Article | November 27, 2020
Every business has a story that goes beyond products and services. No matter how great your products are, what really creates loyal, repeat customers is your ability to engage with them, relate to them, and be authentic with them.
By sharing your story as part of your marketing strategy and connecting with clients as real people, you are effectively showing them that you are interested in more than just completing the next sale. A little bit of openness goes a long way in busting open doors to future business.
Here are five tips for strong storytelling while marketing your business:
1. Share your truth. Be honest about your story when you tell it and you will create a bond with clients. Don’t overexaggerate or embellish your background and instead think about the most compelling parts of your journey and accentuate them. The key is for people to see you as not just a business owner or vendor but as someone they can relate to.
For example, if you served in the military, you can share a little bit about your background and explain why it was important for you to serve your country as well as how you transitioned into your current career.
2. Show your personality. According to Fast Company, 92% of consumers want businesses to tell stories in their ads. The more you show off your personality and the person behind the brand, the more emotionally connected your clients will feel towards your business. When a human bond like this is formed, it creates brand loyalty because of the sentimental value that is now attached.
3. Build relationships and you will build sales. Be inviting in your marketing campaigns and leave the door open for further communication and engagement. For example, send a personalized postcard via direct mail and include a QR Code for more information that drives traffic to your website. Then, make sure your website matches the intent and sentiment of your postcard so that it creates a uniform, consistent feel that strengthens your relationship with customers.
4. Be active on social media. The best thing you can do to further your story is to be active on social media every day. Pick the two or three social media channels that you feel work best for your business and stick with them. The last thing you want to do is have a social media page that hasn’t been updated in months because then the potential clients who visit those pages will question whether or not you are still in business. Also, act like yourself, don’t overpromote, and continue to reveal parts of your personality in a meaningful manner.
5. Be involved in your community and give back. Last but certainly not least, it is vital to get involved in your community and give back. People are more likely to do business with you when you share common interests, and everyone wants to see community members lift each other up. If you are passionate about certain causes, you can remain authentic and also show you are empathetic to others. Empathy is a strong, effective tool in telling your overall story because when you care about others, people will care about you. When they care about you, they are more inclined to do business with you.
Ultimately, we all have a story to share of how we got to this point in our careers. For business owners, it is crucial to add authentic storytelling elements to your marketing efforts so that you are seen as a genuine person who cares more about people than sales.
And, in doing so, the sales will follow suit.
Article | March 13, 2021
Marketing is all about experimenting to see what works and what doesn’t. This can be frustrating for someone (ahem, me) who wants quick results. Unfortunately, you don’t know until you try.
Like a good marketer, I’ve different marketing campaigns and tactics over the years. Five completely failed: Doing live video (trolls suck), answering queries on HARO (zero results), offering free audits (note to self: people run from the word “audit”), advertising on LinkedIn (no need if you’re active on the platform) and using a social media dashboard (total time-suck).
Could those tactics work for you? Sure. But they didn’t work for me.
Marketing campaigns that have been successful
Marketing is a short-term expense and a long-term investment. You’ll know if a marketing campaign is working if you see a steady increase in results over six months. If you get to the six-month mark with nothing to show for your efforts, it’s OK to pull the plug and try something new.
On the other hand, something could work great for months or years – and then fall off a cliff (looking at you, Twitter chats). It’s so disappointing when that happens, but it happens – to all of us.
Around five years ago, my friend Nicole Krug floated the idea of creating videos together. We worked together all the time, got along famously and were (are) comfortable in front of the camera. “Why not?” I thought. “This could be fun.”
It still is, which you can clearly see when you watch any of our videos.
Five Business Rules is still a rather small YouTube channel, but man, the people who watch the videos LOVE them. And yes, it has brought us clients. (This proves that you don’t need to have a huge audience on social media. You only need to have an engaged audience.)
Actively using LinkedIn
My marketing agency is B2B, which makes LinkedIn the best social media channel for me. It’s where my current and potential clients hang out and, importantly, want to learn more about business-related topics.
Are they on Facebook and Instagram, too? Probably. But they don’t want to hear my thoughts on, say, how to measure your blog’s success when they’d rather watch a video of their cousin’s new baby or gape at over-styled charcuterie boards.
The key to LinkedIn marketing success is being social. At least once a week, I scroll through my feed. I react to or comment on what people are posting. I usually read other comments, and I might respond to what someone else posted.
If I really like what I read, I share it with my network.
When someone comments on my latest article or post, I thank them. I get a fair number of direct messages, and I always respond – even if the opportunity is not right for me. It’s just the polite thing to do, and it only takes five seconds.
I also use LinkedIn to grow my network. Whenever I reach out to someone, I include a note reminding them how we met or explaining why I’d like to connect.
And yes, it’s a great lead generation tool for me.
Sending a monthly email newsletter
A relevant, interesting and short email newsletter remains one of the best ways to stay in front of your audience. Even if someone doesn’t have time to read it this month, they’ll see your email and be reminded that you exist.
Since I’ve been emailing a newsletter for years, I have the process down. At the beginning of every month, I put together a newsletter that includes four things:
Two recent blog posts (title and short introduction only)
A recent Five Business Rules video (see above)
A funny meme (it usually involves wine)
The blog posts and video include links so if you’re interested, you can read the full post or watch the video.
My open and click rates average 30% and 4.3%, respectively, which is head and shoulders above the industry average (13.3% for opens and 1.7% for clicks). I attribute this success to three factors:
1. A/B testing subject lines
2. Writing eye-catching subject lines (last month, it was “Yes, alcohol can make you a better writer”)
3. Consistently delivering interesting, and oftentimes, entertaining content
Creating downloadable content
One of the best ways to generate leads is with a free giveaway. Your target market gives you their name and email in exchange for something valuable. For me, that’s in the form of downloadable guides: two ebooks, one checklist and two one-pagers of tips.
When someone opts-in to receive one of these free resources, an automated email campaign is triggered. The emails are short and customized and each one offers something new of value. Once they complete the campaign, we add them to our main newsletter list.
I don’t believe I’ve gotten a client directly from one of these resources, but they have definitely helped me grow my email list. Marketing is a long-term game, and I’m good with that.
Your turn: What marketing campaigns have been most successful for your business?
Article | August 12, 2020
In recent weeks, we’ve been publishing a series of posts about Connected Content and why it matters as the world becomes increasingly digital first. Connected Content means that companies tell their brand stories through strategic and engaging content, build and run intelligent websites, and reach audiences with powerful performance marketing solutions As our CEO Don Scales wrote, we believe that in a digital-first world, businesses can’t tell their brand stories with a willy-nilly collection of tactics. They need a unified approach. And technology creates the foundation for that approach. Technology is the great enabler of Connected Content.
Article | March 31, 2020
It’s always essential to get the basics right. Looking at this year’s digital marketing trends can help your business get in on the ground floor of tomorrow’s leading-edge strategies.
Let’s take a close look at the most critical aspects of the digital marketing trends you can’t ignore in 2020.