If you own a business you probably spend a lot of time thinking of different ways you can sell your product or service. Maybe you’ve investigated neuro-marketing or tried one of these sales approaches. A hard, persuasive sell is getting more difficult these days, isn’t it?
Relationships are becoming incredibly important to brands, especially with social media. So is content marketing. Everyone wants infotainment. They long for information that is engaging and solid, not too long, not too short. Consumers are like Goldilocks nowadays.
But there’s so much noise out there. How do you get heard and give them what they want?
Whether you’re producing an article, copy, videos, or podcasts, here are a few simple concepts to keep in mind as you create your content. These approaches are used by copywriters everywhere because they work.
We’re not here to call your baby ugly. But let’s face it, if you’re reading this article, you must think your product or service isn’t the sexiest, easiest to market. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t good potential. Storytelling can help enliven even the most common products. Through these marketing suggestions you can finish the holiday season strong and carry that momentum through next year.
Storytelling Tips for Marketing Boring Products and Services
Find the Hero
Your product or service—no matter how (traditionally) uninspiring—helps someone. Just figure out who and how. For instance, if you own a 5-minute oil change business, it may not be the sort of thing people get excited about, but you offer a very convenient service.
Who do you help get back on the road quickly? Is it the busy mom running carpool or the executive salesperson between appointments? You are helping someone get back to what they’re meant to do safely and quickly. While they may roll their eyes at the need for getting their oil changed and put it off for several miles, your quick service makes a big difference in their day. Because of you, they can do something amazing. Tell their story.
Focus on What Your Hero Wants
Continuing with the value of story, think about what your hero/customer wants to do more than anything else. How do you assist with that? This goes beyond helping them with something they must do and revolves around what they want to do. That’s the stuff dreams are made of. For instance, your quick oil change means the busy mom is on time to pick up the kids, which is important on its own. But what she really wants is a few minutes before that to read a couple of pages of her favorite book. Your quick—in car—oil change gives her that coveted alone time providing a respite she secretly wishes could last a little longer.
You could have some fun with a holiday marketing campaign around that (escape from in-laws/family/out-of-town guests for five minutes, escape from responsibilities, etc). And it’s something a lot of people can identify with.
Sculpt Testimonials Around Your Stories
Once you have your hero’s story drafted, think about how you might use that to solicit testimonials. If you send out a customer survey, for instance, don’t ask the generic “how was your service.” Instead, ask “what did we help you escape from today?” or “how will you use the extra five minutes of your day?” These questions are unique enough to evoke a response. You likely will get some great stories for your testimonials.
The power of story makes anything more interesting. Look at what Tolkien did with a lost ring or Rowling did with school. It’s time you embrace the power of story outside of your “About Us” page.
Christina Metcalf is a writer/ghostwriter who believes in the power of story. She works with small businesses, chambers of commerce, and business professionals who want to make an impression and grow a loyal customer/member base. She loves road trips, hates exclamation points, and believes the world would be a better place if we all had our own theme song that played when we entered the room. What would yours be?
As I'm writing this, we're closing in on two weeks until Christmas. That means businesses with e-commerce options are quickly counting down deadlines for Christmas deliveries. This is the perfect time for local small business to shine because you can promise customers holiday smiles quicker than they can be delivered in online purchases. However, there may still be things holding the average customer back. Questions lead to inaction. To overcome some of these misconceptions about shopping with you, you'll want to tackle them head-on. Here are some of the most common concerns that are likely holding your customers back and how you can address them.
Let's face it. Some people are finished with their holiday shopping. But for those of us who are left, we are starting to get a little nervous. We think about the people on our list and all the work that is left to be done before the big day, and most of us feel overwhelmed. This is an excellent time to provide the kind of helpful guidance that will create an army of loyal customers for you. It just takes a little marketing finesse.
So how do you get loyal customers in the last few weeks of the holiday season? You give them what they need in a way that is accessible to them and easy to understand. Now let's unpack that.
Most people research online before they purchase. That could take the form of looking up prices, options, or educating themselves on the product or service they’re in the market for. Many buyers also use a business website to verify hours, availability, make reservations, etc. During the holiday season people are busier than ever and it’s common to check things out online before getting in a car. If your website isn’t easy to navigate, with important information front and center, you may be missing out on a host of customers. Here’s how you can ensure it’s in good shape.
Telling your business story is a compelling way to get your audience more invested in you and to help build know, like, and trust. But your business story shouldn’t be a dry About Us page filled with dates you first opened and how many locations you’ve been through over the course of your business history.
Your business story is a lasso that draws people in and holds them there. But it can also be a feel-good moment in a sea of dread. With the pending recession and economic struggles most are enduring, now is the perfect time to cultivate and share your business story.
As a child of the 80s, I remember the excitement when the Wonder Twins would join forces and utter those magical words “Wonder Twin powers activate!” Sure, there were often comical results but both characters used their strengths to save the day. The same is happening with business these days. We’re seeing a lot of it among big brands, unlikely partnerships to sell additional products or services. Some of them are umbrella situations where the companies are owned by the same parent organization, but others are simply recognizing that to be competitive, they have to offer their customers more.
If your town is like most, there are several Facebook groups that have formed around living, working, and/or playing in your area. Some are private and you’ll need to request to join. Others are public. Some groups are loosely veiled business generators for community leaders or professionals (often real estate agents) who recognize how important it is to insert themselves into conversations about the community.
When a business operator finally decides they need someone focused on their marketing, and they resolve to hire for the position, it usually goes something like this:
“This position will be in charge of posting to our social media channels.”
But if that’s all you’re doing, you can put that in the hands of the nearest thirteen-year-old.
If you’re contemplating stepping up your business marketing, you need more than a scheduler. You need someone who understands the different kinds of marketing, your audience, and how to nurture prospects.
According to an article on SmallBizTrends.com this week, “Small business owners’ expectations for better business conditions over the next six months fell by seven points to a net negative 61%. So far expectations for better conditions have worsened every month this year.” That’s not great news. With rising costs, many businesses are struggling.
When it comes to dealing with these pressures, you have two options to improve revenue: new growth or new marketing efforts. New growth means pursuing new avenues or audiences and expanding. This can be unnerving. New marketing efforts means simply being more deliberate in who you’re trying to reach and how you’ll get there.
Whether you choose expansion of audience or marketing, you need reviews and you need them everywhere. Here are a few ways you can motivate your audience to help.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.