Successful brands have passionate followers.
Think Apple. Nike. Whole Foods.
What makes them different? Why are they so successful?
Itâ€™s not just their products.
They know why theyâ€™re in business. Theyâ€™re on a mission. And theyâ€™re not afraid to be different: Their positioning is unique.
They also have enormous marketing budgets. Of course. Thatâ€™s why we all know them.
But the Web allows you to market your business without a huge advertising budget. A few examples:
- The Dollar Shave Club took on marketing giant Gillette with a video costing US$ 4,500, which gained over 7 million views on YouTube;
- Social media tool BufferApp gained 100,000 customers in 9 months almost exclusively by guest posting – writing for other blogs;
- An eco-resort in Belize gains 80% of its business by publishing a blog about travel in Belize. This blog gets them ranked in Google for many keyword phrases.
The old way of marketing still works. But interrupting people to attract attention to your brand is expensive.
The Web allows you to market your business in a different way â€“ either as replacement for the old way, or complementary to it.
The new way to market your business requires enchanting content. Content that delights, entertains, or supports your target customers. Content that gets found when your customers search for information on Google. Content that gets shared, liked, tweeted, and plussed.
How can you create enchanting content to market your business online?
Follow these three steps:
- Develop your brand personality. Become fascinating.
- Change your attitude from pure selling to helping people select and buy. Create content thatâ€™s helpful, engaging, and entertaining.
- Use email marketing or social media to engage with and sell to your audience.
Letâ€™s have a look developing your brand personality first:
How to become an enchanting company
- Define your mission. Not a boring mission statement, but a real commitment to why youâ€™re in business. What are you passionate about? And why?
- Be different. You have to stand out to attract passionate customers.
- Be human. People donâ€™t connect with companies. People engage with other people.
- Develop a unique tone of voice. How chatty do you want to be? Which words express your companyâ€™s culture? And which should be banned?
- Share stories. Because stories fascinate. Stories engage. Stories are far more interesting than dull product specifications. And more memorable. Talk about the challenges your business has overcome. Explain why youâ€™re in business. Tell stories about how your product is manufactured or why you developed it.
- Use familiar language. Please cut gobbledygook like best-in-class, world-leading, and cutting-edge. If a word doesnâ€™t have a real meaning, just skip it. Donâ€™t sound like a company. Sound like a human.
- Be passionate. Because your passion is contagious.
- Stop bragging. Let your customers decide how great your service or your product is.
- Donâ€™t use drab stock photography. Because it makes you look like everyone else. Surely, the people working at your company are real? Or do you download staff from the Web?
- Exceed expectations. Do you know a better way to gain enthusiastic customers who spread the word about you?
How to sell without being a sleazy sales man
A hard sell can put people off. Thatâ€™s the same online as face-to-face.
Donâ€™t give the impression youâ€™re trying to sell something nobody needs. Like a stereotypical used car salesman. Pushy. Dishonest. Sleazy.
Instead, build trust online. Become recognized as an authority; a helpful source of information; a trusted advisor.
How can you build your reputation? How can you sell without scaring potential customers away? And how can you inspire your customers to buy?
Follow these fifteen tips to create content that Google will like, and your audience will love.
- Understand your audience. What are their objections to buying from you? What questions do they have? What words do they use?
- Be helpful. Create a buyersâ€™ guide. Help people select a product rather than sell to them.
- Answer questions. Create the most comprehensive FAQ section of your industry.
- Be newsworthy. Comment on industry news. Or inject your ideas into breaking news.
- Quote experts. Because it will enhance your status. But remember to give credit.
- Have an opinion. Donâ€™t just relay the facts. Have something to say. And become a thought leader.
- Provide testimonials. Let others explain how good you are. But make sure your testimonials donâ€™t sound too sugary.
- Share case studies. Because it helps people imagine what itâ€™s like to work with you; or what itâ€™s like to use your product.
- Include visuals such as photos, drawings, graphs, posters, info-doodles, or infographics. Visuals are more shareable than written content. And more memorable.
- Interview others. Because itâ€™s a quick way to produce more content.
- Be honest. Donâ€™t lie about the downsides of your products. Donâ€™t hide your weaknesses. Your customers look for honest, trustworthy advice.
- Donâ€™t focus on features. Instead talk about what problems you solve. Because problems attract attention.
- Anticipate objections. And make sure you address them all.
- Energize. Use emotional words to let your passion shine through. Inspire people.
- Donâ€™t be afraid to ask for the sale. But ask at the right moment. If your customer is not ready to buy, why not sign him up to your email newsletter?
How to engage customers with email marketing
A potential customer arrives at your website; has a look around and likes what he sees. But heâ€™s not ready to buy. So he leaves your website to read a newspaper online. Or check out some blogs. Or even worse â€“ check out your competitorsâ€™ websites.
Youâ€™ve lost your potential customer. Heâ€™s gone. And he may never return to your website. And he may never buy anything from you.
What can you do instead? How can you keep hold of this potential customer?
Sign your customer up to your email newsletter. Email is an excellent marketing tool.
According to the DMAâ€™s survey, email generates USD28.50 for every dollar spent. ~ Ken Maghill
Follow these eleven tips to use email to engage, build trust, and sell:
- Maximize sign-ups. Have several sign-forms on your website. And promote your email newsletter via social media.
- Sign people up off line. Collect email addresses at exhibitions. Promote your email newsletter in store. But don’t email without permission.
- Give a reason to sign up. Provide exclusive information or email-only promotions.
- Explain what to expect. Will subscribers receive an email monthly, weekly, or daily?
- Send people a welcome email. You also welcome people when they arrive at your office or store, donâ€™t you?
- Share tips. Donâ€™t just sell. Develop a relationship. Share useful information or be entertaining.
- Be personal. Donâ€™t use a do not reply email address. If suitable, use a personâ€™s name as the sender.
- Write to one person. Because nobody likes being addressed as part of crowd. Imagine writing to just one person and your emails will become friendlier, more personal, and more engaging.
- Mix things up. Try a text-only email. Or a picture-only email.
- Have a clear call-to-action. Ask people to connect. Ask them to reply. Or ask them to buy.
How to gain trust using social media
Social media activity can humanize your business.
Social media can amplify your message â€“ but only if you have something valuable to say. Because your message can get easily lost in the noise.
If youâ€™re bland nobody will notice you. If you sound like a company, nobody will connect. If you tweet like a robot, nobody will engage.
You have to be human. Be helpful. Be interested. And be interesting.
Follow these eleven tips to become personal on social media. And more effective.
- Listen. Lurk. Observe. Donâ€™t jump in straight away. Understand the etiquette of a platform before joining the conversation.
- Be humble. Youâ€™re more fascinating if you talk less about your company.
- Be interested. Show people you care. Ask questions. And answer queries. Be helpful.
- Contribute to the discussion. Provide valuable comments. Donâ€™t be afraid to have an opinion.
- Promote others. Social media isnâ€™t another advertising channel. Itâ€™s more like a networking event. A noisy, giant networking event.
- Show up. Scheduling tools are great, but donâ€™t completely rely on them. Interact in real time.
- Connect with influencers such as bloggers, journalists, and industry experts. How? Be a good egg and be interesting, but donâ€™t stalk.
- Write guest posts. Write for other blogs your audience reads. And as a bonus you’ll gain valuable links for Google.
- Add personality. Donâ€™t worry about mistakes. Youâ€™re human. And humans make mistakes. Thatâ€™s fine. Just acknowledge errors and say sorry.
- Have fun. Yep. Thatâ€™s important. Be passionate. And enjoy yourself. Because thatâ€™s when people want to join your party.
The truth about enchanting marketing
Iâ€™d love to tell you itâ€™s easy to be enchanting. Iâ€™d love to tell you there are shortcuts. Iâ€™d love to tell you to follow a few simple formulas.
But I canâ€™t tell you that. Because Iâ€™m being honest with you.
Creating enchanting content requires energy, and creativity, and hard work. Most of all, you need to understand your target customers. You need to dream their dreams. Share their pain. And talk their talk.
Itâ€™s tough. But utterly rewarding.
Create enchanting content and your customers will like it, share it, tweet it, plus it, and pin it. Youâ€™ll gain enthusiastic customers who spread the word for you. And Google will reward you with more web traffic. More potential customers. And more business.
It might be tough, but itâ€™s worth it.
What do you think?