One of the most popular requests in my Small Business Support group is quick and easy to ask, but not so quick and easy to answer – ‘how do I get a bigger audience/more sales?’
I did a whistle-stop tour through some of my foundational ideas and top tips in this video, and here’s a summary of that.
Know, Like, Trust
One of the Golden Rules of Marketing, you must consider this in all your strategy and planning. It underpins everything.
People don’t go from ‘never heard of you’ to ‘buying your stuff’ in a single second. It takes a bit of time, and they go through those three stages – know, like, trust. They go through them in that order, and there’s no way to shortcut any of it.
First they have to know that you exist. So far, so obvious. Then they have to figure out that they like you. Only once they’re comfortable that they like you, can they feel they trust you enough to buy from you or book you.
See? It HAS to be that order. You can’t like someone before you even know them…
So while you can’t shortcut any of the stages (you can’t trust someone when you’ve only just met them), you can speed it all up. Face-to-face contact is the best way to build a connection with someone, as we pick up so much unsaid stuff from body language, facial expressions, tone of voice etc.
That’s why I always recommend doing video. *insert wailing and groaning here*
Yes, many people hate being on video. I look weird, I hate my voice. Sorry, that’s one you’re just going to have to suck up.
Grab your phone, go to your Facebook page, click ‘go live’ and start talking. It won’t hurt, and it will make a difference.
People Buy From People Like Them
This is another of the Golden Rules.
We make the strongest connections with people we identify with. And we identify with their values and their stories.
So share your values and your stories. Make it clear what you’re all about, what you stand for.
This really helps with the ‘Like’ stage of ‘Know, Like, Trust’. The deeper the ‘Like’ connection, the quicker people will move to the ‘Trust’ stage. And that’s where the transactions happen!
It isn’t ‘I’ll book that consultant because we have the same favourite musician’. It’s ‘These two consultants offer similar services and have equally good testimonials, but I feel a connection to this one (probably because we have the same favourite musician) so I’ll book them’.
So, tell us about you. Show us a bit of behind-the-scenes. You know, in that video you’re going to do…
The Grunt Test
I said above to make it clear what you’re all about, what you stand for.
You also need to make it clear what you offer.
Donald Miller of StoryBrand calls it The Grunt Test. Could a caveman look at your website and immediately grunt what you offer?
We offer a distance learning solution providing creative techniques for pre-teenage students
Can you tell me what this organisation does?
How about this:
We do online art with kids so their parents don’t have to
SURPRISE! Same organisation, same service. Different directors wanted to use different descriptions. Which one do you think they went with?
Make it clear. Don’t make people have to work it out from your fancy words and clever puns.
They won’t work it out, they’ll walk away.
Benefits, Not Features
No-one cares that your fab new XK400i model vacuum has multi-bristle-strand technology, developed over 20 years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
They want to know that their carpets will be 100% free of pet hair, from the first use.
It’s about the audience, and how they benefit from your product/service.
We’re all the central figure in our own lives, so it’s ALL ABOUT MEEEEE!!!
So if you usually list off the features of your product/service, here’s a different approach.
Take each feature in turn and consider how the purchaser benefits from that. There’s’s your new list, for creating marketing messages.
Want vs Need
People rarely buy what they need. That’s so boring. It’s not like we’re actual grown-ups here, come on.
We buy what we WANT.
Who goes to the supermarket with a list of 5 things they need, and leaves with 2 carrier bags full? *raises hand*
What’s bulging out of those bags? WANT.
That’s why there’s chocolate bars by the till, and the bread is right at the back of the store so you have to walk all the way through. You walk past all those lovely things that are not on the boring ‘need’ list, and they trigger the ‘want’ bit of your brain.
So your marketing messages need to trigger the ‘want’ bit.
Yes, we all know that what they’ll actually receive from you is what they NEED. But you need to dress it up as what they WANT.
Give it away, give it away, give it away now…
Sorry for the earworm, I can’t help myself. Doing that ‘show your personality’ thing!
Another great way to do the ‘Know, Like, Trust’ thing is to show what it’s like to work with you.
Share your knowledge, like a little taster.
– do a weekly video sharing things that are an example of how you help people
– offer a pdf guide that answers a question people always ask you
– create a list of helpful things people always want to know
Relate it to the services you offer, so it acts as an introduction.
The idea isn’t that they just take the free stuff and never pay to work with you. Although some people will do that. Hey-ho.
The idea is that people think ‘If this is what I get for free – wow! – what do I get when I pay them?!’
One at a time, please!
Try new things. Definitely. Try lots of different things.
But act with intention. Scattergun approaches will not help you.
Try one thing for long enough to understand how it’s working for you (or not working, as the case may be). Then try another thing. Analyse that. Then try another thing.
Otherwise, how do you know what it is that’s having the positive effect, that you want to do more of, if you’re doing six different things at once?
Here’s a big thing for ‘one thing at a time’ – focus on just one social media platform.
Yes, I know it’s tempting to be everywhere at once. You’re not sure which is the best and there’s always something new coming out that all the cool kids are using and the papers are talking about.
Stop. Breathe. Think.
Who are your people? Where are they? Go there. Spend your time, money and efforts there.
If you’re not sure, or they’re often in two different places (eg Facebook and Instagram), then choose one as a focus and do the other less. Like 80/20 less.
Try it until you have measurable results, and if you’re not happy with what you’re seeing then switch the 80/20 the other way around.
50/50 doesn’t work so well. It’s called ‘half-arsed’ for a reason…
You need to really focus on one primary place where you’re wanting to connect with your people. You can’t go all-out on all the platforms, you’ll be spread too thin.
If you feel you HAVE to be on all the platforms, you need a social media manager. Coz at the moment you’re being the social media manager – and you have a business to run.
Make A List
Everyone runs to social media when they start their business (and usually to Facebook) because it’s familiar.
And it’s good, don’t get me wrong.
But it’s not the only thing you should be using to build an audience.
I cannot recommend strongly enough that you build an audience of people who hear from you by email.
When you publish a post on your business Facebook page, it is shown to about 2% of the people who follow your page. If others then respond to it (likes, reactions, comments, sharing), it is shown to another 2%. And so on.
When you send out an email, it is delivered to the inboxes of 99.9% of the people on your mailing list (there’s always a mistyped email address or a full mailbox or something).
Yes, you still have to put in the work to get them to open and read the damn thing. But at least you know they’ll see it!
Email rocks. I send this blog out by email every week. Sign up if you want a copy.
Told you it was a whistle-stop thing!
If you’d like to know more about any of this stuff, give me a shout.