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Articles filed in: Marketing
The path to success is not simply determined by the ability to have great ideas. The capacity to understand their relevance in the world, to customers, (real people) and to sell that, is what makes a product, service, cause or idea fly.
The MP3 player is one of the best examples of a situation where being first with the idea didn’t matter one jot. Lots of people came selling their tech and spec before Apple launched the iPod. They just didn’t tell a compelling story. People can’t fall in love with 32MB and user interfaces.
But “1000 songs in your pocket.” Now that’s compelling!
The path to success is littered with great ideas poorly marketed
Compelling is empowering people to take action.
“You’ve got to get on the phone and take the money out of your pocket. Don’t go to the pub tonight. PLEASE! Stay in and give us the money. There are people dying NOW! So give me the money.”
Bob Geldof on Live Aid
Compelling is telling people to, love where they live, rather than asking them to buy your flat pack furniture and a red cushion they probably don’t need.
Compelling is Mickey balloons on Main Street at dusk.
And compelling is you amplifying your passion enough to tell people why you’re different and what that difference could mean to them.
Image by Samantha Decker.
It wasn’t going to be cheap, but Anna figured that she’d outsource all of her online marketing to a company who knew what they were doing. She’d spent the past two years working really hard to build her service business offline, and was hugely successful at converting customers face to face. Now in a phase of expansion and growth, Anna decided to target strangers as well as friends.
The five figure marketing company came in and rebuilt her websites. They optimised everything to within an inch of its life, making sure that search engines would love, and more importantly find Anna. Her website visits increased, but her visitors didn’t stick around and crucially they didn’t bother to pick up the phone or email either. Anna was stumped, she’d done everything right, but she began to think that her business wasn’t capable of converting people she’d never met, or who hadn’t been recommended to her. She was wrong. Blinded by a marketing tactic, Anna had forgotten one thing.
Behind every website traffic statistic
is a human being who wants to matter
Anna’s website might be optimised for search engines, but it wasn’t optimised for soul and emotion. Everything that Anna knew about connecting with people offline had been stripped out of her online presence and that mattered to potential customers.
Google can’t really optimise what the non-average, exceptional, client you would kill for wants to buy. Google can’t optimise your purpose, your heart or your soul, your art or judgement, your professionalism, enthusiasm or intention. It’s your job to give people a sense of that even if you’ve never met them.
How are your optimising for soul and emotion? What kind of SEO are you doing?
Image by Alexandra Galvis.
Seth Godin’s writing and work continues to inspire marketers and brand storytellers, after more than a decade. I’ve done a deep search through the archives of his blog and uncovered some gems, that you may have missed (some haven’t even been retweeted). Bookmark and enjoy!
Seth Godin on the Internet
We wish Google didn’t exist
Why wishing isn’t a good business strategy and three things to focus on.
Vocabulary: “Landing Page”
Landing pages are direct marketing in action.
Different kinds of traffic
Why you want better and not just more traffic.
How to get traffic to your blog
56 gems that will get you thinking again.
10 Things programmers might want to know about marketers
Your products are worthless without marketing.
Seth Godin on Marketing
Farming and hunting
Which is better for your business?
Understanding the funnel
Shouldn’t you be treating your customers differently?
Your job is to amplify interest, not create it.
What consumers want
It’s not what you think.
The culture of dissatisfaction
Why relationships matter.
Edges and clusters
Getting away from the sweetspot.
The best problems have an easy solution.
Seth Godin on Leadership
Do you want to be that person?
It’s good to be king
You weren’t awarded the right to attention.
A lesson learned at the mall
Investing in more than the minimum.
Leadership is now the strongest marketing strategy
Your job is to do the connecting.
Seth Godin on Ideas
How do I license a great idea?
Sometimes it’s simply how you tell it.
Why are you afraid of process?
Is process underrated?
What makes an idea viral?
It’s not what matters to the originator.
Selling Ideas to a big company.
Two important things to consider.
What are your favourite Seth posts and why?
Image by Dave Durden.
In the factories we make perfume but in the stores we sell hope. ~ Charles Revlon
What makes clients become regulars and turns customers into evangelists? Most of the time it isn’t what you wrap up for them to take home.
Do you sell photographs or memories? Does your cafe sell coffee or lifestyle? Does your book store sell information or community? Does your pharmacy sell pills or empathy?
At Disney World they don’t sell rides, they sell magic. Zappos sells wow, not just shoes. Pandora sells memories, never charms.
Image by Billie Hara.
Put your products, service, website, signage, business cards, every touch point to a simple test. Stand in your customer’s shoes and answer one question:
what are three things that compel you to say, I love this? ~ Kevin Roberts
You can’t go wrong with your brand story and marketing, if you truly are putting your customer’s feelings front and centre. Put your energy into creating a product or service that people, (maybe not everyone, but enough people) love, and want to buy into.
Here are the only metrics you need.
- Did she love it?
- Will she come back?
- Why not?
Imagine mattering to the world this much.
Image by Steve Rhodes.
Kate is a gifted designer, a true artist. She spends hours foraging through discarded treasures finding just the right fabrics, that others would hardly notice. She lovingly puts them together in her studio, late into the night and creates one beautiful cushion. This cushion is unique, there isn’t another like it in the whole world. It’s got history. It’s been made by someone who appreciates beauty, who doesn’t want to spend her life just working to pay the bills at the end of the week. It contains a tiny piece of Kate’s soul. And every day it stays in her online store, not having found a home, a little piece of Kate’s soul dies.
“I don’t want to do marketing,” she protests. “I just want to create my art, artists don’t market.”
Your art is worthless without a place to call home.
Artists market every day, because they have no choice. They understand the value of their art is not just in the work and love that went into it, but in the pleasure it gives once it’s got somewhere to live, hands to hold it and people to share it. Artists find ways to tell stories about what they do, with website copy, and colour, stories and blogs. They find ways to make people laugh and cry, believe and covet. To reach into their hearts and create an emotional connection, with a book, a piece of fabric, a photograph, a design or idea. The best artists market to save their own soul, so they can keep doing the thing that matters.
Marketing is part of your art now.
Image by Michael Summers.
Your about page is one of the most visited pages on your website. It’s the place where prospective customers decide if you’re right for them, and your best chance to convert more website visits to enquiries and more enquiries to customers. That’s why your about page copy is the most important sales copy you’ll ever write.
How To Write A Compelling About Page
1. Know who you’re talking to.
Customer insight is your superpower. You are at your most persuasive when you understand your customer’s unmet needs. Your about page copy should reflect that.
2. Don’t just lead with the facts.
Facts alone don’t persuade. People want to hear your story. Make your website a window, not a wall.
3. Share your values.
Tell people who you are and what you believe.
4. Show yourself.
Build trust by adding a professional photo to your bio and about page. People buy from people. Your potential clients want to see the person behind the business.
5. Tell the story of your professional journey.
Share how you got to where you are today. Help your website visitors to understand how you know what you know.
6. Tell people how you can help them.
Be specific, add links to products and services.
7. Demonstrate how you’ve provided solutions for others.
Link to your portfolio, projects or client case studies.
8. Help people to understand the benefits of working with or buying from you.
Add client testimonials and stories about how you work.
9. Add calls to action and a contact link.
Your about page should not only provide information and build trust, but it must also call potential clients to take action.
10. Don’t make it all about you.
Think about why you’re writing your about page in the first place and how you want the reader to feel when she’s done reading it.
*Bonus* Write like you speak.
Sometimes in our attempt to sound professional, we use words that distance us from prospective customers. The goal is to build trust and to stand out by being and sounding like who you are. Avoid the jargon that everyone else uses at all costs!
Get the guide that’s helped hundreds of business owners to write an about page that works.
It’s clear that the company’s founder Zoe has spent time getting to know her audience. Every word on this about page says, ‘I see you’ to the reader.
James tells readers exactly what they are going to get, and his home page is one of the best examples of an email sign up embedded in an about page that I’ve seen. He not only tells people what to expect, but he also shows them what to do using great calls to action.
They know that the about page is the start of a conversation and a huge part of their marketing strategy—it shows.
Michael informs the reader about what they can expect to learn from him and the value he creates for his audience.
He builds trust in several great ways, using photos, information about his professional and personal life, achievements and subscriber numbers.
A great example of an about page that communicates purpose builds trust and helps a prospective customer to know what to do next with calls to action.
If you’re a camera company what better way to tell your story than to use video.
Your about page is a key part of your marketing strategy. Don’t waste this opportunity to connect with your prospective customers.
Ready to get your about page working for you?
PRICE $37 USD
Image by Looking 4 Poetry
Back in the 80’s when U2 were starting out they knew they were singing for me, and the 520 other girls at my school. It didn’t matter that they wrote songs that didn’t resonate with my mother. They knew that we drew their album graphics with a Bic Biro on our canvas school bags and scribbled their name on our exercise books during boring history lessons.
Who are you creating for?
Who will kill for your designs? Who is going to buy your book or schedule a consultation. Who will understand your message? Hand on heart, do you really know?
It’s so easy to overlook this when you’re building your business and crafting your brand.
The creation part, building the thing, scoping out the spec and writing the sales page is hard enough. So with blind faith we sometimes believe that because we perceive a need and work of filling it, that if we build it they will come. Maybe they will, but the thing is if you create something with a specific audience in mind then even laying the foundations of your idea becomes so much easier.
Start by knowing your audience, then build the idea just for them
Call it what you will, target audience, niche market or client avatar. The label is irrelevant, the purpose is to understand the human being(s) behind that label. That understanding of your audience turns needs into wants and means that you no longer have to use the megaphone to reach them. They will begin to hear you from whispering distance.
One of the best target audience descriptions I’ve ever read was written by John Locke. He’s the guy who sold over a million ebooks in five months, so I guess knowing who he’s talking to hasn’t worked so badly for him. Here’s some of what he wrote:
“The people who love my books love everyday heroes. They are compassionate people who root for the underdog, but are drawn to the outrageous and have a dry sense of humour. They are all ages but a surprising number are professional men and women above the age of 50. More than 70% are women. My readers are much more intelligent than you might think, many are doctors nurses and business leaders.
Those who like my books tend to be busy people who are frazzled and stressed out beyond the point of no return. They’ve read their share of high brow books, but these days they mostly read to relax with a fast paced easy read that makes them laugh out loud. My readers are smarter than my heroes and they know it. They like the small bit of research I do. They don’t want to be educated but they love to learn one or two unusual facts along the way they can pass on in conversations at dinner.
My readers are renegades they like things editors hate, light character descriptions and almost no detail about settings. They know I’m not trying to save the world or write meaningful literature that kids might have to study in school someday. They know the sole purpose of my writing is to make them smile or laugh for a few hours on a day when they need it most, and they like that about me.”
How would your products be different if you sat down and created a client avatar like this? Often the hardest thing isn’t finding the problem to solve, but finding the people to solve that problem for.
Image by Danny Hammontree.
The beauty of running your own business is that there is almost nothing you can’t do, if you really want to. The fact that there are no rules may have been one of the reasons why you started your business in the first place! Being unconventional makes you stand out and amplifies your message to the people who want to hear it.
Chris Guillebeau is an entrepreneur, writer and the author of The Art of Non-Conformity. His unconventional business is enabling him to live his dream of visiting every country in the world, (he’s at 150 and counting). When he began writing his blog Chris didn’t have a business goal in mind. His business evolved when the community who loved his writing and ideas, began to ask the same questions again and again. In this interview Chris shares some of his principles for building a successful unconventional business.
Image by Farouq Taj.
The business plan for the social web is….. that you just never know ~ Mark Schaefer
I’ve been talking a lot lately about having the courage to bring more of yourself into your work, bio, about pages and your online presence. I’m not talking about the traditional perception that many people have of ‘personal branding’ which is likened to putting lipstick on a pig. I want to encourage you to amplify the very best of what you’ve got, the ‘real’ you.
The bottom line is this, your biggest point of differentiation is the fact that you are different. You’ve got a unique set of experiences, your own voice, perspectives, values and opinions. Talk about stating the obvious! The thing is that I can almost certainly guarantee that you haven’t turned up the volume on your differences enough. And once you start expressing those in your business magical things happen. They did for my guest Mark Schaefer who I was thrilled to have the opportunity to speak a couple of weeks ago (link to the audio of our interview at the bottom of this post).
Mark writes the hugely popular marketing blog Business Grow. He is a marketing and social media expert with more than 28 years of experience under his belt and author of the Tao of Twitter. Mark has successfully grown his business online by having the courage to be himself and tapping into his unique experience, values, personality, and heart. Some of the things we touch on in this interview are:
- Why traditional marketing skills still work online
- How to be successful using social media by following your instincts
- Why your unique perspective is actually your point of differentiation
- The secret to finding your target market ~ it’s not what you think
- Why approaching social media from a sales mindset is a bad idea
Image by Frozen Capybara