During COVID lockdowns, many small businesses stumbled across effective marketing strategies as a direct result of trying to stay altruistically relevant. This is long overdue!
A few weeks ago a local martial arts instructor on Facebook posted several kickboxing videos of him and his son training in their garden.
This piqued my interest because I haven’t kick boxed in years and have wanted to see video footage featuring a local instructor. It’s helpful to get an idea of what exactly is being taught while witnessing the personality of the business owner.
Naturally, it made me think of the “free” fitness classes by Joe Wicks, who can obviously afford to do such a thing while benefiting from it as a long-term marketing strategy.
But for the local, small businesses, the sudden altruism seems to have come about because of the very real possibility of going broke or fading to obscurity.
I can’t help but imagine that a heightened sense of fiscal mortality has kicked in, and, with the situation clearer, many previously “lazy” businesses are now actually marketing instead of begging or bragging.
Stop Advertising, Start Marketing
As a problem solver, it’s important you adequately demo your solution in as much detail as possible. Doing so sets expectations and, in the most exceptional cases, attracts new customers for years without you ever having to advertise.
That doesn’t mean advertising is bad. It means many businesses are putting the cart before the horse by not offering anything of interest on the off-chance someone does pay attention. If you are going to run adverts, is this advert leading to an interesting landing page on your website?
Do Marketing That Is Genuinely Useful
The strategy of being generous, detailed, educational, specific and useful (nicknamed Youtility by Jay Baer) has been around for decades.
Of course, the whole idea of divulging tips or being overly transparent usually gets resisted because businesses mistakenly think they’re allowing themselves to somehow be robbed.
“Why would I give it away for free?” they say. “Why tell them how it’s done? I should keep quiet and just charge for it. It’s crazy. This is not charity!”
But search YouTube for instructions on how to change a light bulb, cook a chicken, hang wallpaper, install WordPress or perform a running tornado kick, and you’ll find it. These are the first steps to getting and keeping a person’s attention, and
The concerns surrounding the idea of giving away information is partly true; most people WILL watch your video and solve their own problem – free – but a minority will screw it up or get out of their depth. Then they make contact with you because they’re ready to let you as a vendor/provider take over reigns.
They’re ready to submit and become a customer.
Education Is the Best Marketing
To this day, I get emails from strangers asking me to perform some sort of service because of online tutorials created by me years ago.
Often, the problem they are attempting to solve has evolved beyond the scope of whatever free information is available. Other times, they were doing something slightly different to what I’d described in an article or video. And that’s when I get hired.
Similarly, there’s only so much kickboxing I can do by myself at home. At some point, when the virus is less of a threat, I’m going to need to join a class, and I’ll probably go for the one that published the free online demo videos.
Summary: Jab, Jab, Right Hook
Setting expectations and demonstrating competence, ability and trustworthiness is what warms up prospects. It’s the opposite to the mass marketing strategies in which bombarding strangers (think of them as “cold suspects” instead of “warm prospects”) with bold propositions is the done thing.
Because many businesses see advertising as a numbers game, they’re willing to forego a long-term strategy in favour of short term tactics. It’s like a hit and run affair. Or kissing someone without so much as a hello… and not a quick peck on the cheek either, but an overly-entitled wet smooch that tastes of cigarettes. Get off me!
To return to the theme of fighting, and to paraphrase Gary Vaynerchuck (a jumped-up marketing hype man but he’s correct on this one) you must deliver lots of well-aimed jabs before you even think of trying to land a right hook.