In marketing it is assumed that the goal, the daily effort, is to get more views, more followers, more sales.... always wanting other people to do more of what we want them to do.
In other words, conventional marketing is deeply self-centered, which stems from either insecurity, or ego.
“If I don’t strive to get my share of attention, I won’t be able to survive or shine!”
The result is the proliferation of questionable marketing strategies and pushy sales tactics, that aim to “grab” more audience attention and action.
The real problem is that it seems to work in the short term. The squeaky wheel at first gets the grease... but all that squeaking eventually gets it eliminated and replaced!
Eventually, short-term strategies always comes back to haunt the marketers.
It’s this selfish core of “I want you to do this for me" from marketers that makes consumers distrust and dislike so much of marketing. Whether it’s the emails that clutter our inbox, or the pushy calls to action, we feel we “have” to consume marketing, in order to get to the good stuff — the content we actually signed up for.
Additionally, so many ads and commercials are annoying because they don't really speak to our true wants or needs.
The bottom line: Most marketers don’t care enough — they’re just blasting their promotions to everyone, hoping to catch a few. They aren't caring enough to slow down and really understand and target their communications thoughtfully. It feels interruptive, a necessary evil — which is why Adblockers are so popular.
Instead of “how can we get more attention”, what if we think in terms of “how can we care more?”
I believe there is a deep calling in us authentic business owners to bring more love and wisdom into business. That is truly the core focus.
By bringing more (and wiser) caring to our audience, the result tends to be more loyal attention, deeply happy customers, and greater word of mouth.
Caring more for our current readers, existing subscribers, the clients we already have, means that we will want to grow a deeper understanding of who they are and what they're going through right now. We can then create content and offerings that are more relevant to them.
Care Enough to Seek Conversation.
What are they thinking about now? How do they feel about our industry and the offerings that are available in the market? What can we do to meet them where they are, to serve them better?
Willingness to care means willingness to talk to them. To converse 1–1 with as many of our audience as possible.
Reach out privately to those who engage with our content on social media. Individually contact some of our email subscribers to get to know them better. Not just sending out surveys, but caring enough to be in 1–1 conversation with them.
In our conversations, try to uncover what it is they are struggling with at this time: what can we create that will help them, especially through our content? Find out what related products/services they’ve bought. What did they love, and what weren't they satisfied with? This helps us create (or curate) better offerings for them.
Most of us business owners are so in our own heads (and hearts), absorbed with our own experiences, in love with our own modality, focused on promoting our own ideas, that we can easily lose touch with what the audience actually wants.
We need to care more about our audience than we care about our possible embarrassment by their silence or rejection. Let’s rise up out of our cocoon and get more audience-centered.
It's so important to keep returning to these questions:
This is how real trust and loyal attention are created. Not by trying to grab attention, but by caring, so that others naturally trust and become loyal to you.
How Are You Spending Your Time?
Are you working on perfecting your website? This translates into you caring about preserving a your own high self-image. Instead, it's wiser to spend time doing website user interviews, instead of just being in your own head.
Are you taking a long time to prepare your online course? You’re probably spending too much time in your head. How do you know what your audience actually cares about? I always launch courses first (by creating, as easily as I can, the sales page), announcing it to my audience, and then, if there are enough buyers/students, I then create the course module-by-module while the students are taking it, so that I can get their real-time feedback. This helps me make each module truly relevant for them now. To clarify: I lightly prepare the first module, and then see if there are enough sales. If not, I then cancel the program, which saves me time from having to deeply prepare the first module and other modules. If there are enough sales by a few days before program starts, I will put more effort into finishing the first module. To learn my system in-depth, take my course on creating online courses.
Are you spending years trying to write a book? What I do is simply blog each week, see what the response is, and organize the better blog posts into a book. This way, I am putting together a book based on content that my audience cares about, not just swimming in my own thoughts. I also teach an online course for simple book creation.
Are you posting regularly and wondering why no one cares about your content? Are you caring enough about your existing audience, even if it’s 10 email subscribers or 25 fans on facebook, to reach out to them privately to have a personal conversation, to learn about their wants and therefore how you can make relevant content for them?
The bottom line is that so many of us are in-our-head with our marketing actions, and not doing enough true productivity in our authentic business -- taking actions that are in-the-market, being in conversation with real human beings.
The Authentic Way to Become an Influencer
Most influencers compete for attention by trying to be more entertaining, more shocking, more clever with their calls-to-action to "like", comment, share, subscribe, or buy.
Instead of trying to be more entertaining and competitive, we can instead aim to be our authentic caring selves — rather than trying to be polished.
We can win by caring more for our audience than other influencers are willing to care.
We do this by deeply understanding our audience, which then allows us to create content and offerings that they will also care about.
I dream of a world where influencers and thought leaders will prioritize their own inner growth over their external metrics.
Don’t try to “get” millions of followers. Focus on caring enough for your true fans, by seeking more conversation with them, and your business will naturally thrive.
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
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