When it comes to ‘selling’ your services (or products) traditional marketing approaches are soul-draining. You know, for instance, that you will have to spend at least 30% of your contact time with your prospect convincing them of your credentials and then another 25% of the time convincing them that you understand their business well enough to suggest something that will truly work for them and then you have just 45% of the time allotted to the meeting to identify threshold barriers, explain them so they can be overcome, agree the price and close the sale.
As a process that’s way too exhausting both for those who are actively involved in sales and marketing and those who are on the receiving end. As distractions grow and available time gets shorter such meetings become ever more compressed and the pressure increases. The good news is that there is a way out of all this and it’s as simple to say as it is hard to achieve.
In the transition from the 20th century to the 21st Jerome McCarthy’s marketing mix of the 4Ps:
Finds resonance with the redefined, social media-led marketplace of today which has replaced them with the 4Es:
- Exchange [of value]
It is in the first two of these that search can help. When a wide audience has a direct experience of what you do and how and is used to seeing you practically everywhere then the questions surrounding brand quality, brand values and the attendant products or services have usually been answered by the time a meeting takes place. The discussion then is both of a more productive and practical nature than just sales talk.
The approach works irrespective of whether you’re a B2B or a B2C business, large sticker price or small change. Intel is B2B and their research and what they do is mentioned everywhere. Samsung’s smartphones are B2C and there is hardly a tech blog you can visit without a walk-through of their features.
A can of Coke is less than a dollar but the Coca-Cola company has a massive marketing campaign in place that ticks each of the 4Es to the point that “Happiness” is associated with a carbonated, sweetened, flavored drink all over the planet.
How To Make Sure You Never Have to Market Again
If you’re ready to go from those who dread having to go through the mind-numbing sales spiel to those who start conversations looking for mutually beneficial outcomes then the path that gets you ‘there’ is paved with content and a vibrant online presence. The ingredients are simple:
- Value – make sure your content creation strategy produces something that’s of use to most of your audience. This means that a mix of informational and practical posts are necessary. Aim for the core of your audience but don’t be afraid to expand the reach.
- Values – create context for what you curate and/or share. Explain why it’s important and show that what you do fits into a wider picture of activity that’s informed by a broader set of values that your audience can understand, identify with and get behind. These are gateways to conversation and engagement, they become the bridging points that allow greater consideration of what your business does.
- Tone – your business may be a small family based operator or a large global conglomerate. Unless you show that it has a human face and a human voice that can approach its audience at their level, on things that are important to them, it will fail to resonate sufficiently to capture their attention.
- Knowledge – whatever you may do, however you may do it, if you are doing it well it has its own exceptional wealth of knowledge to impart. Knowledge shared is a key that helps unlock the context of your content and help gain attention.
Marketing effectively, in a semantic web, revolves around those three ‘little’ requirements: Trust, Authority, Reputation. People like doing business with people, Authority and Reputation are a lot more easily gained if you are a person as opposed to a faceless business with a logo. The only time this is not true is if you already have a brand in place that is globally known and which has a massive advertising budget to put behind its message.
As the web becomes ever more crowded and ‘noisy’ the shortcuts that allow you to find business revolve around connections with people who understand what you do and believe in you. And that, really, is not marketing at all.
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