I always end up having pretty interesting conversations with people whenever I tell them I’m in the web design and web marketing field. Like all my conversations with friends and people I meet at networking events, I find that conversations allow me to find fodder for this blog.
I can’t be sitting here and thinking up topics all the time. (Well, sometimes I do but most times, it is the interaction with others that give me lots of ideas for our business blog.)
So a few days ago I was seated at a table with eight other people. Next to me was my friend’s husband whom I had just met for the very first time despite knowing her for a few years now.
If you know me, I don’t open my mouth and sell at every opportunity. I just think that’s ridiculous given that I don’t know anything about the person or his needs or his ideas.
If you meet me, I’d let you talk. I’d ask you questions about yourself and what you want. Through the conversation, I can gauge if you’re a prospect or if you’re not, how else we can connect (or rather who in my network can benefit from knowing this person I’m talking to). And never write someone off just because he or she is not your prospect just about then. Who knows? Things change and one day he’s not interested or keen in your offering but tomorrow may bring a different set of circumstances.
I knew Matt had a question that he wanted to ask. “How do I market myself?” he asked.
“Or rather, if I had a website, how do I get people to come visit my website?”
The idea of getting people to notice you or your website is that number one million dollar question we get asked ALL the time.
Right off, I told him – there are no secrets to having a successful business website. It takes hard work but it also takes a great product.
Because Matt is in sales, he nodded. He understood the great product factor. He told me he had an interest in writing and selling songs of his own.
How Unique Are You?
“How unique are you?” I asked, once I’d finished munching my samosa.
“Well, to be honest, not very. From a scale of 1 to 10, maybe 2.” At least he was honest. I found out that he had a great day job – the kind that typifies the regular nine-to-five with a good salary – BUT here he was, asking about what he could do with his hobby and if he could make some form of living from his music and songs.
I dug deeper. It seemed that he had a friend who wrote and recorded songs and uses Facebook to promote his music. I could see that Matt wanted to know how it was possible for his friend to use Facebook to market himself. Matt admitted that he wasn’t very Facebook or website-savvy.
You see how talking brings up interesting insights? When most people ask us questions, we have to work the conversation like a psychologist figuring out what exactly people want to ask. Usually the first question isn’t indicative at all of the underlying concern or issue. Until you listen and understand more, asking the right questions, you’ll discover that the first question isn’t usually the question at all.
In Matt’s case, it’s this: he has a desire to write and sell his music online but his worry is that he is not able to market himself properly, unlike his Facebook-savvy friend. He is trying to understand how his friend is doing it and if it can be done for his music too.
Marketing Is Science & Art Combined
Marketing is a combination of a lot of skills – you need to understand who you’re selling to and what motivates them to buy what you sell. It is also about the ability to draw up a plan for long-term and sustainable marketing. That is why marketing is a consistent series of activities – it is not something you do for 1 month and give up when nothing happens.
And if what you’re doing isn’t bringing you results you want, you need to review your marketing.
We review our marketing all the time. We change course too when something doesn’t work. Consider marketing a series of experiments – it’s rooted in hard and soft science.
Well, back to Matt’s question. How do I begin to tell him that marketing begins with a mindset? If you’ve always hated Marketing and think marketers are sleazy and out to get your money, you must get these preconceptions out in the open and understand why you have these ideas. Some people are uncomfortable about selling to the point they break out in cold sweat at the mere mention of sales and marketing.
You cannot market until you understand that your product is going to bring value, happiness and convenience to your customers. You must also understand that you’re not selling once to your customers – once you sell, you begin a relationship with her. That cycle lasts as long as you’re in business and she’s willing to buy from you.
Next, marketing is about trying and failing…a lot. Some things work, some don’t. But try them out for a while before you give up. And the golden rule applies – do not do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you. So forcing, coercing and harassing people to buy your products is out of the question -that’s why we all despise multi-level marketers right? They keep on calling you and harassing you until you blow your top.
Marketing To People Means Understanding Them Inside & Out
At its core, marketing is about understanding human motivation. That is why it is exciting. Humans are the most confusing creatures, each with their own needs and wants and sometimes, you never really know why they act the way they do.
That is why in the following few months, we’re creating an affordable marketing course to equip you with marketing how-tos.
Most people never learnt Marketing and why should they? They’ve been schooled to be engineers, lawyers and teachers. Most people never read books on marketing either. They learn through trial and error. If it works, they stick with it. If it doesn’t, they chuck it.
We’re thinking of marketing workshops too so you can attend and get answers to your biggest marketing frustration. These marketing courses and workshops are here to help you with marketing even if marketing scares the daylight out of you right now.
We want you to do it for yourself, on your own because it’s satisfying and when you do that, you are creating ownership and taking responsibility for your own business unless of course you have a team and cannot be bothered to do any marketing. Even then, even if you own a team, there’s always something to be learnt that you can pass to your team so they can perform even better.
When the lunch ended, I told Matt that we would need another discussion session so that I could explain online marketing to him otherwise we’d be there the whole day.
The Secret of All Secrets For Successful Marketing
P/S: Here’s a hint on how to get people to be interested in your website or product or whatever you’re selling is to be interested in them first. Ask how you can be of help to them without any ulterior motives. The big idea in marketing is this: build trust first. Don’t attempt to sell anything until you know you have their trust. How do you build trust? Well, that’s another blog post for another day. Bookmark our blog and come back again and I’ll tell you how you build trust before you create a sale.