You are Not a Snake Oil Salesman

Snake oil advertisementI found myself wanting to scream at someone on a forum the other day. He wanted to build up readership for his blog — hey, don’t we all? So — he proceeded to introduce himself as a reply to every post anyone put up. “Hi, come check out my blog!” I didn’t click the link. I don’t buy snake oil. In fact, I don’t buy much of anything these days.
Marketing turns me off.
I’ve heard from friends in sales that this isn’t just me. Lots of people are sick and tired of being marketed to.
The #1 commodity of our current world is: time. Attention. Everyone wants your attention. Who you give your time and attention to will be the person you may very well buy something from.
So, since we DO need to build our blog readership and this DOES require marketing, how do we accomplish that?
When I was pondering this, I realized that I had been taught good marketing strategy as a child by my mother. I may often complain about my mother, but one thing is for sure: she was a consummate expert at marketing. I once overheard her turn a wrong number into a sale. Just amazing. The woman could literally sell anything.
Here are some things I learned from her:
  1. Care about your product. If you don’t love it, don’t try to sell it.
  2. Care about your customers. Connect with people. Get to know them. In the world of Internet marketing, you may never meet your customers, but you can learn a lot about them. Who is following you on Twitter? What do they like? What interests them? What upsets them? What needs do they have? If you’re lucky enough to have a large audience, learn about your BEST client, your ideal client, and then keep them in mind whenever you are working on marketing.
  3. Be a professional. Look the part. My mother shopped at Nordstrom. I remember the day she went into the Lincoln dealership and bought herself a brand new Lincoln Continental Mark V…with cash. She always drove a nice car, because she lived in the day before Internet marketing. She was her own best advertising. In our world, this may mean keeping your website professional. Have a domain name. Your own domain name, if you can afford it. ($10/year, folks. Good investment.) If you can afford a good hosting company, get one. I love BlueHost*. They throw in the domain name with a year of hosting.
  4. Act like a professional. Shake hands. Look people in the eye when you talk to them. Or in web-lingo, don’t act like a troll. Get to know people. Build respect. Let them see that you know your stuff. Your website is on your Twitter profile, right? You’ve got a link on Facebook. You’ve updated your profile on the forums that you contribute to so that they point people to your website. Right? Treat people with respect. Stay on topic in forums. Answer people’s questions if you know the answer. Be helpful. People will remember that. Believe me, someone who behaves like a professional will stand out.
  5. Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing. So treat your customers like gold. Let them do the marketing for you. I love companies that offer rewards for doing this. I enjoy telling people about the good experiences I’ve had with a company. Okay, so I like talking about the bad ones, too.Wink People will talk. Give them something good to say about you.
My mother has been dead for many years. About 2 years ago, someone came up to me and asked about something my mother had tried to sell them. Could I help them find it? They really wanted to purchase it. They couldn’t buy it when she showed it to them, but now…
Yes, that woman could sell anything.

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