No, I haven’t forgotten what year it is. I saved one of those “Crystal Ball’ articles a year ago stating the Top 5 Business Marketing Trends for 2019 for comparison purposes as to what actually happened within the year. The note I made next to it was ‘No, No, NO…Be A Real Person’, so I revisited it this week to see what that actually meant.
The major audience for this blog is the same as my clientele in the Real World – small businesses not accustomed to marketing for their business and leveraging simple online tools to grow their businesses’ footprint. I realized that the article in question was aimed at larger companies, perhaps with a Marketing Department, and they fell into some of the traps I council against, straight away. Mainly not to sacrifice the actual work you do within advertising and become inauthentic.
Larger companies in any business space have the luxury of buying tools that automate what they do to ensure they Tweet (for instance) 18 times per day, because everyone else is doing it. This may be fine for these large companies, but – as a small business owner – it doesn’t do you much good, and I’ll explain why.
Articles such as this one may make you question what and how you are doing things, but there is confusion around ‘What To Do’ and ‘How To Do It.’ Take Video for instance. Having a suite of videos to creatively show who you are and what you do can be a great marketing tool, because it graphically shows your Services or Goods and introduces you to people that may not notice you anywhere else. They may also be a wonderful sales tool when added to your website.
However, if you are in competition with large multi-national, big box stores that also use video, you don’t want to come off as cheap or amateur made. These guys will have Video departments manned by experts with access to actors, music and state-of the-art editing capabilities. If you can’t compete with that, then I would always suggest staying away from video. We have all seen TV advertising for small, neighbourhood businesses and those made by huge companies. The local Furniture store’s ad pales in comparison, and suffers in the process.
The question, therefore, of what do I need, should be answered by ‘What Can I do Well?’, and what shows your business in the best possible light. Our ‘Top 5 trends’ article mentioned Artificial Intelligence (Siri?), Voice Search and Automated Marketing along with Video but do you really need these?
The most important part of your messages is you. The authentic, real you that people want to meet. That takes time to care about his community and is in business to help, not to make money. Being authentic is the most important part of your marketing, be it online or in person. The question isn’t ‘What should I be doing’, it is ‘Am I Marketing with an authentic voice?’ Those 18 tweets per day obviously aren’t being published by a local business, they don’t have time. You will post something of interest to your Prospect Marketplace and use your own voice to do so.
Of course, the greatest lesson you can learn about these kinds of aggregate posts is that people read them. My job is this blog, so by seeing this article last year, saving it, referring to it, linking to it here , is all an SEO exercise that helps my ranking – it isn’t something that will help your business – however it’s a great way to blog. What are the Top Trends for your business in 2020?
Everyone loves a good story. But how can you use this to your advantage when talking to your prospects and customers? While you should use every opportunity to tell your story, what do you say? Here are some points to keep in mind when you are offered the opportunity to talk about who you are:
1. What is unique about your business?
What do you offer that is different from anyone else? Is the product, the business’s history, its staff make-up? Look at the advertising and online posting you have been doing, and find out what you have been discussing. The sum of your articles comes to represent your industry expertise, the way you wish to portray it.
2. What is interesting about how your company was founded?
What did you find out before founding the company, and what false starts did you endure, before finding its current form and methods. This is your chance to show you are the same as others, but also offers you the opportunity to show how you found a ‘twist’ in the marketplace that no-one else did.
3. What problem are you trying to solve?
As a Marketer, I ask the same questions of my prospects every time we start a conversation. This gives me a real path to their pain, and how I can solve it. However, you can tell just as much through questions as you can through answers. Showing how you operate will interest others and show your uniqueness:
How can they gain visibility in the marketplace?
How can they grow their relevant audience relevant to their business?
Where can I establish my professional expertise by writing about my company online?
Where can I tap into an international audience?
Where can I have a discussion with people who relate to my profession to show my capabilities?
Where can I make meaningful professional connections, and help establish my brand?
How do you do what you do differently than others to get to the result they want?
4. What inspired your business?
Was it a problem that you saw in other companies, over and over again? Was it something that you were interested in that you wanted to expand? Was there an obvious (or un-obvious.) reason for this that no-one else was seeing?
These points will get you started on a list of subjects. From it, a whole raft of memories will prompt further stories of your company’s growth, challenges faced, and problems solved. Each of these help to gradually complete the picture of ‘The Story of your Company’, and then you will be able to help others. Who wouldn’t want a business guru in their field of expertise, giving them advice? This is the point from which you should start in your efforts – to help others. It is only from there that you will be trusted, followed, and – as a by-product – you will expand your customer and prospect base.