Marketing and business is always evolving, especially in the digital age, however the events of the last few years have accelerated change faster than ever.
As the Covid pandemic swept the planet, lockdowns and social distancing meant that the way we did business had to change quickly in order to survive.
Our customers became adept at researching and buying online. Services that were once offered in-person suddenly became virtual. The way we work, travel, shop and entertain ourselves changed almost overnight.
For many this was catastrophic. Many businesses simply became less viable and many are still only just getting by.
But for others a new world of opportunity opened up. (more…)
I met with a potential new client this week. They approached me about a specific marketing activity but I quickly knew that this wasn’t their real need.
How did I know that?
I asked them the same question I ask every business owner I speak to…”What do you do?”
For the next 5 minutes they explained their new business to me. At they end they asked me, “Does that make sense?”
Nope. Clear as mud.
It’s a problem I encounter almost every day. Most business owners aren’t actually very good at explaining their own business in a succinct and meaningful way.
That 5 minute explanation should have taken 5 seconds. Ten seconds at most.
Until they get that message right, the rest of their marketing will struggle to be effective.
Your short explanation should quickly identify who you help and what problem you solve for them. It shouldn’t be about you.
If that quick elevator pitch hits the mark they’ll definitely want to know more. Like, how you do it…what is your process / system / difference.
When someone asks me what I do for a crust, I could say I run a digital marketing agency…we do strategy, SEO, Adwords, lead generation funnels, websites etc. And their eyes would glaze over and they’d lose interest very quickly.
Instead, I tell them that “I help small to medium business owners attract more of their ideal customers sooner.”
That usually leads to them asking how I do that. Then I can explain my process.
I know that they don’t really want a digital marketing agency. They don’t want Adwords. They don’t want SEO. They don’t want all the mysterious and technical stuff we do.
But they do want more of the right customers. And they’d like to get them ASAP.
The thing is that most people aren’t as passionate about your product or service as you are. And they probably don’t understand (or even care about) the technical aspects of your business.
They’re more interested in whether it solves their “problem”. Does it make their life better or easier?
In order to explain that you need to dig deep on your ideal target market and understand their real needs as they relate to your business.
You need to imagine that “what do you do” actually means “how can you help me?”
Crafting a good message isn’t easy.
It takes time. It takes real insight into your audience.
But it is one of the most important things you can do.
I come across this almost every day when talking to business owners. In fact, I saw a perfect (bad) example of it yesterday.
I was talking to a business owner I have known for many years. He has a good wholesale business with a high quality product for the hospitality industry. But his marketing has always been more miss than hit and he desperately needs to grow his customer base.
The reason for that is that he gets roped into tactics by people who might mean well but have very little idea about how to get him more customers.
The latest example is signing up with an agency to create and post content. They’re posting on his Facebook and Instagram pages and on his website. I’ve seen the content…it’s nice, it’s cute and I’m sure it’ll make him feel good for a few weeks.
But it won’t land him any new customers. In fact, I predict in 6 or 12 months he will wonder why he has paid this agency so much money but his business hasn’t grown. Again.
Because these are just tactics.
Pretty little tactics, done nicely, but with no real effect.
What he needs is a marketing strategy.
A strategy that…
– identifies his ideal customers
– has an insight into their “real” needs and desires
– communicates clearly how he can help them address these needs and desires
– has a mechanism to move these people from passive “viewers” to interested leads
– a way to nurture the relationship until they are ready to buy
– and a “Hero Product” that makes it easier to start doing business with him
Once he has a strategy like this…then they can plug in the best tactics to achieve their goals.
I’m working with another client who services the same industry with a different offering. They get an average of 215 new leads every month with their marketing strategy. These are names and addresses of ideal clients who have genuine potential to become paying customers soon. And a nice percentage of them do. Every single month.
Meanwhile, my friend with the pretty posts and aimless tactics receives an average of 5-10 “Likes”and 1 “share” per post.
Not everyone who visits your website is ready to buy today.
In fact, there are three types of people that come to your website: visitors, warm leads, and hot prospects.
You need to provide a different offer for each one of these groups. I like to set them up like traffic lights – green, orange, red.
First, there are visitors. They are cold traffic and they are skeptical. The best offer for visitors is the “green offer”. For me a green offer is usually a lead magnet — the free thing that we give away in return for an email address.
The onset of the pandemic saw two types of businesses: those caught like a rabbit in the headlights, and others who made rapid changes to suit the times and their audience.
The most nimble businesses are those who know their audience extremely well. They understood their needs and they knew how this crisis would affect them. They were also able to communicate with them quickly and effectively due to their valuable databases.
If the most valuable thing your business can have is guaranteed regular customers, then the second most valuable asset is a long list of potential customers who you can nurture.
Most advertisers make the fundamental mistake of spending most of their time and money trying to drive people to their website and convincing them to buy “now”.
But “now” is not the same for everybody. It is very important to appreciate that, while many people might be interested in your offering, they might not be ready to act yet. So why ignore them and waste your advertising only speaking to those who are ready today?