A few weeks ago, I asked my network what marketers do that they find annoying. I was hoping to uncover themes…and I did! I wrote about the first set of responses in the NISM blog post Marketing Don’ts & Why They (unfortunately) Work. But as I wrote the first blog, I realized I wouldn’t be able to cover everything in one post. So here’s part II…covering more ways businesses risk isolating their current and potential customers.
Selling, Selling, Selling
We all have at least one friend on social media who only posts about a product they are selling, don’t we? And often times they are friends or family members and we want to be supportive. But when all we seem to hear about is their work life, we can sometimes be left feeling a little disenchanted.
Is there a version of this that works?
I took a fresh look my connections who post product information often because I know people who balance their brand info and their personal relationships well – I just hadn’t ever really thought about how they do it. The three main themes that emerged were:
Posting genuinely helpful information. Whether they are health coaches, make-up representatives, or a dog grooming professional, I definitely found people within my own network that understood how to be the person everyone wants to know. Even if I don’t hire a weight loss coach, I’ll follow one if they post healthy recipes. I may not have a dog that needs grooming, but if the groomer herself is sharing tips for healthy dog snacks, I’m happy to be connected. Providing beneficial information to your followers – not necessarily anything they need to buy – is one of the best ways I’ve seen to keep an audience engaged. And then when they’re ready to buy, they’ll remember you as the expert.
Living their message all the time. Related to the helpful information posts, I also noticed that a lot of successful business owners/marketers integrate the mission of their business into their everyday lives. The health coach who posts those healthy recipes? She’s also posting updates from local restaurants and tips for great walking trails. They’ve mastered the art of sharing the parts of their lives that align nicely with their mission – and that makes them easy to trust.
Using confident and genuine language. Maybe the product is right for you and maybe it isn’t – the confident post isn’t seeking your approval. They just want to make you aware of the opportunity! Their own voice (not a cut-and-paste message) adds to the feeling that it’s a helpful tip – not a desperate plea.
Depending on the product, there are a lot of ways these messages can be done right – which is why they are still so common. But the overarching theme I noticed throughout was that the more genuine people are – in their language, in their life, and in their stories – the more engagement we see online.
Perks for New Customers
I was thrilled when someone brought up perks for new customers and the risk of leaving the loyal customers out in the cold. Have you ever seen a deal “for new customers only” that made you realize your loyalty was costing you money? It happens – and yet, you can’t blame companies for trying to attract new customers, can you?
To stay relevant, you have to maintain a funnel of new customers. The businesses who do this well have one thing figured out: Provide a great deal for your new customers, but don’t ever let it exceed the value your loyal customers experience. Even something as simple as attending an event at a member price one time (limited availability) can reinforce the message that your members come first.
What can we do with this information?
One thing I learned from asking my network about marketing techniques that bothered them was that – through social media especially – we have incredible access to smart and talented people who will help us market more effectively…if we take the time to ask. In addition to the tips shared in the first post, I’d recommend every business owner and marketer
- Remember the value of being your authentic self. You’d be surprised how many people will respond to you just “being you.”
- Go after new customers, but remember to appreciate the customers who are already supporting you. After all, if you lose loyal customers because you’re gaining new ones, you’ll never get ahead.
- Remember who you’re talking to – and avoid the temptation of applying the same techniques to reach different audiences.
What else works for you? We’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments!
Author: Dr. Amy Jauman
Dr. Amy Jauman, SMS, is the Chief Learning Officer at the National Institute for Social Media and author of the Comprehensive Field Guide for Social Media Strategists. Amy is also one of 58 members representing 12 countries in the inaugural class of the Prezi Educator Society. Previously she was the Social Media Director for Women Entrepreneurs of Minnesota (WeMN) and she currently serves as the marketing director for the Minnesota Chapter of the National Speakers Association. She is also an adjunct professor in the St. Catherine University Business Department and the St. Mary’s University of Minnesota MBA program.