Marketing Prediction for 2013: "Humanize" Online Marketing
You've heard it over and over and over: When you're marketing a product, focus on benefits. Features mean little to customers; they're more concerned with what's in it for them—the benefits.
That's still good advice. However, innovative marketing professionals realize that product benefits are no longer enough, either. When faced with an array of almost-equal products at almost identical price points, customers choose to buy stories.
Whether you create your own products or focus on affiliate promotions, build a story to set yourself apart from competitors.
Talk to your audience about yourself: how your business started, where it's going, your dreams and goals and inspirations.
Solicit true testimonials from your customers, and polish their words to tell the story of your product or service.
Write client case studies. Incorporate details of customer challenges and customer triumphs. Get a little poetic—use rich language, examples and metaphors; cast your client as a hero undertaking a journey that's made better through your product or service.
Be believable and human in social media and other marketing channels. Allow your audience to see mistakes and what you learned from them. Be funny; be friendly; be yourself.
Show you care about other people. Say thank you and acknowledge thank yous. Bring other people's stories to your audience and relate to them in a genuine way.
Refer to yourself often. Point out other articles you've written on the same topic, or direct readers to related social media channels to involve them more deeply in your story. Never isolate offers; rather, integrate them together into a seamless whole.
Start each email newsletter with a short personal story: What you did or learned this week, who influenced you, or even something about your family—especially if your family is funny.
Stop advertising and marketing and carry on a dialog with your potential customers. Answer emails promptly. Respond to blog comments. Even simply clicking “like” on Facebook business page posts shows that there's a human on the other end of the online marketing.
Stories are more likely to go viral than product reviews.
Stories are better than Top 10 lists.
Stories sell more effectively than flashing banners and pay per click ads.
Stories give human customers a chance to buy something from another human. Stories—especially true stories—go beyond features and benefits and create a special customer experience.
And tell your business story again and again, even though some visitors might have heard it before.
Over time, the collection of stories forms a brand—a recognizable name customers can share, talk about, promote and love. Weave your story into every aspect of your marketing and you'll be miles ahead of competitors in 2013.