I have always been, and always will be, a strong advocate for the idea of “putting one’s self first.” It’s hugely important for us to recognize the necessity of self-care (especially as business owners who, let’s face it, often have a tendency to over-do it), and it’s critical to make certain that our own boundaries and values and intentions are being upheld at all times.
But. (There’s always a but, isn’t there? LOL)
There is one place that I feel that we often go a bit too far, perhaps over-think it a little too much, and forget that it isn’t all about us: our marketing.
Yes, our marketing must be in alignment with our core values. Yes, it must reflect who we are so that our clients get a sense of “us” as service providers before they make the decision to work with us. And yes, it behooves us to make certain that our message is in our voice so that trust builds even before that first interaction with a potential customer.
AND we need to also look at what we are putting out there through the eyes of our clients, because while our business is certainly about us, it is also about them…and their needs, wants, opinions, and responses are worthy of consideration in the process of creating our marketing materials.
Take for example a wee piece of marketing that I reviewed last week. This particular business has been created to serve the needs of people with chronic illness. The service provider is a bright, energetic, and creative woman who loves bright, energetic colours. As such, she has chosen bright blues and pinks and black as her colour palette on a pure white background. It is a lovely site – it reflects who she is very well – and yet when I looked at the site from the eyes of her ideal clients, intuitively I could feel their fatigue heighten as soon as they landed on the page. Oh they wanted to feel brightened by the colours, and at first they did. But it was short-lived, and soon they were too tired to read further – they didn’t make it to the call to action at the bottom of the page as they were too drained from the brightness of the colours.
It’s the simplest thing to fix: keep the pinks and the blues but “dust them up” a bit. Just soften them down so that they aren’t quite as hard on the eyes. And do the same with the black – go for deep grey – and voila! She will have a website that still has gorgeous colour which reflects who she is, and is attractive as it represents life and energy to her clients who would like a piece of that (!) but it isn’t SO full of life that it overwhelms them before they can even engage with her.
Another great example of this came up with a marketing piece that I did for a business retreat. The lead image was a fabulous ocean view…serene…spectacular. And certainly that image was a taste of what the attendees would experience on this retreat. The challenge, however, came in when I intuitively connected with the future retreat-goers and determined that one of the key obstacles that they would need to overcome in order to say YES to attending this retreat was that, deep down, they would feel guilty if there wasn’t SOMETHING to do with business happening at this retreat, that somehow they couldn’t justify attending unless it was “good for business.”
It wasn’t that they didn’t WANT to see that image of the ocean – heck, they are inwardly CRAVING that ocean view! – but they first needed to overcome the guilt of doing something just for themselves. So again, this is a quick fix! Change the lead image to be something slightly more work-related. It can still be soft and warm and inviting – women collaborating at wooden kitchen table, perhaps, in more casual attire but with laptops and such so that it is obvious that they are “doing business” and then add the image of the ocean a bit further down the page. All we needed to do here was let them tell themselves just for a moment that this was “work-related” and THEN they could allow themselves to embrace that ocean view and say YES to attending. Just a bit of psychology at work in this marketing and bingo! They will be “all in.”
A final example came from a marketing review I did for a nutritionist who is running a weight loss program. At first glance, the sales page looked just fine…but when I looked at it intuitively from the clients’ eyes, it was a different story altogether.
The image she had chosen was a fairly typical image of a very thin woman holding a tape measure to her waist. This is the sort of image we see all the time on weight loss materials. And her clients, when I connected with them, were so turned off by it that they were almost angry. It offended them to see such a thin woman on this sales page for a weight loss program because, in their words, “What could that woman possibly know about needed to lose weight!” They in no way identified with that picture, AND it seemed so far-fetched to them that it could be a picture of “what they might look like” after the program, that it was actually offensive to them; which meant there was no way that they were signing up for that program.
This is another quick fix. By intuitively connecting with these clients, I could ask them what image WOULD be appealing to them. And it was simple: an image of women who look healthy (not skinny!) enjoying a healthy meal together. They were craving community, support, and joy around food, and an image that conveyed that message was exactly what they needed to see in order to bring them into the weight loss program.
So you see, little things really make a difference: slight colour changes, a shift to the images used, little tweaks that go a long, long way to attracting your ideal clients. And sure, maybe it seems a bit “odd” that I can do this from an intuitive perspective and that you don’t actually need to survey hundreds of people to get their feedback, but it’s just what I do and as a result, my clients’ sales have soared.
If you have a piece of marketing you’d like me to take a look at, you may want to check out the Marketing Just Got Better initiative by clicking here. It’s free and it will give you amazing insight into what your clients are thinking and feeling when they see your marketing materials because, as I mentioned to begin with, the marketing you do is really all for them.
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Rebecca Liston helps her clients predict, pivot, and compete in an increasingly complex global marketplace. Her clients quickly uncover the root of their challenges and know the actions to take to overcome them. A six-time nominee for the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Award, Rebecca combines business strategy with intuition, giving her clients the edge on forward-thinking, elegant answers to their most complicated problems. Her clients are entrepreneurs with CEO-mindsets and executives with entrepreneurial instincts. She is based in London, Ontario. What if you could get the answer to your biggest business challenge, in one sitting? Visit rebeccaliston.com to find out more.