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
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.