Start connecting. That’s it. End of story.
Anyone who has worked with me has heard me say (a million times) that marketing is not “selling.” No one wants to feel like they're being “sold.” People crave connection. They want to feel seen and understood. Your challenge is to connect with your target audience in a meaningful way. You want to provide them with information that is helpful, beneficial and focused on their needs and desires (not yours).
Recently, I posted to IG one the best descriptions of marketing that I have come across in a while. Renee Blodgett, founder of Magic Sauce Media (TM) and writer of We Blog the World, explains it like this:
“Marketing is an ongoing communications exchange with customers in a way that educates, informs and builds a relationship over time. The over time part is important because only over time can trust be created. With trust, a community builds organically around products and services and those customers become as excited about the products as you are — they become advocates, loyal evangelists, repeat customers and often, friends. Marketing is a really great way to identify what grabs people and gets them excited about your brand and give it to them, involve them in the process, and yeah, the best part, build great friendships in the process.”
While you don’t have to literally become friends with every customer or potential customer, you do need to create and foster an authentic connection with them. Don’t worry all you introverts out there, there are a myriad of ways this can be done (and not all of them include in-person networking). Sure, some people you will connect with in-person at an event or through a friend. Other people will connect with you via social media, and yet others may be reached through a newsletter or blog.
“Emily, I get it, I have to connect with people… but how???”
The “how” is somewhat dependent on who you are, the type of business you have, your personality, and your lifestyle and environment. Here are some simple guidelines that may help.
Do you already have clients?
· If yes, then that’s a great place to start. Begin by deepening the connection with existing clients. Reach out after sessions or after they’ve purchased a product from you to see how they’re feeling and/or how the product is working for them. Then, listen to them, truly listen, and respond appropriately.
· You could also start a newsletter or blog that will reach them on a regular basis to keep them engaged. Include content that is helpful for your audience, links to some of your own favorite resources. It shouldn’t be a hard sell for your products/services. It should be content-driven, fun and a valuable resource, so that they look forward to receiving it. Newsletters can also be a great way to get the word out about any promos you may be running.
Are you just starting out and don’t have clients yet?
· If this is the case for you, no worries! You will get there. Start with friends, family and any co-workers. Let them know about the adventure you’re on, both in person and via social media. That being said, don’t be the jackass who sends messages to old high school friends that seem like you’re trying to reconnect, but are really just trying to sell your latest MLM product. Connect with people in a genuine way.
· You starting your business is part of your story, so tell it. Not as a hard sales pitch, mind you, but just as part of your life story. Friend: “Hi, how are you?” You: “I’m great! I’m actually pretty excited about all the work I’m doing for my new business!” You feel me?
· You could also offer discounted rates to friends and family… or run a refer-a-friend promo. The more people you can connect with about your business, the better!
I also can’t say enough about the trust that Renee mentions. Trust is integral to success. If people don’t trust you, they will never trust your products and services. Do you trust infomercials at 3 AM? No, you don’t. Well… not unless you’re sleep deprived, then everything looks amazing and you really need that new face cream. People trust the recommendations of others, especially people they know. So, make sure that everyone that you’re close to knows the journey you’re on and can help spread the word.
And finally, be authentic. Be you! Don’t try to act a certain way or pretend to be someone you’re not. People can tell when you’re putting on a persona (even over social media)! I know the saying is “fake it till you make it,” but you can’t fake your personality or people will feel it. Yes, not everyone will like you, but that’s ok. You’re not marketing to every person in the world… you’re marketing to people who connect with the real you and who find value in your products and services.
Ok, that wraps up Marketing 101. More to come in the future. I'm here, feel free to email me with any questions!