Marketing is dead.
At least traditional marketing is.
People don’t want to be cajoled, tricked, or begged into buying from you. 81% of buyers research the options before talking to a salesperson. When you pounce on them with unsolicited emails and phone calls, it turns them off much the same way an overly persistent courter might. To win loyal business and improve your word-of-mouth marketing, you don’t need to be Don Juan. People aren’t looking for suave, but fake approaches. Attracting the right customer can be as complex as finding the right person and experiencing an amazing date.
Here’s how you can do that.
Win Them Over Like a First Date
On a first date, smart daters are on their best behavior. You don’t want to lie but you also don’t want to open up about all your excess baggage. Think of your marketing as a great first date and don’t do these things.
1. Pick the wrong place for your date
The difference between a good date and a great date often comes down to two things – connection and personalization. The connection happens naturally, but if you spend time thinking about your date’s interests and creating a special time based on that person, the date will be so much better than selecting the same place for every date. Personalize your approach. Show them things they want to see. Take them places that suit their interests.
2. Only talk about yourself
Talking about yourself all night is enough to turn anyone off. The same can be said on your blog or social media, so don’t do it. Talk about what your audience is interested in and that usually starts with getting to know more about them.
3. Choose everybody
Sometimes you know from the beginning someone is not a good fit for you but you decide to move ahead anyway. Whether you’re talking about dating or customers, this type of action is ill-advised. In business marketing, it’s important to know your ideal customer. Both of you will be happier if you stick to people who are a good fit for you and what you have to offer.
4. Brief them on your beliefs but don’t discuss theirs
A great date usually involves stimulating conversation. Amazing conversationalists ask other people’s opinions. Try crowdsourcing some decisions in your business with the help of your ideal audience member. A great date might ask you what you thought about something and then linger on your answer. Remember how amazing that feels? Give your customers that feeling too.
5. Believe your person is an island
Most people who are dating understand very few people make decisions in a vacuum. People have a best friend or family member they talk things over with. The same is true of purchases. People consult reviews, ask friends, and poll social networks. Understanding where your customers get their answers can help you have more influence over their decisions.
6. Force the issue
A great date never pressures you to order dessert, go somewhere you don’t like, or spend more time with them than you want to. High-pressure marketing and sales don't work anymore, particularly when so many people are narrowing down their business choices before even speaking to anyone. That’s why you need plenty of resources on your website. You need to be making a good first impression, even when your business is closed.
7. Don’t ask to see them again
A great date talks about seeing you again and means it. Excellent marketing provides ideas for next steps as well; no pressure just suggestions on where things could lead. This means your blog should have suggestions of posts the reader might also enjoy. Your shopping cart also makes suggestions based on buying or viewing history. Pages have calls to action. Many a great date has been ruined because someone is too afraid to talk about what to do next.
A Final Word About What Marketers Can Learn from a Great First Date
Sales and business choices can’t be forced. They must happen organically. Just like on a great date, show interest in the person you’re with. Make sure that person is your ideal and fits what you’re looking for. Talk about topics that interest them. Don’t push things, but do talk about next steps, and provide them with the information they will find interesting.
A great date is never (just) about you and your preferences. It needs to be great for both people and the best way to ensure that is to involve them. The same is true of your marketing.
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Associations North (formerly Midwest Society of Association Executives’) Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.
She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.