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Tell a (True) Story

By | boost sales, communication, content marketing, inbound marketing, leads online, Marketing, Story | No Comments

Marketing gets a bad rap for a number of reasons. First, there’s the consumer side. How many of us have bought into great marketing only to be disappointed by a lousy product? Then there’s the business side. Many business owners have horror stories about how they spent thousands on a marketing firm that didn’t deliver.

There are reasons enough to be suspicious of anybody marketing a product.

The root cause of bad marketing is the failure to deliver on a promise. In the first instance discussed above, the consumer was promised a great product. In the second, a business owner was promised growth. Bad marketing promises things its product can’t actually deliver. Now you could argue good marketing is anything that convinces people to buy, but the purchase is only one tiny piece of a much larger picture. Truly good marketing not only attracts the right audience, it converts them into delighted, repeat customers. Neither our consumer nor our business owner are delighted and neither will be buying again from the same companies, no matter the marketing message.

Good marketing tells the truth. This is both freeing and terrifying. If your products aren’t that good, you can’t tell the truth and gain customers. You either have to convince people your business can offer something it can’t or you have to use incentives that will convince people to put up with a subpar product. There is a place for the latter—a huge market of people who will put up with bad quality, bad service, lots of bad things, if they get something on the cheap. But if you want to sell quality, you have to be quality.

Let’s say you know you’re quality. In fact, you’re better than your competitors by a long shot and you can prove it. How do you tell the truth in a compelling way? Call it cliché, but the answer is to tell a story.

What Storytelling Is and Isn’t

Think about the pitches you’ve heard over the years. Which ones do you remember? Why? There are lots of well-meaning people armed with PowerPoints, charts, graphs and other compelling evidence. There’s a place for these things (after all, what is marketing without metrics?), but when it comes to clearly telling your target market what you do in attractive and compelling terms, go beyond the charts and graphs and tell the story.

We’re moved when people tell us their story. When you consider how the masses spend money, there’s usually a story behind it. Films, plays and music pull in billions every year worldwide. Each piece tells a story and people will pay to watch or hear it unfold. These stories intertwine with personal stories all over the globe—just look at the role music played in Cuba or behind the iron curtain. People act in response to a story.

Consider sports. Last week an estimated 40 million people tuned in to see Game Seven of the World Series between the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs, teams from cities with a combined population of less than 3 million. Why? Because even people with only a casual interest in baseball know the saga of the Cubs and their 108-year losing streak. Every rivalry is a story. Every sport has a story. Every season tells a story. And people will pay top dollar to watch.

Now imagine you see a film trailer and the story grabs you. You buy a ticket, the lights go down and a movie bearing no resemblance to the previews plays. Are you disappointed? Of course! This isn’t what you signed up for. The same is true for your marketing. Tell the truth. Sure, you can attract more people from more demographics if you don’t tell the truth, but how many of them are going to be interested in your product? None, if you had to make things up to reach them. People outside of your target market are not going to buy from you, so there’s no point in trying to pull them in.

Your business has a story. Your products have a story. Tell the story.

4 Ways Your Content Can Support Your Business Goals

By | blogging, church, communication, content, content marketing, Marketing, message, writing | No Comments
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Your content is not your business.

Some people, groups, and organizations can generate substantial revenue by selling ads on their blog, podcast, or YouTube channel because of the size of their audience. But this is not the case for the vast majority of content creators. And I would add that I don’t think it should be the goal for most people and organizations, too. Read More

Announcing Our New Webinar Series: Double Your Revenue

By | communication, content marketing, Famously Helpful, free webinar, Helpeting, inbound marketing, lead generation, Marketing, marketing 101, marketing optimization | No Comments

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Join us for a free* series of online workshops and learn to generate more sales-ready leads

We’re excited to share with you our new workshop series, Double Your Revenue, starting May 26 with Doug Hall. Doug and our host Justin Blaney will also be answering your questions live so sign up now to get your questions added to our list.

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Hear my Verizon Small Business Webinar and get my newest book free!

By | communication, content marketing, Famously Helpful, free webinar, Helpeting, inbound marketing, lead generation, Marketing, marketing 101, marketing optimization, verizon | No Comments

 

Have I told you about my latest book?

In a world where we’re bombarded by marketing and people trying to get ahead,  I’ve found a way to cut through the enormous clutter of this busy world. This may sound surprising, but the best method I’ve found is pretty simple. It’s being helpful. That’s the inspiration for my new book, Famously Helpful.

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5 Tips to Help You Craft Clear & Compelling Messages

By | blogging, church, communication, content marketing, Marketing, message, writing | No Comments

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There was a moment of silence. 

Not the type of silence that deafens a room during a memorial service. Nor the type of silence preceding a lame scare tactic in a movie. 

But the type of deafening silence that fills the room when you’re waiting for feedback from your manager.

“He hates it. He’s going to hate me. I’ll need to look for another job”

These exaggerated thoughts didn’t necessarily run through my head. But they do capture an element of what I was thinking. 

Honestly, I don’t recall the specific task I was working on. But the feedback I received stuck to me like a Velcro ball to a Velcro mitt. And it went something like this: “Tell people exactly what you’re talking about.” 

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