Let’s face it. Some businesses are simply boring. Selling office supplies or providing accounting services is not inherently fun or interesting. There’s nothing sexy about providing clean water or investment advice. While this can make effective marketing difficult, it is far from impossible. Here are five steps to get people to care about your boring business:
Find Your Story
Since cavemen shared grunts around the campfire, storytelling has been key to our understanding of the world. It helps simplify complex ideas, enhance simplistic concepts and strengthen human connections. To be effective, two primary ideas must be incorporated: your company’s authentic truth and the customer’s Who does not love a story that puts them in the center of the action? Go beyond detailing the multigenerational history of your company and emphasize how this makes your business perfect for family-centric consumers. Make your prospects feel that by purchasing your product or service they will become the heroes of their own lives. However, be careful not to oversell. If you are a paper supply company, pretending that your reams can solve world hunger may be a bit of stretch. Own your “dullness” while emphasizing why your business matters.
Find Your Audience
Businesses often struggle to attract customers because of one obvious reason: they do not know their audience. Prior to the explosion of digital marketing, traditional methods took a “catch-all” approach. Create one or two messages that reflect your brand and mass promote them among the, well, um, masses. The idea was simple: the more people you reach, the more likely you are to reach someone who wants your product/service. Using this logic in the digital sphere is both unnecessary and ineffective. There are way too many resources that allow organizations to easily and quickly target their ideal customers. Additionally, consumers are adept at blocking out advertisements that do not relate to them or are stilted and nonspecific. Create buyer personas that reflect your current and ideal customers. Use these to guide your strategies.
Find Your Platform(s)
Once you know who your customers are, determine how you will reach them. While it is important to have a strong online presence, certain platforms may not make sense for your company. If you are a B2B company that sells industrial printers to large corporations, it is unlikely your clients are perusing Facebook for their products. Figure out where your prospects like to “hang out.” It is also important to know what content works on which platform. Check out Buffer’s Complete Guide to Optimizing Your Social Content to develop your online strategy. However, depending on how niche your organization is, traditional marketing such as trade publications may be the best method. Position yourself where you are most likely to be seen by your audience.
Find Influential Partners
There is strength in numbers. Especially if those numbers include thousands of avid followers. Partner with digital influencers to promote your business. Offer your product or service for free and have them give an honest review. Another idea is the “account takeover.” This concept allows celebrities or even everyday consumers to create online posts for your business. It is a great way to engage as well as gain deeper insight into current and prospective customers wants and needs. Plus, reviews and referrals from those who have used your business is the best way to get…wait for it…more customers. This sort of word of mouth marketing is a great way to maximize your brand’s reach and impact.
Find Your “Weird” Factor
While it was not so cool in high school, weirdness in marketing is a great way to stand out, especially if you are in a dull industry. You can achieve this by highlighting something strange and unique about your company. Or, you can present facts about your business in a bold and memorable way. If the idea for your company started on a napkin with a bottle of wine, make a video about it. Or use that entrepreneurial creativity to create a humorous campaign about cat businessmen searching for the perfect suit (OMG, could you imagine? How cute!). The more out of the box, the better. Make sure that whatever you create is authentic, reflects your brand and ultimately speaks to your customers.
Standing out in the ever-growing marketplace is a challenge. It can seem particularly overwhelming if you are a small business offering routine products and services. But your company is not “routine” or mundane. There is a reason why you do what you do. Find this truth and build upon it. Show your customers why you are the coolest tire and lube center in the tri-state area. Who does not love a great story told well?