Back to School!
My daughters went back to school last week. I start teaching my Advertising & Social Media Marketing course next week at Mills. And, I signed up for a workshop about referral marketing for the week of September 15th. I love to learn and I love to teach!
I’m also noticing that my clients are getting putting more focus on their marketing as we switch to the new season. Many of them are working on new websites, new newsletters, new Facebook campaigns and more. There is something about the Fall that gets me back on track after a more mellow summer.
What are you doing to get back track and head towards the 2014 finish line? Do you need to update your website? If you need a little support with WordPress, our next Wine & WordPress workshop is this coming Tuesday! Sign up by 6pm on Monday for the Early Bird Rate of just $25. Register Here!
If a free thirty minute consultation makes better sense for you, let me know and we’ll get something on the calendar.
Long form? Short form? What kind of content works best?
Louis Henry Sullivan, the famous architect, once said: “Form ever follows function.” Although, he was referring to design and architecture, I think it holds in content marketing too!
What is the function of your content? And which media are you using? Some media platforms are automatically constrained to short form: Twitter and its 140 characters for example; or it’s sister, Vine, with 6 second videos. On other platforms you might have a choice. LinkedIn is rolling out long-form blog posts to its users so you can either do a short status update or write a longer post. You can check mine out here.
I often recommend to clients that they need to be thinking about building visibility, credibility and personality in their messaging to their clients. (This is slightly modified from the in-person networking model developed by Dr. Ivan Meisner: Visibility leads to Credibility leads to Profitability.)
Of course on your own website/blog or in your own email newsletter you can write as much or as little as you want. So, again form follows function. Sometimes you might want to maintain visibility with your audience and not need a long form. Other times, you might want to build credibility and so something longer to illustrate your expertise makes sense. Finally, I recommend that you include your personality whether or not it’s long or short!
Deadlines & urgency.
And my guess is that you also procrastinate.
Really, the only person I know who doesn’t procrastinate (much) is my seventeen year old daughter and I’m honestly not sure how she was spared the gene since the rest of us have it!
I am more likely to procrastinate on things that don’t have a deadline (I guess that’s obvious). And things without a deadline also can easily get forgotten at the bottom of my to-do list (if they even make it on to the list). Your prospects and clients probably do the same thing. So, you and I need to make it easyand necessary for our clients to take action. Deadlines and incentives are an easy fix for this challenge.
For example, I’ve included a p.p.s. in my signature line for the past several newsletters that announces that my rates for new clients are going up on September 1st. Not surprisingly, I’ve had several prospects request their free consultation in the past two weeks. The deadline and incentive help people to take action. And, my new clients appreciate the benefit of the lower rates.
So, as you work on your messages, consider including some deadlines and incentives for quick action!
Show me the social proof.
I like to read books about behavioral psychology and consumer decision-making. In many of these books (from Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini to Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational) there is at least some discussion of the idea of social proof. Or, as most of us probably call it: testimonials.
It turns out, that we humans pay a lot of attention to what other humans do and like. And, if lots of other people say something is good, we tend to believe it. So, how does this apply to your marketing? You can and should make it easy for people to find out the great things that others are saying about you and your services. Whether it be a link to your Yelp page or your LinkedIn recommendations or just including a specific testimonial in your newsletter or several on your website. Make it easy!
In most of my newsletters, I include a ‘Client Wow’ (see below). I also have a Success Stories section on my website. LinkedIn and Yelp are additional places where you can find recommendations and endorsements. Are you using all the available options to highlight the social proof of your great work?
As you build a portfolio of testimonials highlight the ones that work best. Vague testimonials are less impactful than specific ones. If a client can speak to the way(s) in which you helped them earn or save more money for example, that’s going to work better than “s/he’s great!” If you’re still building a portfolio of testimonials, consider creating case studies that speak to how you’ve helped your clients. This isn’t quite as effective as a third-party endorsement, but it can work if your clients aren’t willing to speak directly or if there are ethical concerns about them doing that (therapists? lawyers? etc.)
Go check your marketing collateral and see if it’s got the social proof that you need!
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AMP: Audience, Message, Platform
For several weeks I’ve written about audience(s) and figuring out the different audiences that you need to address. I’m moving on to message, though this is really an iterative process between all three of the components. The message is a function of the audience and to some extent the platform (esp. the specific message).
Nevertheless, there are some concrete aspects to message that are important. The first is to really think about how you’re the same and how you’re different from others who might do what you do. Marketers call this positioning or finding your unique selling proposition (USP). For many of my clients, the things that differentiate them are so obvious that they miss them! I was offering a free 30 minute consultation to a prospective client and he hadn’t considered how his background as a CPA, and as an adviser to investors on both the buy and sell side, could really differentiate him in his new career as a commercial mortgage broker.
Have you done this work to think through what makes you unique to your target audiences? What are the aspects of your business strengths and background that will resonate with those audiences.