~ THE BLOG ~
~Marketing Insights to Help You Grow Your Business~
Many marketers think the biggest challenge they have is all the noise around them. So many brands are screaming for awareness, how can you grab the attention of someone?
The real issue isn’t attention but sameness. Dull, boring, unoriginal products and services that are mere copycats- that is a marketer’s real challenge.
A lack of meaningful differentiation is the core problem. When you do something differently from everyone else, you become important and relevant to a community.
- How many companies make shirts? But how many companies make shirts for people who don’t want the shirt tucked into their pants? (Just one- untuckit.com )
- How many companies provide transportation for seniors? (How many make it so easy that all you need is a phone and no skills with apps? (Just one – gogograndparent.com)
- How many companies rent tuxes for weddings? (How many don’t have stores and deliver the tuxedo directly to your home and offer free alterations? Just one- blacktux.com )
Sameness is the Enemy
Products can be the same, but can you change the business model to remove friction from the purchase? How can you make it easier for customers to buy? How can you make the transaction seamless?
- The Dollar Shave Club sells a similar razor to Gillette. But they deliver them as a subscription to your home.
- Chewy takes the hassle out of going to a pet store and buying the same heavy cat food and litter each month by sending it to me automatically on the same day of each month.
- NPR makes it easier to give by setting up an auto deduction from my credit card, so I am now a sustainer. Instead of asking me to make a one-time pledge, it just happens each month.
Sameness means you blend into the category and behave like everyone else. Blah and boring are not a tactic to get people to talk about your brand.
It starts by knowing a community and understanding how you can serve them in a meaningful and different way.
Sameness is the enemy.
Don’t just think different.
Be different, act different and serve a distinctive community.
Need help finding a meaningful point of difference? I have a habit of thinking differently when it comes to business, brands, and marketing. I can help you grow your business. 919 720 0995 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credit: Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/chainsawpanda/43796088 Thanks, Megan Ann
To my blog readers who reached out and wished my Mom a happy 90th, thank you so much. Here is a little thank you note she wanted me to post:
To all my son Jeff’s blog followers, thank you for all the kind words for my 90th birthday. I had a wonderful celebration and I appreciate you honoring me. Love, Bea.
This is the story of Go Go Grandparent —When Justin Boogaard was living with his grandmother, she noticed how easily he could call for an Uber when he needed to go somewhere. He tried to show her how to use an app on an iPhone but she just couldn’t understand where to press or how to ask for help.
So Justin would order cars to come for her. Grandma would call him and he would arrange the transport.
And then a lightbulb went off – how many other grandparents could he help? Is there a market for other seniors who need a lower tech way to get a ride and could benefit from how Uber and Lyft work.
Justin and a business partner, David Lung created Go Go Grandparents.
His user interface was simple.
You set up an account for grandma or grandpa on a telephone talking to a human being. (Digital savvy grandchildren can go online and sign them up and register a credit card).
To get a car, you call a phone number (855) 464 – 6872 and press #1 on the phone a car will show up in 15 minutes. (Go Go arranges the service with Uber or Lyft). You can even show your grandparent a demo so they understand how to order a car on their phone.
When you want to come home from the beauty parlor, supermarket or drug store, you call the same number and press 3. (Pick me up from where you dropped me off). GGG serves as a concierge helping the elderly parent or grandparent with the arrangement. They tack on a nominal fee of a few dollars to the cost of Uber or Lyft.
Taking a service and refocusing the target saw an opportunity and didn’t want to recreate Uber or Lyft. Instead, he piggybacked on what they do, but just served the unique requirements of a specific market. He took the apps and high-tech away so that anyone with a telephone could use his service.
And my favorite thing — all his employees aren’t colleagues or associates but are called grandchildren.
- What happens when you simplify the user’s experience so that it can serve a specific audience. (people who are elderly, left-handed, red-headed or tall).
- Can your core product be vastly simplified for an audience who doesn’t need so much choice? Like a physical bookstore who only sells the top 100 books? Or a wine store (online) with fewer choices like WINC.
- When you see your product or services through the eyes of a unique community and population, you may find a new niche and possible market where you don’t have competition. (Yoga for seniors, haircuts for young children, dog sitting services for disabled).
Since my 90-year-old mom, Bea is still able to tap on an Uber app, I haven’t set her up on Go Go Grandparent. But, someday, it might be the exact solution to help her with some basic needs.
Is there a new market for what you sell that is right in front of your eyes? Not sure, go ask your grandma.
Need help finding a niche or rethinking your strategy? Call my mom and she will tell you how wonderful I am. Or just email me at email@example.com or 919 720 0995.
Photo credit: Go Go Grandparents Photo by Mick Tinbergen _ Unsplash
Of all the valuable advice, I received in the last thirty years in marketing; the single greatest insight was how important it is to nurture, maintain and build your network.
If you aren’t reaching out to people every week that you know on LinkedIn or similar contact collection systems, you are missing a big opportunity. And I’m not talking about networking when you get laid off or leave your job, I’m talking about every single work day.
You need to reach out to help others, not to ask for assistance. That’s the big secret.
Networking isn’t about asking someone to help you but offering your help and opening up your network to them. Helping is a lesson I learned by watching both of my grandfathers when I was a boy. I’d see them always assisting other people and not asking for anything in return. Not surprisingly, I also observed it as a regular behavior by my Mom and Dad too. I can hear my grandfather, Poppa George ask me, “who did you help today?”
It is a Game of Give and Take
As The Supremes sang in 1966, you can’t hurry love, and it is a game of giving and take. By offering to help others, you build trust, friendship and personal equity. So that one day, if you need a favor, your connection will be happy to help you. Have you read Gary Vaynerchuk’s Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook? He succinctly explains this concept.
Five Habits of Master Marketing Networkers
Help Them First: In reconnecting with someone you have spoken with in a long time, ask them how you can be of service to them. Don’t ask for anything in return. Help them succeed. Introduce them to someone in your network who might assist them. Get them connected to a group or team of colleagues who can serve their needs. Give first and don’t expect anything in return today. Consider your action like a networking IOU that you may cash in sometime in the future.
Daily Networking: Add everyone you meet to your network database the day you meet. I think of networking like a daily vitamin pill. Every day you meet at least one new business contact. Get their contact information and find a reason to connect with them. I do this every day and have been doing it for the last 30 years.
Weekly Networking: Spend time thinking about who you can introduce that could help both parties. I block time each week for connection activity where I introduce two people who don’t know each other but where the connection might help both parties. It is a conscious activity and important enough to invest one hour every week.
Annual Networking: Reconnect once per year to your top connections. You should touch base with most of your network at least once per year. LinkedIn makes it easy to connect with thousands of contacts by publishing posts about your ideas and helpful insights in your field. This week I reconnected with someone I hadn’t spoken with for three years. He told me he regularly reads my posts on marketing and follows my writing. There is a business opportunity for both of us, and if I didn’t take action, our reconnection wouldn’t have occurred.
Ask for Help: Don’t be shy about asking for help. After years of helping others, I don’t hesitate to ask for an occasional favor if it is someone I have helped in the past. I do it with intention and am not fearful of rejection. What’s the worst thing that will happen- someone says no, I’m sorry, I can’t help you.
Networking is one of the life forces of marketing. Connecting people, products or businesses can make you a hero and a friendly helper. For more on this topic, this is the best book written on this subject Give and Take by Adam Grant.
Poppa George would ask, “who have you helped today?”
Note from last week’s blog: If you couldn’t see the DID YOU KNOW video from my last post, here is a link to it. Copy and paste this link into your browser: https://youtu.be/rJZ7GCRssPw – Something funky happened on WordPress and I can’t figure out why it shows on my PC but not on the iPhone or RSS feed.
If you aren’t actively helping others succeed through effective networking, you are holding back your own success. Need some coaching on this topic? I can help. Call me at 919 270 0995 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo from Unsplash by Redd Angelo – marked as safe and free.
My mom turns 90 today, May 22, 2017. She was born in Philadelphia in 1927, the same day that Lindbergh landed in Paris.
If you have thirty seconds, would you send a Happy Birthday email to wish to her at email@example.com?
Yes, she uses email, has an Instagram account, loves Facebook, texts, and Ubers like a teenage girl?
This post ran a few years ago but is worth the reprise.
Happy birthday, Mom. I love you.
My ninety-year-old mother Bea has not grown up. It’s actually very sweet.
One of her most endearing qualities is that she believes that candy is a form of vitamin and that no meal is complete without dessert. It isn’t as if she suddenly realizes the idea that eating dessert first is a good idea; it’s always been how she rolls…as in cinnamon or jelly rolls. In Mom’s world, she can enjoy a nice dinner, have a candy apple from Halloween for dessert and still have room for a big handful of M&M’s or malted milk balls later in the evening.
A coconut cupcake is like a portal to the past.
Sweets are Mom’s time machine that takes her back to her childhood. A sugar high is a place to relive days gone by when she and her older sister Annette would play outside on Catharine Street in West Philadelphia with cousins like Bobby and Morris and friends like Rita and Adele. They all seemed so overdressed for hopscotch in the beautiful sepia toned photographs my grandfather Poppa George took in the 1930’s and 1940’s.
Even today in her ninth decade, she continues to live in her happy childhood memories where she was always a hop, step and a jump to Reisenbach’s the local candy store. Just ask her about Mr. McCauley the janitor from her grammar school and you’ll learn about soft pretzels loaded onto a ruler for the children. It’s ironic to think that she only lived on Catharine Street in West Philly for less than 15 years since most of her remarkable 83 years she lived with my father in the same home in New Jersey since 1952 until Dad’s passing in 2009. Mom still lives in this home surrounded by decades of memories.
Mom’s childhood world always interested me because these happy memories of her youth are still at the core of her personality. I witness it often when I visit her in suburban Springfield. Like Johnny Appleseed, she is always trying to spread joy and happiness because she is so aware of the abundance of love that surrounded her growing up.
Mom or Bea Bea, as she is known by everyone, goes out of her way to talk with and engage the hidden people. These people are the folks that most of us don’t see who are in the corners and intersections of our lives.
Whether it’s someone who is cleaning the floor or washing the dishes, there is something in my mother’s personality that makes her want to make sure that no one is left out. She wants to know everyone’s story- not in a gossipy kind of way but to be present with them and to listen to them tell their tale. From Tommy her hairdresser of many years to Tomy the car repairman, my mother always knows what is going on in the lives of those around her. Did you know Tomy collects wine?
From Maureen who had a knitting store to Celia who has come to help keep her house clean for so many years, my mother is always listening and learning about the latest piece of their family news. It is as if these friends- and they are true friends- feed her hunger to share. This extended family of people is not inconsequential to her. And she always finds a way to make them feel that someone cares, someone is listening and someone truly sees them.
Oddly, one of my most striking memories of this from my childhood is of an exterminator.
Of all people, the person who came to 20 Warwick every three months to spray the surroundings with pesticide and eliminate the bugs seems an odd person to befriend. But trapped in my own childhood memories, I remember my mother talking to this shy middle-aged man when he would come to make sure the house was pest free. I can see her speaking quietly to him in the cold little hallway between the garage and the doorway to the living room.
“Mom, why do you always talk so much with this man” I’d ask.
“Well”, she would tell me, “he had a son named Jeffrey. Just like you. And unfortunately, his son died at a young age. So, when he comes to the house I like to talk to him and ask him how he is doing and how he is feeling. I guess I know I am so lucky that my Jeffrey is alive that I feel an obligation to talk to him because it might bring him comfort to talk”.
This strange memory has stuck with me for so long that I often feel odd when my own Terminex man comes to my house and I just don’t know what to say.
But my mother always finds something to talk about with people whose lives have intersected hers. And when she learns about some important emotional nugget of information, she never forgets it as if she was empowered to be part of their support system.
Recently I went to a conference with about 20 people in a very fancy hotel in Cary, North Carolina. It was mostly business men and woman who were mingling about before the conference started. I noticed a somewhat awkward photographer standing in a corner and I walked over to him to talk. I shook his hand and introduced myself and we talked about digital single lens reflex cameras and the latest photo lenses.
He wasn’t the important businessperson I was there to network with but I felt as if he was somewhat invisible to the others. I felt uncomfortable that no one was talking to him. I guess I this habit has become part of my being too.
In this photo, Mom is dressed for my sister Diane’s sixtieth birthday party that took place near Halloween several years ago.
It’s funny how this bee costume connected me to these dual sweet feelings of how much she loves to live in the memories of her childhood yet at the same time can be so compassionate and attentive to people that others take for granted each and every day. Mom lives each of her moments through the eyes of a happy child and the heart of a wise older woman. These are precious moments to me that will live with me forever.
I am so lucky to have a ringside seat watching Bea being Bea.
Click here to watch a video of my Mom’s first 90 years.
Would you send a short Happy Birthday wish to my mom? You can email her at Bea.Slater@gmail.com – She loves to get mail.
Did you know that when I first joined my last employer in 2005, I sat through meeting after meeting jotting down notes under the heading; I didn’t know that.
The list kept growing and growing over a few months, and I was surprised to learn that we weren’t sharing some of these key messages to customers or even to colleagues.
Did You Know?
The GM of the European division, Richard Teply, shared with me a video called Did You Know from another firm and planted a seed. I said to Richard, maybe we need a version to better tell our story.
I told my marketing team, “why not create a DID YOU KNOW video that told our story in a fast-paced and amusing way?”
We were able to create and pack important nuggets of information into a five-minute video. A great script was created with a storyboard of ideas to consider to illustrate the points.
When it was completed, I would frequently show this video to customers and most of them told us that they didn’t know the majority of the facts we were sharing.
For example, a Nomacorc is 60% air – and very little plastic. The cork is recyclable. These highly engineered technical corks prevented TCA or cork taint. More than 2 billion wines used this style of closure. Nomacorc created a science called Oxygen Management that allowed a winery to manage the flow of oxygen into the wine, just like a sophisticated air filter.
The Did You Know format allowed us to tell an engaging story that never felt like a set of bullet points in a PowerPoint deck. Driving music helped to build excitement and enthusiasm too.
Here is that video ripe with rich information.
How could you use this idea in your business? Could you get key facts in front of prospect in an amusing way that gives them a passive way to learn more about what you do?
The Three E’s
The key is to create content that is entertaining, educational and easy to share. Collect your facts and work with an agency or individual who can help you tell your story to your prospects, current customers, and employees who work in the business. You can show a DID YOU KNOW video at conferences, tradeshows, on your website, in social media, vendor meetings, investor meetings and onboarding sessions for new employees.
Over five years, the video in this post was translated into six languages and seen by more than 100,000 people. (most of the views were on the websites we managed, not YouTube).
Did You Know is a powerful marketing tool for any company to use.
I bet you didn’t know that.
A great team of former Nomacorc colleagues put this together working with The Richards Group in Dallas. Today, this type of video can be produced for half the cost that it took just five years ago. Interested in your own Did You Know video, call me at 919 720 0995 or firstname.lastname@example.org I can help create a video like this for you.
CC0 Public Domain photo by Olichel
Nomacorc Did You Know Video – A rights reserved. Thanks for allowing me to share this video.
I feel like a broken record. I’m always advising start-ups not to worry about scale.
I remind new entrepreneurs that scale isn’t a BIG issue in the beginning of a new venture.
The secret is to find just ten people who will love your product and want to buy it and want to tell their friends. Scale isn’t the issue.
By the way, those ten people can’t be people related to you. Then get to 100 and then a thousand. But start slowly and don’t let concerns about how to scale interfere with getting the first wave of passionate customers. Once ten people love your product, strive for one hundred.
But start slowly and don’t let concerns about how to scale interfere with getting the first wave of passionate customers.
A Snapshot from AirBnB
When Joe Gebbia and his friend Brian started AirBnB, things weren’t working out at all. No one seemed interested in renting a room in a stranger’s house even though it was less expensive than hotels. Joe realized that the photography people used were terrible and unprofessional. A person with a spare room to rent would take bad pictures, and the photos did nothing to help entice consumers to rent the space. He needed to fix the problem at hand – and not worry about how it would scale later.
So Joe said, what if hired a photographer to take the pictures? His colleagues working with him thought it was a dumb idea because they couldn’t scale this approach. But Joe knew better.
He understood that if good photography were the big impediment to success, he would tackle that problem later. For now, he needed to test his hypothesis, so a professional photographer was engaged.
Billions of Dollars Later
Joe’s hunch was right. It is a great example of why scalability isn’t an immediate challenge for most start-ups. Finding ten people to buy from you is the right initial challenge to address and to see if they would share their experience with their friends.
Scale comes second. A handful of dedicated customers is primary. Don’t make the mistake of worrying how some action will scale.
Be like Joe, and find those first ten customers to delight.
Did you know I helped and encouraged Joe Gebbia to start AirBnB? You can read about it here. Need help with your start-up? Learn from an INC 500 company owner who never worried about scale. Call me at 919 720 0995 or connect via email at email@example.com
Photo courtesy of Unsplash and a wonderful photographer named Maria-Molinero.
How can you get more customers who want to buy from you?
It starts with having a deep and thoughtful look at your current base of customers by an outsider.
What behavior, actions and attitudes can you understand about them? Do you know the motive behind what they do? Are they framing your business in a way that could help you improve your messaging? Can you see what drives current customers to act – not on a practical and logical basis but at a more deep-seated understanding?
If you understand why current customers buy, you can market yourself to new prospects with insights that tap the emotional triggers.
Thoughtful and Probing Questions
When you work within a business, you are often too close to the business to be objective. You have a preconceived set of notions about why your customers bought from you and how you are perceived. And customers don’t want to offend you so they may hold back from being truthful. People within a business often have a difficult time hearing objectively about their customer’s motivation.
- Our customer’s buy because they recognize the special features built into our product.
- Our customer’s buy because they get our value proposition.
- Our customer’s buy because they see our offering as their best option.
An outsider can interview your current clients and give you new insights to help you understand what problem they think you are solving for them and what emotional need you are filling. The critical step is finding the emotional triggers for action and that requires critical listening skills.
Thoughtful questions are childlike. They keep asking why. They probe deeper and deeper until conjuring up an image that might serve as a useful metaphor.
Why do you buy from Acme Widgets?
They have the best prices.
Why do you think they have the best prices?
Because they buy in large quantities and stock everything I need.
Why do you think they do that?
I guess because they want to be like a convenience store for their customers. I’m busy. I don’t want to run around looking for things. Convenience matters.
Boom: Maybe you should position your business like a convenience store for widgets that offers a deep and wide set of choices and, is easy to access quickly. For busy widget buyers, Acme Widget is like a convenience store with everything you need and extra quick checkout.
The Facts Aren’t Enough
If you read detective stories or watch movies or TV shows about the law, you’ll find attorneys asking probing questions that unravel the truth. Like peeling an onion, you need to get beyond each layer of the transaction, to understand the real motivation.
Over my career, I have had the opportunity to do these types of interviews for clients. And, if I stick with the questioning, insights emerge and often in very poetic yet meaningful descriptions. After five or six questions, you start to get closer to customer’s motives.
I did some work for a market research firm a few years ago, and a theme emerged after ten customer interviews:
I buy from USA Research (not their real name) because they are like an insurance policy for me – I know I’ll be safe in my job if I use them as my justification for my decision. They have such a good reputation that I feel secure making decisions with them on my team. #jobsecurity
When I kept hearing that existing customers were buying because they felt safer, it was an insight that we leveraged into new messaging in our outbound marketing efforts. Although the company thought they were selling market research, they were really in the insurance and safety business. We changed their message to reflect this keen observation.
Maybe it is time to hire someone to peel an onion for you so you can get to the core of your customer’s motivation to buy.
Need help unpeeling an onion? I’m not only an expert marketing professional but I’m a pretty good cook too. Let’s talk. 919 720 0995 or firstname.lastname@example.org Learn more about me and my background here.
Photo credit: Unsplash – Thank you, Tobias Macha. Beautiful image.
I love video.
They are so powerful at communicating a simple message that it is surprising to me that more businesses don’t invest more in using them to tell their story. When done well, they can consistently communicate a brand message or to explain what a company does to solve customer’s problems.
Videos can explain to a highly-targeted market how your solution can solve their pain. And, videos can highlight an emotional connection through music, photography, and language.
The cost of video challenges small businesses. Hiring a video production team to develop a script, storyboard the message and schedule the shoot takes a small investment. I have worked with video professionals who have done remarkable work that has production values that feel like Hollywood. And, with the use of stock video, you can add some amazing elements to the story.
An excellent option for small to mid-sized business is a service called Animoto. It is a subscription service that is modest in cost but powerful in potential to use for marketing. With Animoto, you can take simple iPhone video, photographs and text and turn it into an amazing marketing message.
For my mom (Bea Slater’s) 90th birthday celebration, my wife and I worked together on the following video. I had old 16mm movies of mom from her sweet 16 in 1941, her wedding in 1948 and walking along Asbury Park boardwalk in 1949.
My grandfather George was a professional photographer. Our family has so many photos and clips that we access. I even have a black and white movie of my mom and her sister from 1932.
And, we got several shout-outs and best wishes from some celebrities like Larry King (my brother worked with Larry), Stevie Van Zandt and Rachael Ray because of my daughter Fanny’s work with her.
If you are looking for a simple way to get your marketing message out on Instagram, Facebook or other social media platforms, check out Animoto. You get access to music, templates and a very simple to use software. Although this is a personal video, you’ll get an idea of what’s possible.
So, on this Mother’s Day weekend, here is a video, made with Animoto and love. It is a long video, about 20 minutes or 2 minutes for each decade.
It is a long video, about 20 minutes or 2 minutes for each decade. Notice how the words in the music fit the images, like the section on her wedding with a song called “I Do”. We spent a lot of time on writing intro texts for each section too. My wife is so talented and her special touch really helped make this an amazing video that we showed at my mom’s party.
Happy Mother’s Day. And remember to Bea Happy.
Need help using video in your marketing? Let’s talk. 919 720 0995 and email@example.com
I am not paid or sponsored by Animoto. I am a big fan of their software.
Most people haven’t a clue what the marketing department does.
• Run ads
• Make brochures
• Make websites
• Spend money
• Eat at fancy restaurants
It has been my experience that most businesses understand most job functions and departments better than they understand what my marketing colleagues do. Finance counts the beans. Operations make the beans. Human Resources finds people to make and count the beans. But it is our fault for not doing a better job marketing ourselves within the company. Think of it like bringing in extra fruit and vegetables from your garden and sharing the goodness with your colleagues.
But what does the marketing team do? But it is our fault for not doing a better job marketing ourselves within the company.
I always think of marketing like gardening where you help to plant, seed and fertilize the fruit and vegetables you get to enjoy later. But we need to share the fruit of our work within the company.
Marketing Department Mysteries
During my career, I always recognized that I had several jobs when I worked in marketing. First and foremost was to help sell more products or services. Second, and just as important, was to communicate internally what the marketing team was doing and how it connected with our overall goals.
The following five tips may help you and your marketing team start to think about other ways to share your work within the organization. When you market your marketing, you build trust, confidence and a sense that marketing is like fuel in the engine of your company.
5 Tips to Marketing the Marketing
1. Share the news. Find a way to share with a broad audience a summary of positive press coverage received each month. Don’t assume that because your company was written up in a trade journal, that your colleagues will have seen it.
2. Cover the walls. Reuse content as posters and artwork. So when you are creating a fun new brochure or infographic for your website, enlarge and print it for your lunchroom or conference room walls.
3. Summarize the results of a successful email campaign. Don’t hesitate to let your organization know about the recent email activity that the marketing team created to raise awareness among new potential clients. Share a summary that you sent out 2,000 emails to the CFO at 400 companies and 653 of them opened them and 128 clicks through to watch a new video about a new product.
4. Create an email address for marketing ideas. I love to encourage employees to share their thoughts on how to build awareness or grow the brand. Set up a marketingideas@mycompany, com email address so that colleagues can quickly share an idea they observe from another industry that could lead to something helpful for the marketing team. I used a variation of this concept and got an excellent idea from a European colleague who suggested we make our own DID YOU KNOW video. Here is that video sparked from a colleague’s idea. We ended up creating this same video concept in 6 languages and had more than 20,000 views.
5. Red Carpet Lunch Premier: Has the marketing team created a terrific new video for a new product launch? Why not have a preview at lunchtime for employees in a conference room. Bring in a popcorn cart and refreshments, dress up the team in fancy clothes and have fun showing off your work. The brief explanation can tell the audience about the purpose of the video, where it will be posted and what your expectations are over the coming months. Don’t let great assets only sit online. Show them off.
When was the last time you shared what your marketing team does for your organization?
Need a marketing sounding board to help you manage a marketing team? Looking for new ideas to generate leads for your new product launch. Call me to discuss your needs. I may be able to help you solve your problem and grow your business. 919 720 0995 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo from Unsplash, a hip new free photo site. HT to Mark Schaefer for the link.
I read a Bernadette Jiwa’s blog post about how to put together an ‘about me’ section of a website. It reminded me of a recent pattern that I have observed in conversations with small businesses. Everyone wants to know, where do I start in building my site? What is a ‘must have’ part of that site? My advice is clear. The first thing everyone wants to do is to understand, what do you do and who are you. But the reason they want this information is to understand what is in it for me? Or said another way, they want to know what problem you will help me solve, can I trust you and do you have the right background to help me.
My own discovery/web surfing experiences always start with visiting an ‘about me’ page on any website. When on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, I seek out the profile of the individual or brand. I want to know, who is behind this brand, product or service. What do they say about themselves? Do I feel that I should let them sneak into my life and busy world?
Talking to web development experts at a recent conference, I kept hearing the same information. Most people start with ‘about me’ before they dive into a site, if unfamiliar with the brand. That means, if your strategy is to grow your business with new visitors and customers, the about me section need to grab the reader quickly.
Here are seven tips to make a terrific ‘about me’ page:
Keep it real. If you are immediately selling, I’m leaving. Don’t start off trying to gain revenue. Earn trust. Build a relationship. Gain a foot into the lives of people. But don’t try and close the deal in the first paragraph. It rarely works.
Keep it human. I want to do business with people I like. I like to do business with human beings not robots. So make sure your language is conversational and sounds like a real person wrote it. Lose the corporate speak. Eliminate words that are pretentious. Talk as if you were sitting at a café drinking coffee and started up a conversation. Let your personality come through so it feels special, just like you.
Keep it funny or lighthearted. In most situations, entertainment is the pathway to education. Think of the great success of John Stewart. We learned from him because he entertained us. The about me section doesn’t need to tell jokes but make it fun to read and lighthearted.
Keep it relevant. People who read my about me page on my website, are there because they are wondering if I might be helpful advising them on marketing issues for their small to mid-sized company. I need to tell stories that illustrate what I can do for them – not just what I have accomplished and how it made me feel. Write for the audience and answer the questions that are probably on their minds.
Keep it short. I’m not reading about me sections instead of War and Peace. Don’t go on and on and on. Find a way to be concise and still achieve your goals. Sometimes 20 words will do and sometimes 2,000. There isn’t a rule of thumb. You want the section to be read by those who might seek out your product or service. So make the section like an appetizer, not an entire meal.
Keep it chunky. Long paragraphs that go on and on will lose me as a reader, so stick to the point. Just like this section with a bold heading and a few sentences, find a way to visually organize so it can be easily digested. Chunk out the copy – make it in sections.
Keep the most relevant information on top. Don’t bury the lead. Don’t have your most important point last. Most people will read or skim through the top few sections. Make sure your most critical point and call to action appear near the beginning as well as at the end. Nothing wrong with repeating it, in a few ways throughout the sections.
Here are a few about me pages I really like and my own about page. They are different but should give you some fresh ideas on how to structure one that works for you.
Need a marketing coach to help you unravel the mysteries of marketing? Call to set up a time to chat. 919 720 0995 or email@example.com – Want to know more about me? Check out my about me page here.
This post first appeared on The Marketing Sage blog. I’m reposting it because it is one of my top posts out of almost 800 posts.