When we think about marketing as business owners, we often consider it a chore. But it’s not a chore. Marketing your business is your duty.
There is much honor to be found in duty. When you market your business, you think of it as a chore because it is something for you. You know it isn’t just for you, but you perceive it as being just for you because you are thinking about the end result relative to your business. You think about the results you need.
Marketing isn’t about you; it’s about them.
If your customers have a problem, which they do, and you have a solution, which you do, then you do indeed have a duty to market your business actively. You must ensure that you are reaching the people with a need, a problem to be solved, which requires your expertise.
Making the switch between thinking of you and them seems like it should be an intuitive process, but it isn’t. As the owner and operator of the business, your entire life depends on the success of your business. The emotional entanglement with your desired results makes it next to impossible to view what you are doing with any measure of objectivity.
Marketing can be a yawnfest.
Another common reason we often think of marketing as a chore is that it’s boring. This, I totally get; it is boring. At least, it is when you do it the same way as everybody else.
When you want to stand out, where is the logic in doing what everybody else does? There is none, not a single shred of sense. People want to connect with the personality of your brand. People want to connect with someone who is vibrant, and energetic, and makes them feel good. Someone that understands supports, and elevates them.
So when you are marketing your business, have fun with it. Share your humor, your personality, and your values. It doesn’t matter whether it’s social media posts, email marketing, or conversations with individuals- if you are not having fun with it, then neither is your audience.
Marketing is just a way of starting conversations.
It is an honor to serve your customers, don’t ever forget it. Serving your customers is more than just providing a solution, it is making them feel comfortable enough with you to ask you for that solution. That is an intimate relationship, one that takes work to maintain.
If you are stuffy and boring, you will drive people away. But, there are exceptions to that. If, for example, you’re a funeral director, then you probably don’t want your content to be the equivalent of you having a rave; that would be inappropriate for your audience. However, you can still be a voice of positivity and comfort in the world of those experiencing the toughest of times. You can still let your personality shine through.
Causes and connection
What are your values? What is your cause?
You’ve probably noticed that the vast majority of companies that are successful with their marketing have aligned themselves with a cause of some kind. Some of them have picked causes that exist in the world already, others create a cause that builds on their values, but most will be somewhere between the two.
Aligning yourself and your brand is an excellent way of signaling to the kind of people you want to work with that you share the same values. This creates comradery, a feeling of alliance and belonging. When you pick a cause, it’s not just a benefit to your marketing; It is the heart and soul of your connection with your customers.
If you align yourself with a cause, live up to your self-imposed standards.
Something that has existed at an almost epidemic scale in recent years is: companies publicly aligning with a cause, but their private goings on end up contradicting their words. Don’t be like those brands; set a standard and live by it.
The authenticity of such an approach would indeed be refreshing in the world of virtue-signaling nonsense we currently experience.
Your values define the quality of your customers and the direction of your bottom line.
If you look at the biggest brands in the world and the way they market their businesses, they all do a few things. First and foremost, they tend to pick a cause of some kind. This is usually related to their values and relative to the values of the society we live in. The cause they choose sends a signal to their desired customers; it tells them, “we share the same values and could do something wonderful together.”
Beyond attracting the right people into your orbit, defining your values and picking a cause also acts as a filter. It prevents people that aren’t a good fit for your brand from entering your world and causing themselves (and you) unnecessary headaches.
Your cause is a conversation starter.
Picking a cause is great because it lets you define what values are important to you. Building a cause around those values creates an intimate connection between you and your clients.
Having a cause and a set of defined values allows you to start and continue a conversation with your audience members on a topic close to their hearts. It’s almost like a cheat code for your marketing. When you can rally the troops for your cause, you can be sure that many of them will also trust you enough to buy from them.
Not everyone is the same, and there is no such thing as a hard and fast rule.
A clearly defined set of values shows at least some of your brand’s personality. Nobody ever wants to connect with a generic, formless void. Okay, so maybe not always. After all, Amazon has zero personality. Or do they? Amazon traded connections for convenience, but people would prefer both. Amazon does have a defined set of values; they value convenience, and, as it turns out, so do we as consumers.
Another thing that those big brands will do is to have a little bit of fun in their marketing. Maybe not quite the ‘fun’ that exists in your own life, but they do try to introduce humor and fun. Because they are a big brand, they will have some very specific guidelines in place about what is suitable for their brand and what isn’t.
Those guidelines are just that, guidelines. They are not hard and fast rules set in stone, never to be broken. They’re just guidelines. That enables that company to let their hair down a little, have a bit of fun, and connect with people in an enjoyable and positive way – all while maintaining the brand’s image.
Size doesn’t matter, but attitude does.
Because you are reading this post on my little blog, I’m going to make an assumption. I’m going to assume that you’re not the CEO of Apple or Google and that you are probably not sitting on top of a billion-dollar empire. The same rules apply whether you realize it or not. People want to connect, have fun, see you let your hair down, and not be so uptight.
Uptight is never good. Uptight does nobody any good at all; instead, have fun with your marketing. Connect with the hearts and minds of your audience. And remember, above all, your marketing isn’t a chore. Your marketing creates connections between you and other individuals. Marketing is one of the most important things you will ever do for your business. It is your duty, and there is honor in duty.