In an attempt to stay relevant, many businesses have begun aggressively offering what they think of as “freebies”. Actually, this is just marketing, and it’s 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, I thought 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 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. The ad has to lead somewhere compelling.
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 finds resistance from business owners because they mistakenly think they’re allowing themselves to 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.”
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.
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 muck it up or get out of their depth.
Then they make contact to because they’re ready to allow your product or service take over the 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 based on some sort of online tutorial 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 publishes the online demo videos.
Summary: Jab, 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 where bombarding strangers with bold propositions is the done thing.
Because they see advertising as a numbers game, they’re willing to make their approach a hit and run affair, like 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.
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 jabs before you even think of landing a right hook.