In May I took one-month vacation from writing More Clients. It was a useful break and helped me get clearer about what I want to write about in the following months (Years? Decades?)
My insight was this: I’m kind of tired of how-to tips articles. I’ve written hundreds of them. Instead, I’m going to try to write more about marketing thinking. After all, action always starts with thinking.
And how we think about marketing is key to the results we get from our marketing.
So I’ll first share my thinking process and you can decide what actions to take based on your own thinking. Hopefully, this will make you a smarter marketer who doesn’t just follow someone else’s step-by-step formula.
This article outlines “Marketing Ten Thinking Tips” centered around the heart of marketing: Communication. I believe these tips can make your marketing better. Decide for yourself!
Marketing Thinking Tip #1 – Understand
Try to understand exactly what you are trying to accomplish with each marketing communication. An email will not get you a sale. But it can get your foot in the door, can start a conversation, begin a relationship.
If you expect that people will jump up and down with excitement when you send an email, (or an article or anything else) you are deluded. But you are just as deluded if you say nothing will work. Search for successes and emulate them. I prefer to try to make a persuasive case with simple, conversational language, minus the hype.
Marketing Thinking Tip #2 – Relate
Do your best to get inside the heads of your prospective clients. Who are they? What is their business? What concerns and worries them? What have they done that hasn’t worked? What solutions are they looking for? What keeps them up at night? If you fail to address these issues in your marketing communication, it won’t connect.
But if you talk about these issues in the same way your prospects would talk about them, you will connect. Your marketing communication will make sense and they’ll resonate with what you said.
Marketing Thinking Tip #3 – Be Unique
What do you have that is unique, special and noteworthy? It’s much harder to get attention with mundane ideas. That just bores people and you can’t bore people into doing business with you! (David Ogilvy).
What results have you produced that are stellar? What have people said about your work (collect testimonials)? What gets people excited when you talk about it? Keep digging and testing messages until they start to click with your prospective clients.
Marketing Thinking Tip #4 – Testing
Keep making attempts to get something to work. Some aspects of marketing can be very complex, technical and time-consuming. But things such as creating messages, articles, and email are relatively simple. So you want to work on these things before you try more complex marketing communications.
Take time to learn how to do these things and test them until they work for you, that is, until people respond positively (in some way or the other) to your marketing communication. That kind of testing can lead to powerful insights and changes in how you communicate.
Marketing Thinking Tip #5 – Follow instructions
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked with clients where I gave very specific, exact instructions for doing something. And then the client went and did the absolute opposite and complained about the results!
If you learn what you think might be a good solution, be sure to follow the instructions or guidelines. Think of it as a recipe. If it says to add a cup of flour, don’t add a cup of sugar! Later on you can tweak the recipe.
Marketing Thinking Tip #6 – Research
Spend the time required to do research. To understand the simple basics of almost anything, we need to do some research. We do not have to become experts, but we do need to become competent. So you may have to read not one or two articles about how to write the perfect email that will get response, but 25 or 50.
In my research about how to use emails to cold prospects, I happened to find this article below by Jeff Molander, which is brilliant and better than anything I could write about the topic.
Make Google your best friend. You may not believe it, but there’s a wealth of information out there like this that is practical, that comes from experience and that you can use. And most of it’s free. Hone your research skills and find it!
Marketing Thinking Tip #7 – Innovate
Every situation and communication is distinctly different. An email to the owner of a small company is different than an email to the CEO of a corporation. This is why templates are problematic, unless they are for identical situations.
Look at every aspect of your communication and ask what you can do to get attention and interest. Perhaps the situation calls for some humor, a challenging assertion or an unusual story.
Marketing Thinking Tip #8 – Get feedback
Once you’ve done your research, developed a plan and put together a script, email etc., run it past someone who knows what they’re doing and ask for their reactions and feedback. Often we have great ideas but we’re not sure and are hesitant to take action.
Once I helped a woman who wouldn’t network and refused to make direct calls, get all the business she could handle by doing mailings with pictures of her Siberian Husky, Mutombo. She came up with the idea; I helped her implement it successfully.
Marketing Thinking Tip #9 – Show empathy
Market unto others as you would have them market unto you. When you’re putting together a script, a promotion or an email, ask yourself: If I received this promotion, how would I likely respond? Would it interest and intrigue me or would it offend and annoy me?
I’ve seen some of the dumbest, most poorly conceived ideas, with poor writing and atrocious design that flopped spectacularly. It’s not a mystery why! Develop marketing communications that you’d like to receive yourself. Take note of marketing communications that work and emulate them.
Marketing Thinking Tip #10 – Trust your intuition
You get a flash of an idea for connecting with someone. You get excited about trying it out. And then you talk yourself out of it. This is what I did when I was trying to produce my second book. And it took five long years to get around to finally writing it.
Are your intuition and hunches right? Not necessarily, but they might be pointing you in the right direction. You don’t need to act impulsively; harness those ideas with the other ideas in this article and move into action.
How to apply these Marketing Thinking Tips to your marketing
Now that you’ve read the article once, go back over the article and read it again, except more slowly. Really take these ideas in and ask yourself how many you are following. The Answer may be very few. But these are things you must do if you are ever to be effective and confident with your marketing communications.
Next, create a project for some kind of marketing communication. It might be a message or a script. It might be an article or a message to connect via email. Work on the communication itself and then go back and answer these ten questions:
1. Are you absolutely clear about what you are trying to accomplish with this communication? What result do you want?
2. Have you gotten inside your prospect’s heads in this communication and does it speak to their issues and concerns?
3. Are you saying something unique, interesting and attention-getting, something that hits a nerve? Or is it boring?
4. Have you really fine-tuned your communication, and is it saying exactly what you want it to say?
5. Are you following the basic instructions for creating this marketing communication, and following the guidelines you’ve learned?
6. Have you spent enough time researching about this marketing communication and learning the latest techniques?
7. Are you taking into account that this communication is unique and targeted to a specific person or group of people?
8. Have you received feedback about your marketing communication from someone who is knowledgeable?
9. Is your marketing communication something that you’d welcome receiving? Is it relevant and interesting?
10. Have you trusted your intuition in developing this marketing communication and are you ready to put it out there?
If you follow these tips you will develop much more effective marketing communications that will cut through the clutter and get the attention of your intended audience.
Take this seriously. Really study and apply this to any marketing communication you develop. There are no “Silver Bullets” in marketing, but there are skills, such as these Thinking Tips. Commit to mastering them if you are going to take your business to a whole new level.
Cheers, Robert Middleton
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