I just read that Apple’s ad budget is more than a billion dollars. That’s more than the economies of some small nations!
Although they spend a lot on advertising, it’s never been a secret that Apple has exceptional and successful marketing.
So what do they do that you could do as well? There are plenty of ways in which your marketing can successfully follow Apple’s principles – without costing you a fortune.
1. Simplify what you’re selling
When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, the first thing he did was simplify the product line. Consumers were confused, so he created a product model with four quadrants:
Quadrant 1 – Consumer Desktop
Quadrant 2 – Consumer Laptop
Quadrant 3 – Business Desktop
Quadrant 4 – Business Laptop
It instantly became easier to pick which Mac was right for you. And with the new innovative designs, sales soared.
Do that in your business as well. Don’t have a lot of random offerings, but services and programs clearly targeted to a certain kind of client. Make it very clear how these services are different through features, benefits, and pricing.
2. Unify your brand
What does your business stand for, that is, what is the key message you want everyone to understand?
What Apple came up with is the “Think Different” slogan on posters, ads and billboards featuring famous people, from John Lennon to Einstein. I still have a Think Different poster of Miles Davis, proudly displayed on my office wall. (Perhaps because I have more Miles Davis recordings on iTunes than any other musician!)
Your marketing message needs to permeate all your marketing communication, from the tagline at the top of your website to what you say to prospects about your business.
A unified brand or message also acts as a “decision filter” to help you offer services and programs that fit your message. For instance, everything I do is oriented around the following message: “Get your marketing unstuck and into action.” The biggest issue facing independent professionals when it comes to marketing is simply implementing, so that’s what I emphasize.
3. Be attractive and compelling
When I look at some of the marketing materials and websites of many independent professionals, “attractive and compelling” are not words I’d use. More like unattractive and boring.
The reason I’ve always loved Apple’s visual marketing is that it’s simple, clean and elegant. Take a look at their website. It’s uncluttered, full of stunning pictures of their products.
Plus, there’s a LOT of text and product videos to explain in greater detail what their products are, what they do and how they can benefit your life. Don’t kid yourself that prospective clients won’t read text on a website; if they’re qualified prospects, they’ll often read a whole lot.
How well does your website compare? These days, with the new WordPress themes and a competent (but not necessarily expensive) designer, you can build a very attractive website that quickly builds credibility and interest with your visitors. And well-written descriptive text will draw prospects in to learn more.
4. Be visible where your prospects are
No, you will never be as visible as Apple with TV commercials, print and web ads, they are impossible to miss.
But you can be visible to your target market by getting out there in a number of ways. Social media is a good support for your marketing efforts, but it doesn’t hold a candle to in-person networking, giving talks to professional groups, and holding teleclasses and webinars.
If you’ve never seen one of Steve Jobs’ Macworld keynotes, they are worth searching for on YouTube. Marketers have been studying his simple but powerful presentation style for a generation. (And Tim Cook, the new Apple CEO, follows exactly the same model today.)
And of course, the ever-persistent email newsletter may be the most important of all. Delivering a useful message to the mailboxes of those who requested to be on your list has been my most powerful marketing vehicle for close to 20 years. Make sure your prospects never forget you.
5. Believe you have value and prove it
In many ways, that’s what marketing is all about. If you don’t have confidence in what you’re offering, do whatever it takes to develop services and programs that deserve to be noticed.
Apple has never had a problem with that! They don’t just believe they have good or even excellent products, they believe they have the best products in the world.
And they want you to believe that too! I’ve seen too many independent professionals who are tepid about their marketing. They come across as hesitant and unconfident that what they’re offering will really interest their prospects.
6. Ultimately, the first sale is to YOU!
What do you need to do to make your services and programs the best they can possibly be, and then communicate that value with real confidence?
Over the years I’ve made over 10 significant purchases of Apple products. I don’t go anywhere else because they’ve always delivered for me beyond the expectations promised in their marketing.
How will you build your business with great marketing so that ultimately your clients can’t think of working with anyone but you?
Start thinking like Apple.
P.S. Much of this may seem very obvious to you. But before Steve Jobs returned to Apple, the current CEO in place, who should have known better, did very little of the above. Their sales were sinking and customers were losing confidence. Look at your marketing seriously and make these principles an ongoing part of your marketing.
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