A lot of marketing and business is just common sense. I've heard the art of selling described as making the right offer to the right person at the right time...
And when you say it like that it all sounds pretty straightforward. If you learn the 'rules' and follow them, then you'll have a successful business, right?
Well, kinda... but first you need to realise that not all the 'rules' make as much sense. In fact there's an awful lot of business and marketing good practice which doesn't seem to make sense at all! You see, if you look at business as a science, well there's your first mistake...
You're forgetting that people are involved and that we are not logical. We're emotional creatures and in order to understand why we choose to support one business and not another, why we choose to buy from someone and not from someone else... you need to learn the art of business - and often times that means doing things in a way which feels completely backwards...
In this post, I'm taking you through 5 of those completely backwards rules, which ask you to go against all your instincts - but which really work when you do! 😜
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1) Aim to Actively Repel
Yes, you heard me!
You see, one of the most common problems new online business owners face is that they're trying to please EVERYONE. They want to help the whole world and they don't want to miss out on reaching and impacting a single soul...
This is the quickest way to reach NO ONE AT ALL.
You're trying to create a community - a movement of people who support your business and believe in your message, right?
Well think about any other strong community or movement... they all stand for something specific and that's what binds them together. That's what gives them their sense of belonging and loyalty.
If you try to stand for everything and everyone, your voice will disappear into the ocean of voices all clamouring for attention online.
So if you want an engaged audience of people who can't wait to hand over their money for whatever you're selling? You need to choose a target market, an ideal client, and you need to speak to those people specifically.
Everyone else? You need to repel by being clear about what you stand for, who you stand for - and who you don't.
Do you think Disney care that their films probably aren't appealing to many middle aged men? In fact, their ongoing themes of princesses, talking animals and catchy songs will probably repel most middle aged men - but that's fine because their target market of children absolutely LOVE them.
Sure, they could appeal more to middle aged men by making one of their films about a middle aged man facing some middle aged man crisis... but I don't think their loyal following of children would be too impressed...
You can't please everyone so don't try.
2) Be Repetitive
I get it, you already introduced yourself on your Facebook page a few weeks ago...
And you told your email list about your new product when it launched!
The thing is, while it may feel repetitive to you, only a small percentage of people will see each post or email - not to mention the fact that new people are joining your audience all the time and so need to hear your message too.
If you're still not convinced, then let me tell you about a really interesting (if you're a nerd like me 🤓) marketing principle which says people need to see something SEVEN times before they'll act upon it.
I recently started hosting monthly webinars and the first time I did it, I sent out an email to my list the week before. I got a few sign ups...
Then I emailed them again on the morning of the webinar - and got a few more.
The following month, I scheduled in the exact same webinar and I sent the exact same email the week before (with a different subject line) - and got a few more sign ups.
Then I repeated the previous email on the morning of the webinar (again with a new subject line) and got a few more.
Oh, and in case you're wondering, yes - I also had some unsubscribers - but do you know what? I don't mind about that! If they weren't interested in my webinar, then they weren't my ideal clients anyway!
The key takeaway is that I repeated the same message 4 times and each time, new people took action. And you know what? I plan to send out those same 2 emails again next month too because that webinar? It's awesome and I want to share it with as many people as possible!
So please - repeat yourself! You have a message to share, a product to sell - and people to serve.
3) Show Your Flaws
"Wait, what? People aren't going to buy from a business that makes mistakes - that isn't professional!"
That's what I thought too - especially coming from a corporate career where everything had to be p-e-r-f-e-c-t.
I was wrong!
Turns out, people are intimidated by perfection and find it much easier to relate to a person (and a business) who is human just like they are. Who knew!?
When I started out, I wanted to create videos and go live on Facebook because I knew that would be a really powerful way for me to reach my audience.
But I didn't do it for the LONGEST time because I didn't know how to create videos that looked professional and I couldn't find a single spot in my home that looked stylish or business-like enough to be a suitable backdrop.
Eventually I decided to just go for it - I had value to offer and my voice wasn't being heard because I was worried about what people would think about the way I looked or the way my home looked... and guess what? It didn't matter! In FACT, I actually got comments from people who said it encouraged them to give it a try too. I also had people tell me they felt like I was more approachable and 'human' when they saw me on video and that's why they chose to work with me.
So don't worry about letting people in on any areas that you think are less than perfect - chances are it will actually make you MORE appealing, not less.
4) Sell Before You Have a Product
I first came across this concept after signing up for a course called Business By Design with a guy called James Wedmore (if you haven't heard of him, go check him out - he's fab!)
One of the modules was called 'Monetize Before You Make it' and taught that by marketing a concept and selling it before you actually created it, you could use your customers to help you create something that truly meets their needs.
It blew. my. mind.
There are so many benefits to working this way!
5) What works for them won't necessarily work for you...
When you're just starting out with your online business, it feels pretty overwhelming - especially if you don't have much previous marketing or business experience.
So what do you do? You check out the people who are already doing it - already making a good living in the online business world.
And good news! There are LOADS of people who are absolutely killing it with their online businesses! In fact, there are tons of people who are sharing their success stories AND how they did it.
PERFECT! All you have to do is follow their lead...
Wellllllll, not necessarily. In fact it's a dangerous path to go down. You see, different strategies work for different people, depending on their personality, their audience, the stage they're at with their business....and so many more variables that I can't even think of right now!
When I was starting out, I did exactly this - I followed a bunch of successful entrepreneurs and I consumed their content like there was no tomorrow. One person claimed that blogging was the best way to go, while someone else convinced me that if I wasn't on YouTube, I had no chance.
Meanwhile, another online marketer was selling the benefits of Pinterest and everywhere I looked I could see people drawing in the fans with their FB lives...
So it went on and before long I was EXHAUSTED! I was doing ALL THE THINGS - but none of them were working.
It was pretty miserable let me tell you. Finally, I realised that I didn't have to follow every strategy - I just had to find the one that worked for me and then commit to it and stay consistent with it.
That's what you need to do too!
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