Know anyone too loud to be heard?

small business marketing is tough if you try too hard to sell. http://NanetteLevin.com

Not you, of course, but maybe someone else using one of these touted small business marketing tactics?

  • Selling with every blog post?
  • Pushing people to company wares with every social media appearance?
  • Sending lists dozens of messages to count down till deadline?
  • Doing all of the talking and none of the listening?
  • Delivering a multitude of “oops” messages noting a bad link – how’d you find that in the fraction of a second after sending then re-sending?
  • Creating every message with a promotion?
  • Repeating a message again and again and again and again and again (a bit annoying, eh?)?
  • Focusing most of the message on the close?
  • Using unbelievable hype?
  • Following some formula everyone else is using promised to make millions with manipulative selling?
  • Leading with (again) “Let me tell you how great I am”?

Small business marketing should be fun for you and your readers

small business marketing is tough if you try too hard to sell. http://NanetteLevin.comThere are easy ways to nudge people to buy from you without putting on the hard sell. Long term, it’s a better way to prosper, in so many ways.

Use blog posts mostly to provide useful information. Your readers will be exited for you (and them) about the occasional new product or service announcement if you build a relationship first. Freebies aren’t necessary to grow a list (those who sign up for the goodies may not be the right kind of customer who actually pays). Offering a repeated reason to open your e-mail link is.

There are lots of people (particularly on Google+, Linked In groups and Twitter) who make everything they share about selling. Some sales come in, but the goodwill lost in not being “social” probably costs them more.

There’s one response I have to anyone who sends to their lists multiple times a day – “Unsubscribe”. Even worse are those who do back to back (often several or more) “oops” messages. Thank you very much to the “guru” who’s been pushing that tactic for the last year or so. You’ve shortened my online reading time. Keep talking but I’m not listening anymore. Once a day or once a week or even less frequently (depending on your audience) is enough. People will act if they trust you from providing interesting and consistent material.

Some good bloggers (and providers) have been cajoled into adopting “proven strategies.” Of course, Pyramid Selling (“hi, how are you?”; “let me tell you what I have for your today”; “close, close, close”) was proven too when most were coaching the used car salesman approach. Promoting yourself in every message is off-putting. That includes the prescribed call to action in every comminique. It is OK to encourage readers to comment or click your social links. Often, though, simply sharing without a reciprocity request will make you more credible and attractive as a paid provider than reminding people every moment you’re selling something. They know.

Whether the excuse is SEO, last month’s training webinar or a conviction that people are forgetful (OK, they are but if you need to do a dozen mentions, maybe your message is too long or too frequent ;-)) saying the same thing repeatedly is annoying. Sure, it’s OK to do a lead-in and a wrap-up that cover what you’re going to say and what you said (please consider using a thesaurus), but being captivating to readers means writing concisely.

Leave the hype, hard closes and manipulative selling formulas to the get-rich-quick lottery players. You’re smarter than that. Honesty, trust, rapport and value are what make small business owners successful in the long run.

Yes, there’s been a ton put out there lately that “proves” citing your accomplishments builds credibility. There’s a fine line between offering accolade information and coming off as a braggart. Leading with it is rarely a good strategy for small business marketing. Instead, let someone else say it for you in testimonials, speech introductions and media mentions. You can always include it in your about page, as a footer to an article, in your author summary or as an occasional mention, but think of how you feel about those who start every conversation with “I’m a best-selling author, internationally recognized expert, millionaire, sexy icon . . .”.

There are people doing a fantastic job monetizing their lists with core material that whispers instead of shouts. I’ll feature some that do small business marketing well in the next blog post. You, too, can use  ideas to craft a memorable and remarkable online communications approach that resonates with your particular audience. It’s so much more fun when your audience chooses to do business with you because of the valuable things you share. It’s a lot more lucrative, too.

11 Responses to Know anyone too loud to be heard?
  1. Deborah Weber
    August 17, 2015 | 12:28 am

    So glad to have you address this Nanette. I have such a hard time understanding why anyone thinks louder and more frequent is a good strategy. I look forward to your future post with examples of kinder, more mellow marketing.

    • Nanette Levin
      August 17, 2015 | 11:28 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Deborah. It seems every decade (these days in shorter intervals) someone captures the attention of the masses with “proven formulas” for aggressive and manipulative selling. This has never been effective in the long run and it saddens me it’s still being pushed today. Do stay tuned for some great examples of people who get it.

  2. Kelly L McKenzie
    August 17, 2015 | 1:12 am

    Dang, no, damn, there’s a wealth of good info here. I am completely attuned to the oversell and shut down the minute I sense it. Thank you. This is one refreshing post that ever so many need to hear. Off to share.

    • Nanette Levin
      August 18, 2015 | 12:07 am

      Kelly – great to see you here with a comment, as usual, that makes me smile. Agreed – selling is best done without the two-by-four. Thanks so much for the shares.

  3. Elda
    August 17, 2015 | 3:01 am

    What a relief to read that others feel the same way I do!

    When people follow me on Twitter, I see what they tweet and if it’s all business and no social connection then I don’t bother following them. And yes, I have been learning to unsubscribe from email newsletters that are all sell and no connecting.

    Looking forward to your next post on this topic.

    • Nanette Levin
      August 18, 2015 | 12:25 am

      Good tip for Twitter triage, Elda. Frankly, I still haven’t figured out how to make that social media tool work for me (not one to devote all waking hours to livestreams). Funny, I spent the last month or so unsubscribing from anything that wasn’t giving me regular value and/or those that became too heavy-handed with the product launch/VC/promotional content. It’s saving me tons of time in the hundreds of reduced e-mail messages I was sometimes reading but mostly deleting. Do stay tuned. I’ve found some gems that offer great examples of easy and free ideas (not so much in their content but more in their presentation) that can be customized for any small business audience.

  4. Harmony Harrison
    August 18, 2015 | 10:54 pm

    While I overlook the occasional oops email (we’re all allowed our oopses), my pet peeve in this department is the ubiquitous “Tweet this” link after a writer’s witty or erudite comment. Who knows, though – I might make an oops and find myself guilty of that one in the future. 🙂

    • Nanette Levin
      August 19, 2015 | 1:34 am

      Harmony, I have to say, I don’t completely understand your your beef. Of course, I too have sent messages (or, more frequently, left comments on blog posts) I saw immediately after hitting ‘publish’ then cringed over. My point on this one was the insincere nature that anyone not quite dumber than a stone would pick up on given the one second realization and subsequent e-mail blast to the entire list. I’m not using TweetDeck, but do see it’s appeal for those that find Twitter a great place to focus time toward (I don’t). Great to see you here again and thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment. Left a comment on your blog – seriously – let’s talk.

  5. judith
    August 28, 2015 | 1:24 pm

    thanks Nanette, I feel like everyone’s talking but who is listening with all the marketing stuff out there… and like you I tune it out.
    thanks for reminding us its okay to be softer and still balance the success component with joy.

    • Nanette Levin
      August 28, 2015 | 10:31 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting, Judith. It’s seems what’s old again is new again, doesn’t it? To my mind, it never worked but there’s always a crowd believing being obnoxious to bully sales works. I still owe you a review – haven’t forgotten just been crazy busy. It’s on my list :-).

  6. Damon Boaldin
    September 3, 2015 | 4:17 am

    Her response was a common one; she thought those sites were marketing aggressively and she worried about turning her prospects off with a hard sell . Are you concerned about being too aggressive with your small business marketing?

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