I’m not “against” marketing.” We both have marketing backgrounds, after all. And when you really think about it, we’re all “marketers” in some way. We just label it different things.
The kind of marketing I’m talking about is the new era of Personal Marketing as opposed to the old era of hard-sell marketing most people think about when they hear the word. (You can see a great summary of Personal Marketing and the TransformNation marketing philosophy on the chart at the bottom of this page.)
You don’t need to learn to be a marketer to succeed online.
To do marketing on the Personal Web, you only need to embrace your passion, the value you provide others, and your audience — and then learn to use only those tools you’ll need to help you reach your audience as a natural extension of doing what you love.
The challenge in helping a ‘regular person’ to reach an audience online would seem to be that once they have a platform, they have to become a marketing specialist in order to continue to find and convert new prospects. “Isn’t there a whole load of special ‘tricks’ and ‘tactics’ I have to learn to get people to my site and to sell them once they are there?” It could be like a second job just keeping up with the marketing of your site.
What if there were a way to make all that go away, and still draw an enthusiastic crowd and make a living? In fact, what if that was the only way to really succeed at this . . . to BE the genuine article and not an ‘online marketer’ trying to recreate the qualities of a product or persona that gets buzz and loyalty?
What if by just following a few principles you probably know intuitively, but may be a bit afraid to fully embrace, you can out-perform all of the ‘marketing tactics’ you could spend hours and hours trying to learn?
So what are the six naturally-occurring principles behind just being who you are and drawing a crowd, getting buzz, creating loyalty, and making a living online?
This is one of the primary reasons we encourage all of our clients to choose a topic or business they can remain excited about over time.
Enthusiasm is contagious. Passion makes you better, makes your message stronger, and makes your content more saturated with value. People who are truly passionate about what they do and say are inspiring. They engage us emotionally. They make us feel alive and we want to be around them. They seem easier to trust because they are so clearly broadcasting their core message to the world.
These principles are not unknown to marketing experts. In fact, it is these very principles, and their byproducts, that marketing is designed to ‘simulate.’ That’s sometimes the problem. When you try to recreate these things – artificially – for the sake of marketing, you risk coming across as slick, false, and inauthentic. And most of us have a built in crap-o-meter. We know when we’re being manipulated by pretty pictures and promises.
The advantage of being a TransformNation solopreneur, or one who has chosen to follow their own path, is that you can express yourself right from your very core all the way out into your blog and other marketing messages – and mean every word of it. You can be passionate and authentic, not just simulate authenticity and passion. If you are not passionate about what you’re doing, then this is probably the wrong model for you.
3. Clear objectives
Really knowing what it is you are all about, what your vision is for your audience, what transformation you want them to experience as a result of interacting with you, will automatically infuse all of your communication with a clarity and focus. Because you know, very clearly, what you want them to feel and know and do as a result of your message or product, they will not feel like your blog posts or tweets are ever random, confusing, or pointless — and not worthy of their time or attention.
4. Genuine concern for your audience
This one can get a little trickier than the others, because it’s our natural tendency to be self-focused.
We do, after all, see the world only through our own eyes. And, when you are passionate about and steeped in your own message, it is very easy to lose track of how people who are hearing it for the very first time might feel, what problems they might have getting from where they are to where you are.
This is why a critical part of our model is really getting inside your customer’s head, needs, hopes, and even dreams. A genuine concern for your audience implies that you have a desire, and make the effort to make sure they really “get” your message.
You have a level of expertise that makes it easy to forget what it was like to learn what you know. But, if you can nurture that part of you that truly cares about your audience, that truly wants them to receive the full benefits of what you have to offer, you will naturally spend more time putting yourself in their shoes. You will start to form a habit of always thinking about whom you are writing to, and how the message might sound to them.
- What questions might they have?
- What concerns or objections might they perceive?
- What fears might keep them from embracing what you have to offer?
- What kinds of life events might they be experiencing that lead them to seek you out?
- What do they need to know about you in order to feel comfortable and trust you?
Again, these should be marketing 101, but when you really care about your audience you will not have to read online marketing books to know this. This will come naturally.
5. Commitment to top quality
This is one that marketers get wrong frequently. They sometimes think that quality is not as important as the catchy headline, the big promise, or the promotional offer and free bonus gift.
When you are just selling ‘any old thing’ and not your own true passion, it can be pretty hard to create truly inspiring and excellent materials. This is where you can have a leg up on the competition. Commit to only producing the very best you are capable of. If that means you miss posting a blog one week because you just feel it needs more work, great. If that means you have 2-3 eBooks instead of 20, fine.
What do you think the impact is on your audience if every single time they read something from you, they KNOW it will be good? Now, how about if their experience is that 8 out of 10 times it is kind of just filler and not that interesting or relevant? What impact do you think that has on how many people on your mailing list are actually active? Can you imagine the impact it has on how many people actually respond to your offers and product launches if they all, always, open every blog?
Traditional marketers wince at this because they think that lack of frequency will cause attrition (people will drop off your list). I’ll ask you: what is better, 1,000 people who read every word you ever write and take you up on your product offers to the tune of 50% – 70%; or a list of 10,000 with the typical ‘open rate’ of 20-30% and a typical ‘conversion’ rate of about 3% of those actually becoming customers?
- 70% of 1,000 passionate followers
- 3% 10,000 luke-warm customers
You do the math.
When you are just selling ‘any old thing’ and not something you’re passionate about, it can be pretty hard to create truly inspiring and excellent materials. This is where you can have an advantage over your competition.
When you are truly concerned for your audience’s welfare and truly passionate about your message, you probably have an innate drive to share your message with as many people as possible.
Ever had one of those religions knock on your door passing out pamphlets? These people care so deeply about a message, that to their mind, they can’t stay home. The leader of that ‘audience’ no doubt encourages this evangelism – perhaps even instills a sense of duty, provides them with tools and skills for sharing the message.
In traditional marketing you have seen this, too, in the form of referral programs, ‘tell a friend’ buttons, and now all of social media, Twitter, Facebook, etc. All of these–when used to their best advantage and intended purpose– can be tools for spreading a message using ‘evangelism.’ All you have to do, as the leader of your audience, is naturally encourage the sharing of information by your devotees.
Give them things to say, things to share, ways to share, reason to share and support or even rewards.
Here’s the best part: If you’re following the first five points, this last part will just come naturally for your audience.