Marketing has always been one of my weaker areas when it comes to running a business; it has just never come easily to me to figure out how to sell what I make to the right people. Recently I came to the realization that maybe that’s because I was trying to make my business fit into someone else’s idea of what marketing should look like.
My strength has always been in the area of relationships. If you’ve read any of my work in the past then you probably know that I’m an off-the-charts extrovert, and I work best when I’m working with another person (live, and IN person if possible, or at least face-to-face through the magic of Skype). I get my energy from one-on-one interactions with other business owners, and that’s when I’m able to bring my best work to the table.
The Traditional Way
The “marketing gurus” of the Internet will tell you that in order to market your products you’ve got to create a hands-off “funnel” for your customers to fall into. Get them onto your website, hook them onto your email list, put them through a series of stock emails and explain to them why they need this thing you’re selling.
If you’re talented in the area of marketing copywriting, email sales pitch composition, and sales funnel creation, then that’s a great option for you! You can probably make a lot of sales following this traditional path. If you’re more like me, though – if you work well in the moment and it’s the act of talking to someone that most inspires you to be helpful to them – then you probably aren’t having a lot of success on this traditional path, either.
Playing to My Strengths
Since I’ve struggled with traditional marketing methods, I started to think outside the box: what if, instead of following the traditional path, I made my own that allowed me to focus on my strengths? If I work well in one-on-one conversations, then that’s probably the best way for me to connect with and serve my audience!
Once I figured that out, I started holding “discovery sessions” with some small business owners who are members of a Facebook group with me. In these sessions I asked them to tell me about their business struggles, which helped me to identify the common elements of struggle in the audience I hope to serve. In order to make the sessions helpful for them as well, at the end of each one I gave them a piece of advice or an insight for them to apply in their own businesses, to help them get on the way to solving their bigger struggles.
What about YOUR strengths?
Creative marketing is about serving your audience in a way that’s authentically YOU. Here are some ideas to consider for “thinking outside the box” in your marketing adventures:
- If you’re like me and your strength is in having actual conversations, get out there and participate in events that allow you the opportunity to connect in-person, like trade shows, sales events, and conferences.
- If you find it easier to talk than to write, consider using an audio or video element in your marketing. Shoot a quick video at your desk and explain something to your audience, instead of wasting hours poring over a blog post that turns out to be mediocre because you were trying to work in a medium that isn’t your best.
- If you are a visually creative person, spice up your marketing message with visual elements! Take beautiful photos, create info-graphics, or include a free download of some sort of artistic content.
- If you like to offer quick tips and “nuggets” of information, use social media as your method of delivery. It doesn’t take long to compose a tweet, a Facebook post, or an Instagram caption, and in these single-serving moments you’ll find ways to connect with more customers.
- If you do better when you’ve got the space to really hash out an idea, use an email newsletter as your primary method of marketing communication. Take your time and deliver quality content straight to your audience members’ inboxes.
How will you incorporate a new creative marketing strategy into YOUR business? How will you play to your strengths instead of following the crowd?