LEARN TO USE YOUR UNIQUE GIFTS TO ACHIEVE YOUR BEST SALES
If the idea of marketing your business leaves you feeling confused and overwhelmed, take two minutes to read on.
First of all, you are not alone. Many of us are uncomfortable about marketing what we offer, it feels like we are pushing ourselves in other people’s space uninvited. But how are you going to help people if they don’t know you exist?
Despite commonly held beliefs, marketing is not enticing people to do something against their wishes. It’s about building trust.
Marketing is an ongoing communications exchange with customers in a way that educates, informs and builds a relationship over time.
~ Renee Blodgett – Chief Executive Officer/Founder, Magic Sauce Media
Here are some of the steps I recommend to educate and inform your clients. Practise these and over time you will build a relationship.
1. SHARE YOUR EXPERTISE
By sharing your expertise at no cost, you are showing potential clients you are indeed an expert, knowledgeable about your craft. Sharing knowledge can take many forms: blogs and printed articles, short videos (Facebook Live anyone?), infographics, face-to-face presentations, workshops and so much more. You can share your knowledge online, in the form of a free download from your website, or offline as a flyer or article in the local paper. You probably have years of experience and knowledge between your ears that you do not think of as valuable, but that your clients would pay to get!
2. UNDERSTAND YOUR NICHE CLIENTS
It comes down to knowing your ideal clients really well, putting yourself in their shoes and addressing the pain points they are experiencing. What is the solution you provide, how is it unique, how is it better than others?
Marketing is identifying the pain points of your customers, developing content and processes to best solve those pain points – which ultimately makes it easier for your customers to buy or stay customers.
~ Joe Pulizzi – Founder, Content Marketing Institute
- When I look for a cleaner, I do want a clean house, but I’m also looking for a simpler day-to-day life, to have free time with my family. I’m looking to outsource some jobs so I can focus on those household tasks that do bring me a sense of creative fulfilment, like cooking dinner with my family. And I want to have some free time just for me, to recharge my batteries. So, if you are a cleaning business, share with me organising tips to keep the house in order, show me some IKEA hacks, ideas to teach the kids how to tidy up their room, educate me about the Konmari method and capsule wardrobes.
- When I plan to have my car serviced, I’m not just searching for the cheapest contractor. I need to feel secure I will not break down in the dark on my way home from ballet with the kids. I’m looking for someone who will explain what needs fixing in words I understand. And I’d love it if you gave me tips on how to keep the inside of the car clean with two teenagers!
So tell me, how can YOU help me?
3. TELL ME A STORY
Tell me a story I will relate to, tell me something that will make you memorable among the hundreds, thousands of marketing messages sent to my brain every day. Why did you start your business, what do you love about it, what’s your best customer story, what is it everyone should know about you and your brand?
Marketing is anything you create or share that tells your story.
~ Ann Handley – Author & Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs
So focus on the story you can tell that will help others and attract them to you and your offering.
4. FIND A SIMPLE MARKETING METHOD SUITED TO YOU
And if you think you don’t have the skills to do this, that’s simply not true. You may not be comfortable sharing your expertise at first, but it’s really about finding what works for you, a bit like improving your eating habits, or your exercise habits.
You see, there would be no point cooking me broccoli, or giving me a tennis club membership, they are not for me. But I’ll eat buckets of salad, and I love my gym.
Let’s apply that to marketing: I’m an introvert so networking is something I endure as rarely as possible. However, put me on a stage and ask me to do a presentation, and I’m absolutely in my element. Same with being at the computer for hours, doing research, playing with words and images, love it!
Can you see where I’m going with this?
Get clarity on these answers and on what works for you, and THAT is where your marketing strengths are:
- what makes you tick
- are you an introvert or an extrovert
- what kind of learner are you
- what makes you happy in your business
- what do you love sharing with the world
5. BEYOND SOCIAL MEDIA
Now unless you have been living in a cave for the last decade, you know we’ve moved on from relying only on print ads and flyers. Social media is hugely popular (and I’m a massive fan). But Facebook and Instagram are not the only tools available to attract more clients.
Nowadays, there are two simple methods I use to promote my services and skills.
- TELLING MY STORY
The first is to tell my story. Ever since we spent long winter nights scrawling pictures of animals on cave walls more than 40,000 years ago, storytelling has been the way we communicate our experiences and beliefs to others. Mothers have used fairy tales for centuries to pass on knowledge to children, and we have long shared wisdom with other women over an embroidery hoop or a ball of wool.
Storytelling contributes to building communities, you only have to look at Facebook groups to see it in action on a daily basis. I share my personal stories on my website first, because that is ‘real estate’ I own. Then I also share it elsewhere online, in forums and business groups.
- FACE-TO-FACE EVENTS
The other way I share what I do, who I am, and my values, is via face-to-face presentations and workshops.
Recent research shows that, in fact, in-person events outperform all other tactics used to reach clients.
It does not have to be a complicated thing:
You can do a practical demonstration. Tanya Arnold from Pupcake Queen started small with local demos, she now does live presentations at libraries and charity events, thereby getting a lot of media coverage.
You can present with some slides and a short talk followed by a Q&A. If you are not sure where to start, try Slideshare for inspiration on slide designs. And for content you can set up Google Alerts for specific interests: you will receive an email when content is published online related to the keywords you have selected.
You can collaborate with others to provide information on a wider topic: in 2015 I organised a Small Business Summit in Noosa on real life small business stories, which gathered over a hundred attendees. We also received a lot of free local media coverage.
- Do you have a story to tell? Of course.
- Is there a market for the knowledge and stories you have to share? Definitely.
- Can we find a way to do this in ways that work for you? Yes!