When I was first starting my business, I was bombarded with information about how to market and advertise myself.
You’ve probably heard a few of these tactics before, too.
- Create an AMAZING opt-in so you can start building your list!
- A tagline. A really, really great tagline.
- Just get on all your social media accounts. Connect with people there. That’s how you find clients!
- Just keep telling people—whoever you meet—what you do. That’s how you find clients!
- Or the most generic advice ever, that garners 0 leads and 0 applicable ways to use for your business.
While there is nothing wrong with doing these things—building your list is a great thing to do—they are not sustainable (or reliable) strategies. And it’s a shame that so many people are feeling confused about where to actually start.
Here are three (actionable) lessons I learned in the trenches about how to market what you got, and ditch what we’ve heard from the ‘pros’:
The first important lesson I learned was from this article by Seth Godin, about being a Purple Cow and a sea of normal black and white spots.
To break it down, the key takeaway to standing out is this:
Take a look at any existing business, product, or service that’s out there.
Take the time to shift your perspective on it. See it differently. (This doesn’t always mean reinventing the wheel—it could be as simple as changing a paint can like Dutch Boy Paint did in the article.)
Take stock of what the possibilities are for said product or service. What’s possible for it? What can you do that exhibits a perspective that no one has taken advantage of yet, and execute it in the way that hasn’t been done?
See if you can’t find the simplest, easiest solution.
The second very important lesson I learned was from Ramit Sethi—just by reading his free material. He advocated to nail down 3 paying clients first, before you go and develop a complicated marketing strategy around what you’re doing.
And how do you find the clients?
Entrench yourself in their brains. Dig deeper into their psyche more than anyone else ever has.
Understand them so well, they say things like, “You read my mind” and “I feel like you made this, just for me.”
Which means asking people questions and getting a handle on what they want, and what they need more than anything.
And from there, actually pitch yourself to people and offer a free consult before you even try to sell yourself.
Ramit’s article and all of his advice on the topic are right here.
The last very important lesson I learned was something very simple and obvious—but not immediately apparent to me—which I learned by asking someone I admired.
To paraphrase, it was to serve your existing customers so incredibly well, that they rave to other people about you.
Now, what does that look like?
Staying in touch with them. Asking them what would be an amazing experience.
And this doesn’t necessarily mean shoving a pile of surveys in their face.
It’s the personal touch—because each client has different needs.
Even if your relationship with a client is a one time deal—make them a client for life.
Why is this important?
Because word-of-mouth marketing is more effective then sending out a tweet to strangers.
And your customers are the ones who should influence your marketing strategy—not the other way around.
It’s about them. It’s always about them.
You know that, because you’re a customer, too.
And you love when it’s all about you.
So, to recap:
1) Focus on the simple things you can do differently. What’s your perspective—or your ‘why’ for that matter?
2) Find and focus on your people. Understand them like you would if you were their shrink.
3) Serve them so well, they freak out about you. They write your name on sidewalks. They’re start pitching you to people. They want to make sure that everyone on the planet knows who you are.
Throw anything that doesn’t further you or your business out the window.
You will come out alive.
Fel is a pro copywriter and teacher who rewrites and reimagines her own story just about every day. Dedicated to discovery and the power of words, she is on a mission to shake the world with tectonic-plate-shifting communication—all of which she writes about at her blog.
Image credit: CC by Karl-Ludwig G. Poggemann