Well hello there! Catherine Langman here with you on the Productpreneur Success Podcast. Welcome to the show if you’re a new listener, and welcome back if you’re a long-time listener.
A couple of Christmasses ago now, I went to my husband’s work Christmas party. It would nearly be the last party I attended I reckon. Because clearly no-one has been having Christmas parties (or pretty much any party) any more recently than that. I remember I was sick as a dog at the time, and again, it’s been a good couple of years since anyone would dare go out in public whilst sick, but at the time hubby really didn’t want to go alone, so I put on my big girl panties (along with a tonne of under-eye concealer and my biggest smile!) and went along like the good wifey I (sometimes) am.
And I got stuck at the very end of the table next to the most boring person in the room.
I’m sure she’s quite lovely if you get to know her, but she literally had nothing to say. I asked various questions, trying to find out what she’s interested in to open up a conversation, but got one-word answers every time. Door shut.
(But hey, at least there was wine…)
Is there anything more damaging to your social life than being labelled as a bore? (Bad BO perhaps?)
Today I Googled ‘how to be boring’ and it came up with over 3 billion results! So I guess it’s a problem then?
Apparently, scientists have discovered there are nine keys to being boring:
Displaying disinterest in others and only talking about yourself.
Having banal conversations – talking only about trivial or superficial things, repeating the same stories and jokes over and over again.
Not showing interest in the conversation. (This was my dinner date as described above.)
Tediousness with key points – talking slowly or taking too long to get to the point.
No opinion on anything. (No explanation necessary here!)
Self-preoccupation – perhaps a date with a guy who talks only about himself… Ugh!
Constant seriousness – no one feels inspired talking to someone who is always serious!
Being a try-hard, trying too hard to be funny or nice in order to impress other people.
Being distracted by other things. (Excuse me – just got a text message – just let me check that will you and I’ll be with you again in a minute….)
I don’t think any of us would knowingly behave like this in our personal relationships, would we? Especially us women, for whom nurturing personal relationships are so important and often come so naturally.
We show interest by listening and asking questions, we try to find ways to add value to the other, and we connect on an emotional level over topics more meaningful than the weather.
So let me ask you – how many of these Habits of Bores do you make, or see others make, in business?
It’s actually quite hard to notice boring marketing – because that’s the problem, it’s so boring you just gloss over it. It just doesn’t stop the scroll and is not memorable at all.
But when you do see it, it’s likely to be something like:
“We are ……….. We make/do …………. [Insert image of brand or widget.] Call us if you want one.”
Perhaps that is over-simplified, but hopefully you get my drift!
So today on the show, we’re going to have a little chat about how you can do the opposite of being boring. How you can really attract your audience, be engaging and fun and generally help your customers to fall in love with your brand. I once heard someone describe it as ‘rusted on customers’. You know – rust is stuck, it doesn’t go away!
Now, before we dive further into this episode, I’d like to ask you a quick favour: if you love this episode, would you share it with one or two of your business besties? Especially if you know they’re looking to seriously level up with their eCommerce brand this year. It’s super easy to share – just click on the icon next to the podcast on whichever platform you listen to it, copy the share link and then send it in a message to your friends.
Alrighty then – let’s dive into the episode.
So – I think one of the first reasons that brands accidentally become boring is that the brand owner or marketer is trying really hard to please everyone. To literally go super broad with their audience and try to appeal to anyone who might possibly need the kind of product in your product category.
Have you ever had that feeling of trying so incredibly hard to please everyone?
As a business owner I mean (although I’m sure plenty of us attempt the same in our personal lives as well…)
If I asked you the question, ‘Do your customers love you?’, some of you might be thinking, ‘Well I damn well hope so given how hard I try to please them all the time!’
But it doesn’t always work out that way, does it?
Sometimes you might log into your email marketing program and see a bunch of new unsubscribes and wonder, did I say something that offended you? Was my offer not awesome enough for you?
Sometimes you might target your Facebook ad to an audience you KNOW for SURE definitely, absolutely NEEDS your product.
But they don’t respond in droves. They don’t all want it like you thought they would.
ARGH! It’s so very frustrating isn’t it?
The second reason I think brands fall into the trap of being the bore at the party, is that they actually just don’t know how to create more interesting content.
And let’s face it, content is king when it comes to marketing online.
But we don’t all grow up mastering things like writing really great stories or being able to produce gorgeous images or engaging videos.
Even coming up with ideas that might suit all those creative media is really hard.
A lot of us will draw a blank and resort to the easiest option – showing our product, explaining what it is and doesn, how much it costs and inviting the customer to click here and buy.
And if that fails, offering a discount incentive to push them along to buy faster.
Unfortunately, only about 3% of your audience will respond to that message. Those are the ones who are not only problem aware but also product aware. Meaning, they have already decided that what you sell is what they want to buy.
The other 97% aren’t quite there yet, but that does not mean they’re not your ideal customer.
Think of it like the fast lane on the freeway, the slow lane on the freeway and the sidewalk.
3% of the traffic is driving like a bat out of hell as fast as they can go in the fast lane. These customers are easy to sell to, because they already want what you have to offer. You pretty much just have to put the offer in front of them.
Then you’ll have the majority who are sort of meandering down the road like they’re out for a Sunday drive. They might be problem aware, but they haven’t decided what to buy yet. They’re still trying to figure out what to do to solve their problem. So they’re not going to respond to your ‘here’s my product buy it now’ message.
And then you’ll have a few people going for a walk on the footpath. These people are neither problem aware or solution aware. They don’t even know they need something yet, so they sure as hell won’t respond to any of your marketing, and I wouldn’t bother trying to reach them at all.
Truth smack: Even if you are not actually disinterested in your customers as people, how many times do you actually talk to them about anything other than your own business or products?
I do understand that the ultimate goal in business is to make a sale, but if you can do it in a way that also paves the way for a long-term relationship with a customer then you’ll definitely reap the rewards!
For starters, you need to seek out your tribe. These are the ones who relate to your brand. Like Volvo car drivers want the safest car. Lamborghini drivers want the sexiest car.
Pretend you are your brand for a second. Who turns you on? You’ve got desires and preferences.
Maybe tall, dark and handsome architects make you go weak in the knees.
Maybe you’re a sucker for anyone with a Scottish accent.
Maybe a wicked sense of humour, or a talent in the kitchen gets your attention every time.
You’re allowed to prefer certain qualities over others, choose your friends, and choose your sweetheart.
You’re allowed to choose your customers, too.
It all starts by understanding what turns you on, in a business sense…and then actively seeking out those kinds of people.
This is where documenting your Customer Avatar comes in.
You’ve probably done a customer avatar exercise, right? I know most business owners have done so these days, but often they’re not really sure how to use it.
What you need to do with it is use it to inspire you on how to attract and engage with them. And this basically means presenting your brand with a bit of personality. If your brand were a movie character, how would you portray it in your content?
Next, you need to figure out what your tribe needs to know, understand and believe in order to make a purchase decision with you.
This involves learning as much about their buyer journey as possible. If you’ve ever struggled to know what should you be saying to customers and potential customers, when and how should you be saying it, and via which channel (such as email, social media, over the phone or on your website), then you really want to do this exercise.
Understanding and mapping out your Buyer’s Journey gives you a much deeper understanding of your customers than simply identifying and describing your ideal customer. It allows you to create content that achieves the right balance between the right information and the right offer at the right time for your audience. (No more boring the pants off them or sending out offers or promotions that completely miss the mark!)
Learning this process has been the biggest “A-Ha” moment for many of my clients, so I highly recommend it!
But you can’t just present information in a literal way, pointing out product features or stating logical facts. That will bore your customers to tears, if they even notice that kind of content at all.
So how do you communicate the right information in a more interesting way? So that your customers and potential customers will actually engage with your content?
Focus on the power of story-telling to deliver that content in an interesting way.
In the past, traditional marketing advice was to describe a product’s features and benefits. In this way, we would tell customers what our product is, what it does and why they should buy it.
There’s one big problem with this. Customers don’t want to buy something because of what it is and what it does. This is far too logical and makes the very big assumption that your customers will figure out for themselves that your widget will solve their problem.
In fact, this tactic has zero value with your customers, they don’t care if you sell your widget, they care about their own problem or need that they want to solve.
Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘possession is nine 10ths of the law’? Well, in my world of marketing and selling online, PERCEPTION is nine 10ths of reality.
To that end, I talk a lot about story-telling, and I do that for a really important reason. It’s through telling stories that our audience (our customers) can relate to your brand or product.
While headlines capture people’s attention, stories capture people’s imagination and help customers to see themselves in the story.
The more accurately you can describe the problem, need or desire of the person you’re selling to, and if you can speak to them about this in an emotional way and meet them where they’re at right now – be able to describe exactly what they’re experiencing right now – the more automatically they will believe you have the solution to their need (in the form of your product).
Try to impart this through telling stories – real stories, either from past customers or from your own experience, combining imagery and visuals as well as text to tell your story and take your customers on a journey.
Have you ever read the book ‘Building a StoryBrand’ by Donald Miller? If you haven’t – I highly, highly recommend it. Because this book will literally break down for you how to write a story with your customer as the hero.
Here’s how Miller’s ‘hero’s journey’ works as a way of communicating with customers: first, the customer is positioned as the hero. (Not your brand, your brand is NOT the hero, so make sure your website does not talk about ‘we or us’ and instead talks about the customer).
Anyway, your customers have a problem. Let’s say, their problem is, their baby just does not sleep – instead, he just cries constantly unless he’s being cuddled and rocked constantly by Mum or Dad. And let’s push it a bit further, because, as Miller puts it, “Brands tend to sell solutions to external problems, but people buy solutions to internal problems.” The customer-hero’s external villain is their crying, sleepless baby, but the internal villain is the fact that they feel like a failure of a parent. Along comes the guide, YOU, the brand with the tools and advice to deal with the problem. You roll in like Yoda, and you say, “I see you have a baby that cries and doesn’t sleep. I see this is making you feel anxious like you’re failing your child. I happen to have a plan for solving this problem, because I’ve been there, and I can help you.” You make it clear that if they use your plan, they will have success. They will overcome their problem and live happily ever after. If they choose not to, the consequence may be defeat.
Then, you can think about your brand’s tone of voice and personality. Is this story a comedy? Or a drama?
Of course, that is completely over-simplified.
But I hope that you can understand the story-arc of your customer’s buyer journey.
Bottom line – my goal with this episode is to help spark some ideas and also how you might use these concepts to create really engaging and impactful content that totally resonates with your ideal customer.
If you’re keen for some help with this stuff, please just give us a shout! Whether you need help to learn and implement these things, or you’d like to outsource to our team, just head over to productpreneurmarketing.com and you can book in for a free strategy session.
Otherwise, make sure you join in the conversation in our private Rockstar Productpreneur Facebook community. Simply head to catherinelangman.com/rockstar to get access for free.