Are your marketing efforts not getting you the results you want? If so, it might be time to step back and reassess your actions. Most savvy entrepreneurs have figured out the basics, but that’s the first place to check if your marketing efforts aren’t working: double-check your basics
Are you focusing on content marketing, providing valuable information rather than pitching your product? As the big guys (like Whole Foods, Ikea, and IBM) have proven, this is the most effective marketing you can do. (I call it “engagement marketing” because engagement with your audience is the goal.)
Are you consistent and persistent? It used to be the “7 times” rule that customers must be exposed to your product or service at least seven times before they notice. In today’s world, when we’re all bombarded 24/7 with input, I’d multiply that by at least seven times!
Are you using social media effectively? I mean, are you using the platforms your potential customers use? Are you “paying to play” to get the most out of it? Are you encouraging interaction (likes and shares)?
When you do all these things — providing good content, staying consistent and using social media correctly — your marketing should be unbeatable!
Unless you’re boring.
People these days have the attention span of a gnat. Unless they are fully engaged and entertained by your marketing, they’ll tune you out. It’s sad but true. Here are a few tips to keep your marketing from putting them to sleep:
1. Focus on their really hot, hot buttons
Your potential customers may have dozens of issues they have to deal with. But what are the ones that keep them up at night (pain points) or get them motivated and excited (strong desires)? All your marketing pieces should be focused on these, not on mildly irritating or interesting issues. We’re all busy, and time is precious. Where are you more likely to spend your precious time? On an article that tells you how to reduce your HR paperwork or one that gives tips on how to make sure you don’t hire a problem employee?
And please, don’t create marketing pieces focused on the features of your product or service. Focus on the benefits to them. You might be thrilled by all the analytics your CRM software provides, but unless you relate that directly to a pain point or intense desire, your community won’t connect. You might know they need your bells and whistles, but they know their desired result. That adage is still true: Sell them what they want, then give them what they need.
2. Use sharp hooks
No matter how much effort you put into your marketing piece, they’ll swipe right past you if you don’t really grab them in the first nano-second. A hook is that snappy start to a video or email that makes people say, “Oh my gosh, I need to know about that!”
It draws them in because it features the pain point or strong desire you’re talking about. Compare these beginnings: “Would you like to know three strategies that will lower your taxes?” compared to “Let’s talk about how financial planning can help people.”
Which beginning draws you in? (By the way, the worst start is: “Hi, I’m George Smith, and I have been advising clients for 20 years about…” Yawn!)
3. Pump up the personality
As an entrepreneur, you’re often the “face” of your company. If people experience the real you, they learn to like you and trust you, which translates into liking and trusting your brand. To make this happen, you need to connect as a human, not a robot. This applies not only to video but to written pieces as well. When writing a blog or article, think conversation, not dissertation.
When doing videos, it’s doubly important to ensure you come through. I’m naturally enthusiastic and extroverted. I talk fast and smile a lot. And I’m definitely not perfect! But by being myself, people get to like me and trust me (and my brand) because they know I’m authentic. (And if they don’t like me? They aren’t the people I’m looking for.)
If you’re more laid back or analytical, that’s fine. But you might need to pump it up to show your audience that you’re passionate about your business and eager to connect with them. Don’t be afraid to use a little humor!
4. Watch your language
I’m not talking about swearing or being off-color (though I’d strongly recommend you avoid those!). I’m talking about using language from your industry that your audience won’t necessarily understand. We’re all guilty of this. To me, phrases like click rates and sales funnels are second nature. But potential students I market to may not know what those mean.
Beware of using terms or acronyms that no one outside your industry would know. It isn’t about “dumbing it down” or not respecting their intelligence. Just keep in mind that your target market doesn’t have your experience or knowledge.
5. Use stories
Using MRI technology, researchers have seen that stories engage more brain parts than facts. A good story makes the point you’re making more memorable. It engages the audience emotionally, and their brains actually “synch” with the storyteller’s brain waves as they try to capture the story’s meaning.
Rather than using snooze-worthy facts, try using an actual story. (If you aren’t a great storyteller, Google “how to tell a great story,” and you’ll get plenty of tips!) If your marketing isn’t getting results, first check your basics. Then make sure your marketing stands out by focusing on hot buttons and hooks, talking in their language, showing lots of personality, and using a good story now and then.
The bottom line is to think of the “5 E’s”: educate, entertain, excite, engage and enthusiasm. By doing this, you can encourage them to take the next step — and they’ll be right with you!