Really Common Small Business Mistakes to Watch Out For (and Avoid)
“Good marketing makes the business look smart. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart.”
Well the last 3 months have been fun haven’t they?
And as this is published non-essential retailers and businesses are beginning to re-open their doors too, perhaps not to a ‘brand new world’, but certainly a very strange one. Social distancing dances in aisles, face masks that remind me of welders, protective screens that remind me of banks and marketing that seems to have lost the plot as small businesses and their owners seem to be throwing as much s@@@ up the wall as they can find, to see what sticks. Awful videos, (maybe you can throw a stone at me for that too…), inappropriate Tik-Toks, career ending selfie’s and totally missing the mood and thoughts of a country in a situation it’s never been in before are just some of the symptoms of small business marketing in the CoVid period.
Far be it from me to tell you, the amazing small business owner that you are, what to do with your business marketing but I want to take a few minutes to remind you of three words that could make your marketing a bit fo a Golden Goose if you keep them at the front of your mind. And I’ll also give you 3 words, that to be quite frank, will take that goose out the back, ring it’s neck and become Sunday lunch, if not immediately, but fairly rapidly.
Back in the 1980’s there was a TV advert for OCO. It was centred around an average middle class family and their growing siblings. It ran for years and some would say gave at least one person career longevity after her starring role in “Confessions of a Driving Instructor”, and that ‘star’ was the beloved Lynda Bellingham. The adverts became a bit of an urban legend, and people would begin to ‘look out for’ the latest one to check in with a fictitious family.
More recently, the nation has been sitting around their TV’s or in their individual rooms on their social media platforms waiting for the Christmas Jon Lewis advert. Again, it’s become almost a yearly conversation piece and for some officially starts Christmas celebrations.
Simple. Just 3 words. Entertain. Educate. Inspire.
And although I’ve given you two small examples, if you have the time and wish to spend any effort, you will find that every piece of successful marketing entertains, educates and inspires people to perhaps ultimately buy their products or services.
It’s a simple combination, but do you know what? Every single piece of great marketing that has ever been has had at least two of the three elements and the ones that stick in our minds have all three. We all like to be entertained. In today’s world we all the attention span of Goldfish, so if you’ve got his far, well done. Gone are the days of black and white TV ads, where people stand there telling you the features and benefits of things. Yes, it’s important to most people when selling, but perhaps not AS important as it used to be in a world where we are influenced by air-headed runners up from ‘Love Island’.
Education is key and has seen the explosion of content marketing. Everyone, (including me), is now a journalist with an opinion or perspective on something. It’s also acts as a way around the barrier of people feeling that they are being ‘sold to’. Imagine if a double glazing salesman knocked on your door and said, “Excuse me. You need some new windows because yours are crap. I can sell you three different types…”. I’m fairly certain that you’d shut the door in their face. The best part of education in your marketing is that some of your customers don’t realise that a) they have a problem in the first place and will do eventually, and b) at no point do people feel like they are being sold to. No one likes being sold to. Ever.
And lastly, the inspiration bit. As someone who watches businesses professionally I’ve personally come to the conclusion that the word ‘inspirational’ is over used in the English language, but that’s for a different article and video at a later date. In this context I’m talking about what your customers life would look like having used your products or services. How much easier, happier, cosy, abundant, etc, it could be.
In the words of MeatLoaf, “Two out of three ‘aint bad”, but if you get all three, you my friend have a Golden Goose that will lay leads, customers and clients time after time.
Now I’m not entirely certain wether we have been brainwashed in the last three months or it has crept up slowly, but businesses have become almost self-obsessed. The three words that will s@@@ all over your marketing are “I, me and we.” Here’s the thing folks…No-one gives a s@@@ about you. Genuinely. Marketing is NOT a popularity contest. Business marketing should be all about what you can do for the customer.
“Your business is not about you, it just starts with you.”
Market what you do and not who you are. I’ve never met anyone who’s read a mission statement or a vision statement on a website yet, and if all you do is talk about is yourself and you were in a networking meeting, you’d get little to no business. So, Educate, Inspire and Entertain. Go find your Golden Goose and stop s@@@ing on your marketing. Spend time, energy and money on getting a return on investment and not an ego trip.
(Incidentally…if you don’t think I’m right. Check out the one year that Jon Lewis used a celebrity for their Christmas advert. It was all about Elton John and people got confused because Jon Lewis weren’t selling piano’s. But there was a video that people DID think was the Jon Lewis advert that year…and it was by a filmmaker who made it on £50, see our interview with that man HERE and learn about story telling in marketing)
Really Common Small Business Mistakes to Watch Out For (and Avoid)
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