your are going to create a brand experience that your customers will love.
So why is that so important?
You want to create a brand experience that build that people want to come back. Let me give you an example of that. We all know Starbucks. So, when you go into Starbucks, you know what you’re going to expect:
a comfortable seat to sit in
an easy chair if it’s not too crowded
a table where you can plug in your laptop and work all day
friendly staff that will engage you in chat when you place your order
coffee that’s the same whichever branch I go to
Starbucks has done a great job of creating a reliable brand experience for its customers. It sets the expectations.
But there was just this one time when I went into Starbucks and I didn’t get that experience. It actually made me do a double take and look around to check that the branch hadn’t been taken over by a different brand since my last visit. I can’t be in Starbucks! I thought to myself. But sure enough, it was Starbucks.
What happened was the gentleman behind the counter completely ignored me, didn’t speak to me, didn’t ask for my order (I was at the counter and was the only one there). I soon realised that he was in training and his trainer has walked off and left him alone, and he didn’t know what to do. However, when the trainer and served me, it still wasn’t the usual friendly Starbucks service. And it really made a difference to the experience.
How to create a brand experience at every touch point
So you want to think about your brand and you want to think about the experience that you want to deliver for your clients. How are you going to make that consistent every time so that your customers don’t have a bad experience?
Sure, it’s OK when you are a one man show. You are solely responsible for the experience you create. But when you start to grow and you have a team, how are you going to communicate the brand experience you need them to deliver for you. You’ll need to create a system that helps them to deliver that same brand experience each time. So you want to train your staff on how to speak or communicate to your customers at the different points of contact. It’s not always going to be when they are around you to supervise them. It might be you have staff that go out and go to your client’s offices and visit them there. How should they act on brand? It could be people answering the phone or how they reply to emails. Emails by nature are short communications and the intended message can get lost in their brevity. How do you keep it on brand? How can you create a brand experience that sticks?
Start planning now
So start thinking now about how you will train future staff to make sure that they’re delivering that great brand experience at all touch points.
The bets place to start is to think about what your brand stands for, the values that your brand has and how you are going to communicate that through everything you do in your business so that you don’t end up with a customer wondering if they are in the right place.
Master copywriter and content marketer Ange Dove, AKA Your Business Transformation Fairy Godmother, founded Proof Perfect in 2003 to improve business communication and marketing, one business at a time.
Ange and her Proof Perfect team focus on providing compelling copy backed by powerful visuals to make clients’ content stand out both online and offline.
She is adept at planning strategies for her clients and using the best of today’s technologies to automate their marketing so they can Get Ready, Get Seen, Get Business.
Stay updated on all things business and marketing with my monthly newsletter SIGN UP HERE!