If you haven’t reached a potential customer through pre-selling efforts before they need to make a purchase, here’s how you can get their attention when they do need to make a purchase. This week we will be answering the question “what is marketing”, covering some important concepts about marketing, and setting ourselves up to discuss the marketing funnel next week.
What is marketing? Simple question, but the answer is not so simple. There are hundreds if not thousands of answers to this question and dozens of tools designed to make marketing easier to understand. Which answer is the correct answer? Can more than one answer be correct depending upon the situation? How do I know which tool to use? AHHHHH!!!!!! Unfortunately the answer to all of these questions is the same, it depends.
Marketing is easiest to understand if we start with a product that each of us is intimately familiar with, ourselves. We essentially market ourselves countless times every day. Each time we meet someone for the first time we are marketing ourselves. Each time we bump into an old acquaintance we are marketing ourselves. And each time we tell a good friend about a new development in our life we are marketing ourselves.
Consistent factors determine how we market ourselves and our businesses.
- Product – which version of ourselves do we want the other person to see?
- Placement – where is that version of ourselves located? Online, in person, etc…
- Price – what do we want from that other person in exchange?
- Promotion – – where are we connecting with this person? Face-to-face, over the phone, via email, etc…
All of these factors are dependent upon knowing context.
Do you know the person already? Has a friend introduced you? What do you know about the person you are meeting or about the friend who introduced you? In social situations it is easier to market ourselves if we know something about the person we are talking to or know why they are talking to us. The same is true when marketing your business. It’s a heck of a lot easier if you know your target customer.
How do you get to know him or her?
The best way to get to know someone you’ve just met or your customers is to ask them questions. In business, as when meeting someone, be polite and considerate with your questions because customers are, after all, people. While you may want to know specific details about your customers, few people are open to an interview while many people are open to a conversation. For example, rather than asking directly about annual household income, make a reference to work or vacation and follow up by asking what the customer does.
What do you do once you know him or her?
Once you’ve gotten to know someone a little bit or gotten to know your model customer a bit, then what? Continue the conversation by slowly revealing a bit about yourself and learning a bit more about the other person. Don’t ask too much and don’t overshare. Then when an opportunity arises, casually ask for their contact information. In business, as when meeting someone new, don’t push and ask for their contact information too soon or without a follow up context.
In marketing this ‘ask’ is commonly referred to as a call to action and not all calls to action are created equally. For example, “Join Now!” does not provide any context while, “Sign up for our newsletter to receive weekly updates covering health and safety practices on your jobsite” is much more comprehensive.
Stay tuned next week for a discussion of how the marketing funnel works and for a list of 17 amazing calls to action that can help improve your conversion rates. Good luck out there!