Marketing Matters to Your Bottom Line
Avoid Marketing Time Wasters
If you?ve been in business online for any time at all, I bet you?ve seen your share of marketing headlines, such as ?
- 21 Ways to Spread the Word About Your Business
- 10 Surefire Ways to Get Found Online
- 18 Ways to Market Your Online Business
- 101 Resources for Marketing Your Business
These are absolute time wasters, guaranteed to overflow your daily to-do list and make your marketing efforts less effective than before you read the list of ?helpful? advice.
If you go down any of these lists you?ll find tips such as, ?Share Your Work on Facebook.? We?re all doing that anyway. But what makes these generic lists even more dangerous is that it is marketing for marketing?s sake. There?s no plan behind it, there?s no strategy, and there?s certainly no way to take control of your marketing here. Anyone could do those lists of things and millions already are. It?s just white noise.
There are three foundational rules to marketing that matters.
- Consistent Message
- Customer Focus
- Long-term Strategy
A Consistent Message
Because it exists online, your business is sending a perpetual message to the world whether you set it up intentionally or not. As you sit here reading this post, that message is being spread for you.
That?s the beauty of online business, but it can also be the curse of it. What is your business saying for you if your updates appear ?
- mismatched, or
Quite a bit, I imagine. What you put into your business, it puts out to the world. Nobody wants a stale offer that?s been ignored by others and is now gathering dust on the virtual shelves of your business? storeroom.
All people, including your customers, are susceptible to a phenomenon called ?change blindness.? It means we cannot see that which does not move. It’s like when you are driving along a highway and you suddenly catch the movement of a deer in your peripheral vision. You were essentially blind to the sidelines before that deer moved.
When we apply that concept to your customer, it is safe to assume that if you?re not moving toward them, they?re not thinking about your business at all.
Because of this consistent movement is necessary for marketing success. The underlying movement between buyer and seller is the best part of the business. It?s a dance, and it can be perfectly choreographed to create maximum enjoyment for all.
But if you?re not already dancing, they can?t join in. You?re always the lead partner.
That?s why you want to send a consistent message. It should always be seeding future growth in the relationship between you and the customer. The heart of your communication should be the answers to these two questions:
- ?What specifically are you promising the customer?
- ?How does your offer serve them?
For example, I offer my clients website maintenance and design that helps them to grow their business online. My website offers free advice and informational articles on those topics. My Instagram demonstrates actual planning and growth strategies from my journal. My Pinterest account is geared toward a well-designed life and business. My Facebook conversations revolve around profit- and growth-related topics.
A Customer-Centric Focus
Marketing is not about what you want from the customer. That?s a me-centric approach and part of the frantic scramble for sales. And why are online entrepreneurs scrambling? Easy! Because ?
- I want more sales!
- I need more traffic!
- I want your email address!
- I want a reliable income for myself, and I want this business to provide it!
If you listen closely, that?s what makes up the white noise of all the daily scrambling taking?place online. It starts with, ?I want your ?? and it ends with ?money in my pocket.? Anyone can say that. We?re all saying that!
Instead, customer-centric marketing is about the solution you have to offer, and how it will meet the customer?s needs.
To stand out on a crowded internet, shift your headspace to a place of giving. In business, as in life, you wouldn?t want to get to know anyone who made everything all about themselves. Figure out how to nurture a natural give-and-take friendship between you and your customers, and you?ll be a best-seller for sure.
In the first post, I mentioned that you?re a tiny speck in a vast and ever-expanding space, as we all are in the internet business. But when we zoom in closer, let?s imagine your speck has the unlimited potential to grow and fill all the empty space around it.
Your marketing system is all of your outreach efforts in orbit. With your marketing efforts, you will create an eccentric force (a push that creates a rotational movement) by creating a consistent message that attracts the right customers. The more customers you attract and retain (orbiting your business), the more powerful its gravitational pull.
The most exciting thing about an effective marketing system is that it makes the right customers want to populate your business. Your customers will never belong to your business, but they will feel as though your business belongs to them.
Your customer doesn?t care about you or what you want, and your marketing will not take off until you fully understand their motives. Instead, the customer is always asking, ?What?s in it for me??
Listen to this advice from Scientific Advertising written by Claude Hopkins in the 1920?s:
?Remember the people you address are selfish, as we all are. They care nothing about your interests or your profit. They seek service for themselves. Ignoring this fact is a common mistake and a costly mistake in advertising. Ads say in effect, ?Buy my brand. Give me the trade you give to others. Let me have the money.? That is not a popular appeal.?
Think about your own shopping habits. Do you make purchases with the business owner in mind? Of course not! But you do buy from businesses you feel ?get you? in style, presentation, and offer.
You must get to know your customers just the same, if not better. To do so, you?ll need to create an in-depth ideal customer profile. It starts off as guesswork and a general idea, sure, but it evolves over time into business relationships.
You won?t know everything there is to know about your ideal customer right now, but start to get to know them anyway. They?re important.
The hardest thing about online business is weathering the slow seasons. There will be times when it feels as though you?re talking and no one?s listening, you?re selling and no one?s buying or you?re reaching but no one?s connecting. Keep doing it anyway.
In this series, I?m going to help you build and launch your own marketing strategy. Once you get started, it?s important NOT to give up no matter how you feel about your business, because how you feel is not an accurate measuring stick for success.
Your commitment is the only thing that can guarantee your strategy wins.
Together, we?re going to create an online machine that will attract new visitors, engage them, and convert them into actual paying customers?automated to run in your absence. That said, you?re still the wizard behind the curtain.
The Buying Process
Before we dive into marketing, let?s understand how the customer comes to find your business online. First, let?s look at the buying process in the physical world. When you leave your house to go shopping for a specific item in an actual store, you ?
- enter the store,
- scan the aisles for what you want,
- spot the item you?re looking for,
- pick it up and handle it, and
- decide to buy.
Now, we?ll look at the buying process for online shopping, which is somewhat similar.
When you shop online, you ?
- search for the product you want,
- scan the website,
- click on the item that interests you,
- read about it, and
- decide to buy.
Regardless of where you?re checking out?store, website, or online storefront?what?s important to notice is the underlying movement of the buying process. There?s a pull, a driving force, a strong desire toward the product, and then later, the decision to buy.
It?s time to make this process the best experience imaginable for your ideal customer.