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Weekly Furniture Message From Margo: Online Marketing for a Higher-Thinking Brain

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I saw a TV commercial the other day that was another piece of proof that there are still plenty of marketing decision-makers who just don’t “get” the “new” marketing (not so new anymore). The commercial—which showed one guy taking video of another guy so he could mischievously place it on YouTube—was another pathetic company attempt to prove to a new media audience that the company was “up on”, or savvy to, a new media world. In reality though, it showed that the company didn’t understand what’s really going on with marketing.
 
Just taking the same old “speak” about YOUR business and throwing in the fact that you have a Facebook account, a blog, or knowledge of YouTube doesn’t even begin to excite customers. It actually makes you look silly.
 
When I was in graduate school majoring in Adult Learning and Distance Ed, one of the things that was stressed (back when online education was just getting a real start) was that you cannot simply take classroom content and strategies and transfer them to the web. You had to know how to engage the learner with completely new tools and a totally new approach.
 
The same is absolutely true of the new media and new marketing. So many retailers and business pros think they can take a TV commercial and pop it up online (or at the very least, the elements of it). Not so. It just won’t work. The web is NOT TV. It’s a totally different animal.
 
Today’s It’s About Connecting, Relating, and Helping People to Decide
 
Today’s climate is not about getting a blog or a Facebook or Twitter account (and trust me, there are thousands more great social media sites we can become a part of) so you can transfer your old offline marketing model to the web to interrupt people and talk them into buying. Today is about relating, building relationships, educating, and delivering quality, helpful content and information WHEN people decide they need it. Showing people you know about or use social sites does not mean one bit that you are informing, engaging, interacting with, or building relationships with your prospects.
 
In this “new” era, we need to be available to assist people in THEIR decision-making processes. Some business-people actually love this idea, because it is totally in line with being a helpful professional. Some business pros have been living this way all along, and now the web provides a wonderful outlet for their exceptional business philosophy. Those who haven’t been this way have got to start doing so NOW.
 
Online, people are seeking information at the very least, and NO NO NO, telling them that you are having a sale is NOT the information they are coming to the web to see. EVERYONE is having a sale. However, not everyone is becoming a part of the prospects’ lives.
 
People are also seeking meaningful connection, and companies that get that will get more customers. It all begins when we seek to relate.
 
We don’t relate when we are slamming folks with “No Money Down”, “15% Off”, “Blowout Sale”, or even worse, “Respond by Midnight”. We relate by showing we understand some basic things, like:

  • What might be going on in the mind of the customer?
  • What need or desire might they be addressing?
  • What text might they be putting into a search on the Internet?
  • What are the many reasons they might be buying, and
  • How might they be seeking a better way of life?

We also relate when we communicate that we are O.K. with the fact that buying may very well be a bit of a process, and that we not there to rush people, but to help, educate and inform them, not just about OUR types of products and services, but about the climate, opinions, uses, thoughts, and research surrounding them.
 
People Seek REAL People
 
Today, buyers want to do business with REAL people who they can relate to. Today’s buyers are super turned off to overly-polished companies and stiff, robotic, mainstream businesses that look like they somehow managed to survive Madison Avenue.
 
I could go on for hours. But instead, let me sum it all up by giving you a good number of bullet points for you to follow that will help you create a great interactive web-based marketing approach that your customers and prospects will appreciate and better relate to—one that makes you approachable, user-friendly, a relationship builder, and even a leader. It’s time for you to have a web presence that makes sense.
 
 
Basic Guidelines for Marketing Online

  • The old rules of marketing wont work on the web. Forget about putting your TV type ad on the internet (on your website, blog, or social sites) expecting it to gain leads or sales. People on the web are looking for info, not ads.
  • Instead of advertising, RELATE. Messages should be full of great content and useful information and not one way communication where you are TELLING people what YOU want them to know just so the will buy.
  • Don’t try too hard to gain people’s attention. Once someone comes to your site, you already have their attention. The question becomes, what will you do with it? The answer, ENGAGE THEM with GREAT CONTENT.
  • Don’t think people trust your advertising that touts your fabulous products and your fabulous prices. Trust must be earned. People to day have tremendous opportunities and a heck of a lot of choices
  • Don’t be afraid to share. Tell folks all about your people, your philosophy of connecting, your manufacturing process, where the wood is grown that you use in your furniture, how you are helping to save the earth, how you helped a customer out of a big dilemma, how your mom show’s up at the office every Friday with eggplant parmesan for everyone, how much you love what you do, and how your products are so much more than just products.
  • You are not in the driver’s seat (sorry, Charlie)! The person searching the web is. Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because you put an “ad” on the web, people will stop what they are doing to take a look at it. Instead, you need to have what people want and need precisely when THEY think they need it.
  • People search the web when they need info. Your site should provide helpful content, not ads telling about low, low, financing or 15% off.
  • Today, it’s about connection and building relationships of trust. Show your visitors that you want a relationship with them FIRST and foremost (yes, doing businesses like a girl)!
  • Don’t try to sell the minute your visitors see your site. They are not there to buy YET. They first want information.
  • PLEASE, don’t try to copy the advertising your competitors are doing. First of all, you have your own voice, so speak it. THAT’S what sets you apart. People want to do business with YOU because of your unique personality or position, not with a robot. Secondly, your competitors are likely doing it all wrong, EVEN if they have a blog, a website or use Twitter or YouTube.
  • People don’t wait for you to “advertise” to them. They go online as an experience, looking for what they want to discover, learn about, and POSSIBLY buy.
  • Provide useful reports, white papers, short videos, and even simple but informative e-books on your site for free. Don’t try so hard to be cute, clever, entertaining. If your content is awesome, that’s enough.
  • Get to know the key words and key phrases your potential buyers are using to search information on the web (not necessarily the keywords and key phrases that industry experts use). Then, create content that will lead these “researchers” to your site.
  • Don’t try to target the masses. Seek unique niche markets that value who you are and what you can do for them. They will be impressed that you cared so much.
  • Don’t make the focus of your communication about selling your products. Make the focus meaningful interactions with others. The products will then sell themselves. This means, don’t focus on how great YOU are, focus on being a great resource for your desired customers.
  • And finally, as I always tell you, BE YOURSELF and have fun doing it!

Have a Wild Week of New Marketing with a New Marketing Brain,

 Margo


Margarett (Margo) DeGange, M.Ed. is a Business and Design Coach in the Home Fashions Industry. She creates and delivers custom training programs for managed businesses and their sales consultants to help them communicate better with customers and increase sales and profits. Margarett is a Writer and Professional Speaker, and the President of The DeGangi Group and The DeGangi School of Interior Decoration, with both on sight and on-line courses in Interior Decorating, Marketing, and Redesign. For almost 20 years she has helped individuals and managed business owners in the interior fashions and decorating industries to earn more while fully enjoying the process.

Two of Margo’s popular products for furniture store owners and their sales professionals are The Decorating School Crash Course Power-Ed Pack (9 design lessons on video/audio with 12 hours of content), and the matching Decorating School Crash Course Learner Files to measure learning, provide added interactivity, and motivate sales consultants to own their opportunities for growth.

Visit Margo DeGange’s website at www.DecoratingForProfits.com  for more information. Send email and questions to her at Margarett@furninfo.com.

 

 

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