Some tips to clean up your rotten marketing.
We’ve all done it, reduced a person or concept to a digestible morsel – “he’s just an idiot,” “that’s just rubbish,” “they just believe in woo woo.” Whether you like it or not, you’ve also been slotted into a nice, neat package for someone else’s convenience: “you’re a millennial,” “you’re a white, straight male,” “you earn less than 30k a year, live on the outskirts of a city, and definitely want to receive our next postcard about ways to save big while simultaneously spending more money.”
Ok, the last example is more of a hint as to what we’re about to dive into: how “JUST” ruined us. Yes, I’m referring to it in the context of marketing, and I’m also speaking in context of communication, nurturing culture, and fostering genuine relationships, in life and in business.
You’re not about to get a lecture, however. You need that like you need a hole in the head. What you will get are labels for pesky formulas you’ve seen and likely been annoyed by. And then you’ll receive prompts and tactics for expanding the limit of what you think marketing is all about.
Let’s look at just 5 (of the many) bad, bad and ugly of marketing tricks, and lay it right out in the glaring light. Please, for the sake of your business (and soul), don’t do this:
Be Salesy With Your Ads or Social Media
Just add value, engage in conversation, and educate them about your service.
Make Unsubscribing Difficult
Letting people say “No” first, allows them to reconsider. A false “Yes” or “Where the heck is the friggin unsubscribe button” only have you losing Points as a Pest.
No “Opt In” Option For Receiving Further Offers
Automatically opting in customers when they’re checking out, or when a new client interacts with you or your site is bad form. Again, giving people the opportunity and freedom to say “NO” is liberating. That’s a GOOD feeling. Be associated with that, not “get me out of this straight jacket of spam!!”
Market The Wrong Things to Existing Customers
Badly designed automation is so damaging – it makes your valuable past and present customers feel like you’re not listening to them and that you’re treating them en mass (which you are). They’d rather be ignored than spammed with irrelevant content. Top of mind? More like top of the garbage pile.
Becoming the Boy Who Cried Wolf
All too often businesses create a false sense of urgency with a “Warning”, “Action Required” and “HURRY” when there is nothing actually at stake. That’s one great way to lose trust, fast.
Other cringe-worthy tactics are SMS, pop-ups, click-bait formulas, and hustling on platforms your audience is nowhere near.
Ask yourself this, if your business suddenly went mute…would anyone care? Or worse, would they be relieved?
Great, now that the marketing sins are sizzling in the blinding sun, let’s toss the bleached husks of those tactics to the side and look at what you can adopt that will generate more good-will and loyalty for your brand.
Relentlessly Answer Their Question: Why Should I Care?
Go ahead, personalize your marketing. Do so, however, after carefully studying your clients and why they use your services in the first place. A roofer might think it’s because he’s giving them a new roof. But that can’t be it, when they had the choice of 6 other roofers… so why you? What problems are you actually solving? If you don’t know, just ask a handful of your customers, or study your Google reviews.
Be Worthy of Word-of-Mouth
Do you remember the very first time you started marketing? You did it throughout your childhood, raving about your favourite bubble gum, sharing games, theories about how babies are made, or why it should be your turn. Marketing is only ever just that – sharing something you believe is important. Is your message worth passing around, to a friend or colleague? Is it valuable, funny, interesting, emotional or otherwise a good story?
Define Your Community. Then Find It or Create It
Once you have a grip of who and what your services or products are for, go to where your people gather. And if they’re scattered, create a place for them to gather. It may be a book club, a facebook community page, regular events – whatever it looks like, allow people to not only interact with you, but for them to interact with each other.
Revisit Your Purpose…Constantly
Do I love marketing? NO! Do I love helping business grow? Eh….that’s not really it either. What I love is creating something from nothing, and watching it ripple through the world – and people’s minds – in ways I can’t even fathom. I choose to make that impact positive by only working with businesses I care about. So, do you want to serve “just anyone” and sell “just anything”, or are you willing to reflect for a moment on your bigger why? When you do, you will discover the ember that ignites your message and will do so sustainably, timelessly and in a way that resonates with your people.
Circling back, the thread that ties the good, the bad and the “How do you X out of this bloody ad?!” is your choice between reducing your work and the people you serve to “just” something, or to adopt nuance – time-consuming, overwhelming and sometimes confusing nuance – into your messaging. It’s so simple and so difficult, and that’s why it’s not mainstream. Gimmicks are easier, platitudes are easier. But easy got us here – so how about join us in the movement for more meaningful content? What will your message be today?