In fact, I got a call this morning from someone who “was going to be in the area” tomorrow and wanted to come by my office to they could show me how to save money.
The caller was getting flustered because the words on her script didn’t seem to be doing the trick. I simply didn’t want her to come visit me. (Never mind that I’ve moved and am now 8 hours away from the area!)
Old-style, pushy marketing still works in some instances, but in most cases, it doesn’t work. People don’t want to be sold.
That’s why I’m a proponent of no-hype marketing. It really is possible to sell without making people feel like you’re hitting them over the head with your product. You can drive action without being pushy.
But now, having said that, I want to make one thing clear…
No-hype marketing is still marketing.
I say this because I recently talked with a guy—a very successful guy—who wanted to make his marketing more profitable. There was just one catch: He didn’t want to do things like everyone else. So when I suggested he strengthen his brand and stop the leaks in his sales funnel, he left the conversation.
In my opinion, he left a lot of money on the table when he did that.
Maybe you have that feeling too. Marketing seems unsavory, like the stereotypical used car salesman. You want to be a cut above the competition and stay away from anything that looks pushy.
That’s great. I agree with you. The trouble is, no hype does not mean no marketing.
You must have a brand
A brand is more than your logo and color scheme. It’s your style. Your core message. The way you treat your customers. Your brand is, in essence, a promise to your customers.
A strong brand builds trust and attracts loyal customers. And here’s the thing: With a strong brand, you need less hype to persuade people to do business with you.
When I work with marketers, the first thing I evaluate is whether they’ve got a solid brand. What makes a brand?
- Consistent look and feel
- Unique voice or style
- Evokes the senses and/or emotions
You probably expected the first three bullets. But what about the final three? Did you ever think of a brand as emotional or human?
All you have to do is look at Coca-Cola’s branding to realize how true that is. These days, it looks like they’re merging their “buy happiness” message with their old “it’s the Real Thing” messaging. Their Google+ page is filled with people from around the world, enjoying football, a coke bottle or two in the foreground.
Today’s consumers are tired of talking to corporations. They want to do business with people, and they want those people to understand who they are and what they care about.
That’s why your brand needs a recognizable personality.
It can be a brash, no-nonsense personality; a devoted save-the world personality; or anything else that connects with your audience. But whatever it is, it needs to relate to your core message, your products, and your audience.
You must have a sales funnel
Your brand is the part of your marketing that people see. It’s their personal experience with your business. But behind your brand, you need to have a well-structured, strategic marketing plan that takes people by the hand and leads them toward the sale.
The touch points don’t have to be pushy or have the old-style direct response voice. They can be written with your brand’s voice, whatever you decide that should be.
But in the background, your marketing will look suspiciously like a traditional marketing funnel.
You need a lead magnet, something that attracts people and makes them want to give you their email address. You need a low-cost offer that gets people to try your stuff. And you need a flagship offer, a core product that your business is built around. In between, you need a process for building trust and relationship, so when people are ready, they won’t hesitate to respond to your offer.
Again, all this can be communicated in a human, no-hype voice. But you cannot dispense with a structured marketing funnel.
You must stop the leaks
Increasing sales means keeping more people in the funnel. That requires finding all the places where people give up and go to your competition.
Leaks can be caused by bad usability on your website. They can also be caused by bad copywriting, lack of trust, or poor proof elements, among other things. Your job, as a marketer, is to figure out why people may be leaving, and then test different solutions for keeping them engaged.
One key here is to be sure you’re only allowing your Ideal Prospects into the funnel. Don’t invite dog owners into your funnel if you only sell bird cages. By tailoring your message to bird owners, you’ll get fewer people in your funnel, but a higher percentage will buy.
Here are a few suggestions for finding and stopping funnel leaks:
- Know who you’re targeting.
- Write all your messaging to address their needs, wants and desires.
- Review all possible objections and where they might occur in the funnel.
- Craft content that addresses and answers those objections—then make sure it’s available when those objections arise.
- Clarify your unique selling proposition. What do you offer that no one else does?
- Take a close look at the usability of your site. Fix everything that might frustrate users.
No hype is no excuse
If you resist being sold, I’m right there with you. But if your aversion makes you resist marketing, you need to rethink your position. You’re in business to sell. You need a complete marketing funnel.
No hype doesn’t mean no marketing. It’s just a smart way to do business.