I was inspired to write today's blog post after listening to a favorite podcast the other day. I absolutely love to listen to podcasts! I listen to them as much as I can manage, by lots of different people who inspire me, both personally and professionally. Recently, I was listening to a podcast with Dorie Clark, author of books like Stand Out and Reinventing You, and as I listened to her, I began to think about the process that REALLY made my business so successful in such a short amount of time. As I was going over all of this, I came across a really inspired conclusion I’d like to share with you. It’s really the #1 way I’ve mastered my business so far.
At the base of every business is selling yourself. Now I know we all want to kick ass and cut through the noise of the internet to share our products with just the right customers, but the internet can be a really hard place to do that. Literally EVERYONE is trying to sell something online and most times in this process things can get... well, icky. Even for me, when I first started my business, I had products and services I wanted to sell but it always felt a little grimey- like I was getting in everyone’s face.
Then I found a really fascinating concept by one of my favorite marketing gurus, Seth Godin. In his book, Permission Marketing, (which was written in 1999, and it’s still relevant today even though it’s pre-twitter, pre-Facebook, pre-internet marketing!) Seth presents the idea that the most effective way to present yourself in marketing is to make people feel like they are opting in for your product instead of getting it pushed all up in their face. This concept really made me realize that the days of Mad Men marketing is over.
Today, as entrepreneurs, there's a new way to build your business, and it’s done through mastering your marketing. Now, what do I mean by that? I mean you’ve got to get people to not only see what you’re doing, but like what you’re doing. You have to do your business while being authentically you in the process.
If you want to be relevant and stay current in your business for 5 years, even 2 years from now, your business needs to be upfront, and it needs to be real. Stop trying to trick people to get on the phone with you for a sales conversation, or forcing people to get on your mailing list, or even convincing people to buy from you. Rather mastering your marketing is all about sharing your mission, and sharing what you’re passionate about to the people who want to hear it.
The bottom line here is if there is only ONE way you can differentiate yourself from the crowd it’s going to be through being yourself with your clients and customers, and sharing your message with them.
The best part is, it doesn’t matter what you do. So you’re a small business owner, or you’re a coach, or you sell soap- it’s always the same, all that matters is getting yourself out there, getting personal with people. I think everyone wants to know that they’re going to buy from someone that’s real, and all you have to do is express that through your marketing.
So you see? Marketing is nothing to be scared about, it’s just about being you. Another great example of this is comes from a wonderful Ted talk by Simon Sinek, where he discuss why people buy from one company over another. Specifically he talks about Apple customers as being ‘Lifers,’ as in once you buy an iPhone or Macbook- you never go back. What Simon explains though, is that it’s not about the actual product, it’s about what the company stands for, and how they represent that to their customers.
Create lifers with your product and you will position yourself with an awesome brand, giving people something they want to be passionate about, and will want to engage with. How you choose to be relevant and authentic is up to you, but if you want longevity in your business, you have to show our customers your true self. For me I use social media platforms, like Periscope. This gives my clients a chance to see ME in my truest form, maybe I’m on my couch sometimes or in my workout clothes, it doesn’t matter- they get to see me and I can be authentic with them that way.
You can follow me on Periscope @ErikaSheffer to get to know me better and hear more valuable content to help you grow your business.