Posts Taged marketing

The One Year, Thirty Minute Challenge :: Week 30 :: Marketing :: Messaging

If there’s one business discipline that gives me indigestion, it’s marketing. When I sit down to write about strategy or operations, the words flow freely, but when I have to write about marketing or, even worse, prepare marketing materials for my own business, I feel like my IQ drops 30 points.

I know the discipline is vital, so I’ve enlisted the help of people I trust. You’ll find my Kindle full of books from Donald Miller, Seth Godin, Bernadette Jiwa, Jay Baer and Jonah Berger. People who can help me decide what to say and how to say it. You’ll find my recommended reading list at the bottom of this post.

This week’s One Year, Thirty Minute Challenge is devoted to the most rudimentary of marketing disciplines – messaging – What do I say when I talk to customers? I’m afraid we devote too much attention to branding (logo design, colors) instead of the real words we say to the people we desperately want to talk to.

So, my goal for you in this week’s thirty-minute exercise is to use the criteria below to evaluate your communication with current and potential customers. Check your website, email campaigns, social media posts and written materials. These are the some of the most crucial truths I’ve gleaned from the smart people listed above.

Be brief – People are busy. They scan instead of reading. You’ve probably got 5-10 seconds on your website, 1-2 seconds for an email subject line and 3-5 seconds on a social media post to convince someone to go deeper. On your website, succinctly state the problem you solve, how you solve it and how the customer’s life will be better after consuming your solution. On email and social media, quickly say what the email or post is about and why they should continue reading.

Be clear – Don’t be cute, be crystal clear. A clever play on words might be tempting, but a solid message is always better. Don’t make the reader work hard to figure out what you’re trying to say.

Be valuable – Give value in every interaction. Let current and potential customers know what kind of information and work they can experience when they interact with you or your organization. Give them a taste of the value that will be returned for their investment of time and money.

Solve a problem – Current and potential customers don’t really care about you; they care about themselves. How will you resolve an existing issue or make their lives easier, better, or happier?

Be Mick, not Rocky – If you’re listing the top feel-good movies of all time and Rocky doesn’t make the list, you’re doing it wrong. The film about a struggling boxer, Rocky Balboa, who finally gets a shot at the title is Hollywood gold. But the pivotal character in the movie isn’t Rocky, it’s Mick, Rocky’s coach, mentor, friend, butt-kicker and confidant. In your marketing, be Mick the trainer, so your clients can be Rocky the hero.

Be empathetic – Let current and potential customers know that you “get it”. You understand their struggles, their frustrations, their obstacles, and their aspirations.

Be trusted – After you’ve shown that you understand their problems, demonstrate that you know how to solve them. Your proof might be in the form of years of experience, testimonials or case studies.

Be patient – Don’t be the weird person who discusses how many children he or she wants on the first date. Take your time, build trust, ask more questions, and learn everything you can about current and potential customers. Earn the right to heard.

Be transactional – In contrast to the previous question, don’t get stuck in the “friend zone”. Let potential customers know that the goal of your interactions is a paid engagement. Give potential customers a chance to begin the engagement with early and frequent calls to action. Be ready when they’re ready.

Be aspirational – Paint a picture of what their life will look like after using your product or service. Will they have more free time, more money, more security, more piece of mind, happier employees, better data enabling them to make better decisions?

If you’ll critique your communication using just the truths above, you’ll remove some clutter and make your message easier to read and easier to act on.

If this whets your appetite to go deeper on your marketing, you’ll benefit from these books.

Donald Miller, Building a StoryBrand

Donald Miller, Marketing Made Simple

Seth Godin, This is Marketing

Bernadette Jiwa, Marketing: A Love Story

Jonah Berger, Contagious

Jay Baer, Youtility

 

The One Year, Thirty Minute Challenge :: Week 21 :: Marketing :: Social Media

Unless your current and potential clients constitute a very obscure part of the business-to-consumer or business-to-business landscape, you need an effective social media presence. Look at these statistics from Hootsuite (a social media management tool vendor) Source: https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-statistics-for-social-media-managers/.

  • 50% of the global population (3.8 billion people) uses social media
  • 84% of people with access to the internet use social media
  • In 2019, people spent, on average, 2 hours and 24 minutes on social media every day
  • The average social media user has 8.3 different social accounts
  • 43% of internet users use social media for work purposes
  • 43% of internet users use social media to research potential purchases
  • 90% of internet users say they watch video online at least once a month
  • Social ad spending is forecast to increase 20% to $43 billion USD in 2020
  • Active users by platform
    • Instagram – 1 billion
    • Facebook – 2.5 billion
    • Twitter – 152 million
    • YouTube – 2 billion
    • Pinterest – 335 million
    • LinkedIn – 675 million
    • Snapchat – 218 million
    • TikTok – 800 million

 

This week’s One Year, Thirty Minute Challenge is to reexamine your social media strategy. Some of you might have ignored this marketing, messaging, and customer service channel, but you’re probably ignoring it at your own peril. Your customers, potential customers and competitors are most likely already there. Some of you might be active in social media but are not maximizing the results. Some of you might be knocking it out of the park.

There are two things that are unique and wonderful about social media. The first thing is that the best social media content is “useful”. The plumber is posting a list of the 10 worst foods for clogging garbage disposals. The chiropractor is sharing an infographic on how to lift heavy items without hurting your back. You’ll occasionally see a “hard sell” on social media, but they aren’t prevalent. The second thing is that, unlike almost every other marketing and advertising medium, social media is a conversation – business-to-customer, customer-to-business, and customer-to-customer (in front of the business). And those conversations are enabled and encouraged by the platform provider. Some platforms include tools that help the customer rate, review, and recommend the business.

One more thing before jumping into this week’s exercise. Some business owners and managers live in fear of what might be posted on social media. They dread the one-star review or the lengthy post from the irate customer. That content represents one of the best opportunities on social media. Customers don’t expect companies to be perfect, but they do expect companies to make things right when they make a mistake. When the poor review or the flaming complaint comes, jump right in. Apologize for the missed expectation, commit to making it right and give the complaining customer the first step in repairing the relationship. I recommend something like this, “Jim Smith, I am sorry that was your experience in our office. We want every customer to feel like they were treated well and received incredible value by purchasing our product. I’d like to talk with you about your experience. Would you call me at 888-555-5555 or email me at johnjones@email.com, so we can see what happened.” Again, in front of this complaining customer, all your other customers and any potential customers, you’ve voiced your commitment to making this right. If you’re able to resolve the complaining customer’s problem, invite them back to the post to share the resolution (without all the gory details).

Let’s jump into this week’s exercise –

Create a social media manifesto

  • Describe what you want to accomplish (position my company as an expert in the field, showcase the talented people on my team, generate sales leads, provide industry and company information so people can understand what we do, sell products or services online)
  • Define what winning looks like (reach, number of views, number of followers, number of engagements – clicks, likes, replies, pins, saves, number of leads, number of mentions, number of tags, number of reposts, shares or retweets)
  • Identify 6 – 8 themes that you want to consistently communicate (these might revolve around core values, products, people, community involvement)

 

Stake out your place on social media – I suggest creating accounts on the platforms you think you might want to use, just so you have the account name claimed. You can build them out as it makes sense (you have a plan that fits the platform, the ability to create meaningful content and the bandwidth to interact with customers on the platform).

Identify the best place or places to talk to your customers and potential customers on social media – If you don’t know where they hang out on social media, ask them. Each social media network has detailed demographics of its users. Review those and see if your customers are there.

Create a social media calendar – Using the themes from your manifesto, create a content calendar with dates, platforms, and messages. Content can be original (created by you or your team) or curated (useful to your audience, consistent with the messages of the manifesto but created by someone else). Schedule in “big” content and the run up to it. For example, if you’re going to be at a trade show, announce it in advance, ask followers to meet you there (scheduling appointments would be great), show pictures of preparation and broadcast live from the event when you get there. Track results from the content you share. Check levels of engagement and use it to refine future content. Periodically extend the invitation for more interaction outside of social media (if that makes sense in your business model). Download a sample social media calendar here.

Execute – Social media requires consistent care and feeding. Create good content, consistently share it, track the results, engage with your audience.

This is the most rudimentary of social media information. There’s much more to learn if you want to go deeper. Here are some good resources if you want to take your research further.

https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/

https://www.socialfresh.com/

https://socialmediaexplorer.com/

https://www.marismith.com/

https://sproutsocial.com/