Marketing 017

Marketing Your Business Like a Professional

Running your company day-to-day and then marketing your business like a professional is no easy task.

Often marketing takes a back burner to what seems like the more essential tasks of getting a business off the ground.

marketing your business like a professional

First, there’s the actual setting up of the business, such as securing a physical location for it, then there’s the job of hiring staff, if that is essential to your operation, and of course trying to get new customers in the door, which is by far the most important aspect of your fledgling new venture.

Marketing often seems like an after-thought.

And for many small business owners, it’s really a confusing prospect. Given that most small business owners wear many hats, they are often left with a number of choices.

Should I set up a website first and then create a social media presence? Is it worth it to advertise in the local paper, if my community has one, or to depend on referrals?

While a website, complete with a logo and tagline, is a good place to start, there are other things that you should think about as you grow your business.

Here are some ideas on what you should be thinking about and doing as you go about marketing your business like a professional.

Don’t make branding complicated

Part of the branding process is about giving your potential customers an accurate idea of what you do. Unfortunately, some people muddy that up by explaining their business in a convoluted fashion or have no clear elevator pitch when someone asks them what they do.

At a travel conference that I attended last month, Clay Hebert, a leading branding expert who works with executives and entrepreneurs, said that what most companies fail to do is get their potential customers interested.

“You want to create intrigue over information,” he told attendees attending the TravelCon event in Boston. “Get them interested but don’t explain everything you do either.”

computer monitor marketing your business like a professional

Hebert suggests that you should actually have more than one tagline. Create infinite intros, he added. An example could be, “We Turn Ideas into Books” or “I Turn Words into Sales.” Both could be used to represent the same brand but focusing on different aspects of it.

Choose words that you can own and that define you and your business. Serial entrepreneur and social media influencer Gary Vaynerchuk identifies with the term “hustle.” Tony Robbins associates himself with confidence-building and fearlessness.

Whatever you truly believe your brand represents, you should say it as succinctly as possible and tell anyone who will listen. Over time, it will resonate.

Even if you’re afraid of digital, do it anyway

Now if you were lucky enough to be coached by Tony Robbins himself, he would tell you to embrace your fears and dive right in.

When Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff was vacationing on Robbins’ island in Fiji a few years ago, the billionaire took Benioff and his friends to a bridge in the middle of the night and asked them to jump.

Fearful, they jumped anyway and lived to tell the tale.

While embracing technology is way less risky than jumping off a bridge in the dark, the fear for many is certainly real.

Many of today’s digital tools are fairly intuitive and when in doubt, there’s always YouTube.

The real lesson in embracing digital is the positive impact it can have on your bottom line, never mind the opportunity it opens up to expose yourself to customers that no amount of networking could ever do.

Being on Facebook, for example, doesn’t mean that you will instantly acquire customers. It’s more about posting valuable content and interacting with your followers in a meaningful fashion. And that can go a long way.

Nobody really cares about you

It’s sad but true. Nobody really cares about your business. They’re only interested in how you can solve their problems by giving them what they want.

Which is why addressing the problems that your prospective customers are experiencing is so important.

As a pet owner, I’m often frustrated when my cat makes a practice of sitting on top of my keyboard as I type. I would love to find a distraction that mimics my laptop.

A quick Google search produced this nifty item.

But you get what I mean.

computer monitor marketing your business like a professional

Marketing guru Seth Godin believes that anyone who tweets about a brand is not doing it because they are absolutely in love with that brand. They are doing so because it represents something about them, which is why people post to Facebook and other social media channels.

Godin adds that if Airbnb went away, would anyone care? He contends that while the company is nothing more than a place for people to crash, there are a tribe of followers who would deeply miss the brand the same way that others would miss Apple Computer because it speaks to our emotional investment in such products and services.

With all of that in mind, be mindful of promoting your products with an end goal in mind. Think about what your customers are struggling with and tailor your marketing to that.

Start with a story

In her book, “Let the Story Do the Work: The Art of Storytelling for Business Success,” author Esther Choy talks about the essential elements related to storytelling in business.

They include the usual components of a story with a beginning, a middle and an end; the elemental parts of a story that often include challenges, journeys, resolutions and a call to action; the authentic, which draws on the emotions of the reader; as well as the strategic, which motivates them to act.

Emotion and audience can, and do have, the most impact when used properly, says Choy.

typewriter marketing your business like a professional
Graphic by Colette Connolly

It’s not enough to promote the features of your product or service, it’s actually essential that you also promote the feeling that a person will get once she/he has the product in hand. This works really well with activewear that appeals to the consumer’s desire to look good, even in the gym.

Conversely, it can also work in other ways, too, such as tugging at a person’s feelings toward a cause or a belief. The Humans of New York Facebook does a really great job of this. Even though the posts are long, followers have come to learn that there’s a benefit to reading the captivating stories and usually a lesson in it for them, too.

When you’re promoting your products or services, either through a blog post or on your social media channels, keep the emotional benefit to your customers in mind.

Hopefully, the above strategies will provide you with some valuable tips on marketing your business like a professional. Let me know if you’ve used any of these or if there are other ways you have found work equally well.

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