Entrepreneurs, CEOs and Department Heads, I have some saddening yet vital news to share with you: No one cares about your business. They don’t care about your products or your packages or your special deals or your delivery time or your features. They don’t even care about your weekly email newsletter that you put so much time and effort into. Womp womp. Now, don’t kill the messenger or throw your computer out the window. Just hear me out, and trust that the solution is right in front of you (and it’s easier than you think). When it comes to selling in 2018, no matter what industry you are in, it’s essential to stop viewing your customers as potential upsell opportunities. Why? When you’re so focused on retaining these clients through relentless deals and product descriptions, you’re losing sight of the fact that you are selling to a human being. And human beings take action when emotion is evoked.
In his best-selling book Start With Why, motivational speaker and marketing consultant Simon Sinek demonstrates how Apple does this better than any other company. “If Apple was like everyone else a marketing message might be: “We make great computers. They’re user friendly. Want to buy one?” Here’s how Apple actually communicates: “In everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo, we believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?” The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have, the goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”
If you want people to care about your business, you need to know where your actions became misaligned with their interests. Here are 4 ways that you’re probably messing up, and how to turn it around fast:
#1 You’re completely misunderstanding the point of social media
According to The Sales Management Association, 80% of firms believe their sales department would be more effective if they had a better social media presence, yet 67% of companies don’t have a social media strategy for their sales team. Does this not blow your mind? So many companies are spending thousands of hours and millions of dollars on social media, yet very few know how to navigate it properly to generate a recognizable ROI from their efforts. When social media became mainstream for the everyday user, its intentions were clear: to be a space to inspire human connection through content and personal expression. And while today, social media has evolved into a different animal that operates mostly as a pay-to-play model, its objectives remain the same: the highest quality, most personable, most digestible content is what earns visibility in newsfeeds. Everything else gets buried. It was not built for marketers, salespeople or recruiters. It was built for friendships.
And so, when the average potential customer heads over to Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest, they’re going to connect, engage and learn with those they trust. They are not going to read about your personality-less product. So why are you talking about that in the first place? If you’re looking to skyrocket your engagement on social and generate more leads, ask yourself this; How can you provide content that’s going to resonate with their values instead of their wallets? What can you serve that’s going to instantly put them at ease, comfort them, make them laugh, and inspire them? How can you stop talking about what you sell, and instead talk about why you sell it? How can you share as a friend – with empathy, with humor, with solutions, with interesting ideas, with gifts – that’s going to make them trust you?
Both your company and individual employees should be using social media correctly in order to increase business. Believe it or not, leads developed through employees’ social media activities convert 7 times more frequently than other leads. When you create your social media content calendar, make a conscious effort to leave out promotional content, and instead focus your customers as human beings who crave solutions and support. If you can make it about that, you’re golden.
#2 You aren’t focused on social proof
Be honest with yourself: How often are you collecting customer testimonials? How many client success stories do you share on your website? Are your digital platforms covered in user-generated feedback? Quality UGC is the best testimonial any business can receive and share. So, it’s time to straighten out your priorities. A whopping 92% of people trust recommendations from individuals (even if they don’t know them) over brands, and your sales representative is 2-4x more likely to make a sale when the prospect is a warm lead who was referred to them by a mutual connection.
Again, people trust people. Not businesses. So why are you trying to force your message on your clients when they’re much more likely to be convinced by their peers? Save yourself the time and ad dollars by putting your effort into generating customer feedback and putting that content at the forefront of your brand. Remember, people don’t like to be sold to, but they do like to buy. So, let them come to the conclusion on their own that they need you by letting their testimonials do the talking, instead of you trying to convince them.
#3 You lack a face to the brand
If you look at the most prominent brands in almost any industry today, you will see one clear differentiating factor allowing them to rise above the noise: they have a powerful CEO or spokesperson (aka, a real human being) holding the torch. “We are often drawn to those with strong, positively-impactful personalities — and we always remember them,” said Sam Hurley. And he couldn’t be more right. When you put a face to the brand, trust and loyalty are instantly established.
If you look at marketing and sales funnel software, for example, ClickFunnels instantly comes to mind. Now, does ClickFunnels necessarily have a more superior product to competitors such as Leadpages? I would argue that no, it does not. But ClickFunnels has developed one of the strongest, most loyal customer bases in the world because they identify with their founder, Russell Brunson. Russell isn’t just a CEO – he’s a father of five, a husband, a Christian, a writer, football fan, a potato gun shooter (it’s an Idaho thing apparently). He’s someone who his customers can relate to and aspire to become. And when Russell realized the power of his own personal brand, he went all in by writing books, creating video content, and speaking at events to show why his customers can trust him, and consequently invest in his software.
Today, ClickFunnels is a $360 million SaaS company and has a net worth of approximately $37 million. Business coach Nancy Loehr reiterates how Russell reached this success through his famous concept of the Attractive Character, which he discusses in his book, DotCom Secrets. “The Attractive Character is not thought of as attractive based on their looks as much as WHO they are. It is a persona that is created based on who your target market is – what kind of person would most likely be able to speak the language of your niche,” Loehr states on her website.
Russell Brunson, Image Source
Within the cosmetics industry, Kylie Cosmetics has made $420 million, and her company only launched two years ago. Her birthday collection alone generated $10 million in sales in a single day. Does Kylie produce superior makeup? Definitely not. But the brand’s success lies in her personality and her transparency through social media. People want to be her, and therefore they buy.
“Just what makes Jenner so influential? First, there’s the fact that, unlike many of her Hollywood peers, she seems to truly let her audience inside her everyday life. The new definition of fame has everything to do with access,” says MaryLeigh Bliss, chief content officer at youth research firm YPulse. “The Kardashian sisters are all famous, obviously, but Kylie is the social media native. Giving fans that access through such a huge variety of social media platforms is really easy and natural for her.” Through her content, which is admittedly entertaining, Kylie provides her audience with an inside look into the life of a celebrity. “She’s doing everything that teenagers want to be doing—driving around in a fabulous car, hanging out with her friends, not appearing to be too burdened by schoolwork or homework or too many responsibilities,” says Teen Vogue editor in chief Amy Astley. “It’s a total, vicarious thrill.”” said Emma Bazilian in AdWeek. So, ask yourself: do your clients want to be you? Do they even know you?
#4 You aren’t taking your content marketing strategy seriously
Let me guess – your blog is littered with cheesy articles about the latest industry updates with subtle hyperlinks that lead back to a sales page. Customers read right through shallow, inauthentic content. So if you’re taking a lot of time to produce it, you’re wasting your sweet time. This doesn’t just apply to your blog content, of course. Same goes for your newsletters, your social media content, your sales funnels, everything. Be highly strategic with the quality of content you produce, because people are watching it more closely than you think. Compared to traditional marketing programs, content marketing costs 62% less and generates approximately three times the volume of leads. And business buyers spend 56% of the sales cycle searching for and engaging with content. That means that people are looking for reasons to connect with you on a deeper level, but if they don’t find it, they’ll easily move onto your competitors.
Instead of merely blogging for the sake of SEO, focus on the quality. When people read it, will they feel inspired? Supported? Educated? Will they remember it? Will it change their life? You’re only as good as your last piece of content, so what will it be? Identify what you can create that evokes purpose beyond your business and come up with a clear strategy for making your content marketing work. Then, translate it into a content calendar that you can stick to. Again, I hate to burst your bubble, but no one cares about your business. Luckily, this can (and will) change when you embrace the power of personal branding, values, connection, and fundamental human trust. You’ve got this. Now, go win some friends!