Why you should treat marketing like dating

Most business owners keep walking up to strangers and asking to marry them. You wouldn’t do this on a first date. So why are you doing it with your marketing? You need to stop putting out an ad for your services and expecting people to just buy. So how do you change your marketing, so it is engaging and builds trust?

How many touchpoints?

The old adage is that it takes 7 touchpoints before someone is willing to buy from you. However, this is from the days of direct marketing where the salesman was in control and there were limited options to research. With the advent of the internet and social media, the number of touchpoints before someone trusts you enough to buy your services is only going up. People can easily go online and compare your services with other local businesses, or even someone on the other side of the world. Advertising has become personalised, social platforms gather vast amounts of information about you and your buying habits. They use advanced machine learning software to serve up ads you are most likely to engage with and ultimately buy that service.  

The traditional linear journey of awareness, then consideration, then to sales is no longer the case. A recent study by Google showed that people’s journeys can be hugely varied, with widening their searches, narrowing, comparing different brands and even repeating the entire process. Even searching for the perfect candy can result in 20 different touchpoints across different searches for types of candy, looking at specific stores and finding out every detail before going to the store to buy. If you take a look at an example of buy headphones, the number of touchpoints goes over 375! People want to know every detail about an expensive product before they buy. They will look at video’s, reviews, go on store pages, check out comments made on social media  and make sure the specifications are an exact fit to what they want. The only way possible to keep up with supplying this much information is to have it available online and have automated systems.

Traditional Advertising

Even with everyone being exposed to this, so many people are stuck in the mindset of old school marketing techniques. Print and TV ads are all about the direct sale. Come buy my stuff. This method is now not only expensive, but ineffective. Just think, now many times in the last year have you watched the ads on TV, without picking up your phone and look at social media. Targeted ads will not only reduce your advertising costs but will create more trust with potential customers as you demonstrate you understand them, right from the first time they hear about you.

TV advertising in Australia was a $3.76 billion industry in 2018. Currently there a lot of the larger traditional brands who are pulling away from digital advertising and returning to TV ads as they have not found it to be effective and have the fear that they cannot completely control how everything is displayed. Don’t be fooled by this statement and think that digital marketing is not effective. Remember that the majority of the people in their marketing and advertising departments will have worked on traditional direct marketing their entire career. Their thinking is to create a broad message that appeals to a large audience, and just repeat the same thing over and over. Once they have social marketing figured out, that a bit portion of that TV budget is going to be moved across to social, and we’re no longer going to be able to compete within that space either. So let’s get this right before they do.

What people misunderstand about social media

People on social media don’t want to be advertised to, it’s just tolerated as part of the deal. People consider their feeds as personal, and sometimes even to the point of being private. How comfortable are you at letting someone else browse your feed, do you feel like you’re snooping if you look at a friend’s? If you interrupt the feed, which is made up of friends and pages they already trust with a direct sales message, it’s going to feel like a violation. That you (a stranger) have forced yourself into their personal space. 

This is where you need to reset how you think about social. Where the penny drops for most people is in realising that social media is all about creating connections. I’m not talking about getting as many “likes” as possible. But having real, meaningful human connections. Everything you do within social media should be aimed at starting a conversation and engaging with real people. Even posting as a business, you need to show you are human, and not a faceless brand.

What do you clients need help with?

So where does this leave us now, how do we move forward? Start by thinking about your ideal clients. Who have you worked with in the past that you had a massive outcome for them and you loved the work you did for them? Now put yourself in their shoes and think back to just before you started working with them. What were their biggest problems, what was holding them back from growing their business, what information were they searching for? Now have a think about all the conversations and emails you had with them before they trusted you enough to sign with you. Was there any information you wish they understood so you didn’t spend your time explaining the basics? How much easier would it have been if all you had to do was talk about the outcomes you could give them, if they already knew and trusted your methodology? Finally, what other products and services do you offer after you have finished your initial work? If you have several secondary services you offer, like me you might find that after posting about them, you have existing clients come to you saying that they didn’t know you did that.

By this point you should have a list of problems your clients have. The next step is to create content which solves their problems. “Now hold up”, I hear you say, “are you telling me to give away my knowledge for free?”. This is exactly what I am saying. Long gone are the days where you need to find an expert to find out how to do things. Just type in “how to..” into YouTube and you’ll find a video explaining how to do almost anything. Now wouldn’t it be great if it was one of your videos that people watched?

Solving someone’s problem before you have even spoken to them is one of the best ways to get a new customer. It doesn’t need to be a complex problem, but by giving away all your trade secrets and explaining them in a simple way that people can implement, creates trust. The people who take all those ideas and implement them by themselves were never going to be a client in the first place. The people who go away, implement one or two ideas, see they work, but don’t have the time or expertise to implement the rest, that’s who you want.

Create a video

This is where videos come in. Over 40% of global shoppers say they have purchased products they discovered on YouTube. By ignoring video, you are missing out on a huge potential of new customers. So, what you talk about? How do you do it? Are you nervous about putting your face out there? By this point, what you talk about should be easy. You have a list of your client’s problems and you are the expert in your field. Then depending on your objective, and where you are planning on using the video you can either make a “how to” video or name the problem head on and then give the solution. Everyone now has access to a suitable video camera, just use your phone to start, if you have a normal camera and a cheap tripod, even better. Before you upload, make sure you get subtitles created. Nowadays most people are going to watch your video with the sound off as they will be watching it at work, on a train, while watching T.V. or lying in bed next to a partner. An easy way to get subtitles is to use a transcription service, then upload the subtitles file with the video. Just make sure to review the subtitles first to avoid any embarrassing transcription errors. If you are worried about putting your face out there, you might have to just get over that one I’m afraid.

Write articles

Why not use your transcription as the basis for a blog article? Even a two-minute video is likely to have a few hundred words. For people who want to know more about what you are saying, you could provide a link to your blog which goes into more detail about your topic, along with links to relevant information. Not only are you creating another touchpoint, you are providing them with more value, introducing them to your website, and providing extra content for search engines to index which will help boost your SEO. Even if you are not a great writer start putting content out there. If you need to, you can hire a copywriter to tidy up the grammar in your article, this then becomes a very cost effective way of creating blogs.

Social media

Now you have got content you can start sharing it across your social platforms. Research the platforms your target audience are using and post across all of them. The more familiarity people have with your brand, the better. You will need to experiment with what content works with each platform, where quote squares may work well with Instagram, they will not likely perform as well on Facebook. Post your content onto your business page first, then share it using your personal profile as this will likely have a far better reach. Remember that the key to using social media is to form connections. Make sure that you engage with people, answer any comments, try to create meaningful conversation.

Free gifts

This is the point you can start asking people for their details. You’ve shown you are an expert and created trust with them. So how do you go about asking for someone email address? Create a gift. One of the simplest gifts is an eBook, a guide of some sort, though it could be a video course, free trial, or discount voucher. Really anything that your customer perceives as having a high value, and ideally doesn’t cost you much if anything at all. If you have been posting your videos on Facebook (either paid or organic) you can target people who have watched your videos with an ad that offers them a free download. You then direct them to a landing page (a special webpage which only has two options, fill in your details or close the page) where they can fill in their details and you send them their gift. 

Nurture people

Once you have someone’s email address you can begin a nurturing campaign. This is where automation is key. As soon as someone gives you their email, they expect to receive their gift. Then why not set up a sequence of emails where you introduce who you are, how you got there and how you can help. You could have an email that sends someone an offer, they might not go for it, but they now know you have a product available. Then carry on being helpful. Send them more information they can use to improve their lives. You can even tag the people who have given their email address and run ads that are directed only to them on social platforms. If you can, invite them to follow your social pages, that way they will start to see even more of you and provide another avenue for you to engage with them. Only once you have built up enough trust and you convert strangers into your customers. The process may be slow, and you will need to create a large amount of high-quality content that your prospects find valuable. Though by taking advantage of social platforms and automated systems you can reduce the time you need to directly talk to potential customers and have people who do contact you already interested and educated in what you do.

The days of shouting "buy from me" have gone

The days of direct marketing has gone for most small businesses. Being able to afford a T.V. ad let along a billboard is just not possible, and most people ignore them nowadays anyway. So small businesses have turned to advertising using social platforms. Where most people go wrong is that they treat these in the same way as traditional advertising and shout “buy my stuff now”. Even the old idea that you need 7 touchpoints before someone will buy from you is outdated. Google has shown that there can be as many as 375 touchpoints across multiple platforms, products & searches before someone is willing to buy a pair of headphones.

People no longer want to be sold to. They want to be informed, helped, and shown that you understand them, and their needs before they are willing to trust you. In order to stay top of mind and be able to compete you need to be creating content across multiple channels. Video is one of the most powerful. There you can convey that you are an expert in your field, that you are willing and able to help them, and it creates familiarity with you. Using a combination of videos, social platforms, your website, and email sequences, you can create trust on automation. Then only when your prospect is ready, and willing to listen you can sell to them.


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