For many authors, non-profit directors, and business owners, the term “marketing” seems as complex and confusing as learning to speak a foreign language. The problem is only exacerbated by marketing professionals and so-called gurus who make a living by making people dependent on their secrets, which only they can understand. In contrast, I don’t believe promoting your product or service should be complicated. I founded my consulting practice, WildFire Marketing, to provide a simple, yet powerful, approach to sell more books, increase product sales, or secure larger donations. I help clients achieve these results by learning to focus on the single most foundational principle of marketing.
All too often, individuals and organizations mistake marketing as the attempt to explain who they are, what they’re about, or what they do. However, this perspective contains a common thread that is counterproductive – the marketing language is self-focused and all about you. The problem is that nobody cares about you or what you do. Instead, they care about what you can do for them. And, they won’t give you their money until you answer their internal question, “What’s in it for me?”
For example, when I hear authors asked to explain why they wrote their book, they usually describe what the book is about. When a non-profit director is asked to explain what her organization does, she usually explains all of their efforts and initiatives. When a business owner is asked to describe his company, he typically goes into detail about the features of his products or services. To make matters worse, all of these self-focused explanations are placed onto important marketing materials, such as websites pages, brochures, social media pages, newsletters, etc. Thousands of dollars are spent on marketing. Yet, the most important question in the public’s mind never gets answered, “What’s in it for me?”
Book readers, consumers, and donors don’t care about your topic, genre, mission, or product features. Their primary concern is how you can make their life better. Therefore, they want to know the RESULTS that you can create for them. Even people who donate to non-profits need to feel like they’re getting something in return for their donation.
To avoid confusion, I define a result as any positive outcome, life change, or tangible improvement that you create for someone who reads your book, buys your product, or donates to your cause. In addition, the description of a result must be specific enough to generate emotional interest. Logic makes people think, but emotion makes them act. For example, consider the difference between these statements:
- My book is about home organization.
- Our company sells fuel-efficient cars.
- Our non-profit helps feed starving children.
- My book helps you experience the soothing calm of an ordered home.
- Our cars use such little gas that they put money back in your wallet.
- Our non-profit makes you the hero in the life of a starving child.
You may think your marketing materials tell people about results. However, I’ll bet the language isn’t as effective as you think. To prove my point, try this test: Ask someone who is unfamiliar with your book, company, or non-profit to visit your website. Give them 60 seconds, and then ask how they would explain you to a friend. If they don’t mention the results that you offer, then your marketing is more of a hindrance than a help.
The big problem with a lot of marketing campaigns today is that they expect the customer to do the company’s job, which is to answer the ultimate question, “What’s in it for me?” That’s like asking someone what they do for a living, and they respond with a glazed look and say, “I don’t know…you tell me.” People will not take the time figure out the results you offer…that’s your job and the job of your marketing materials.
When people cannot discern how you’ll improve their life, then they will hesitate to give you their money – whether it be to buy a book, purchase a product, or make a donation. We all make decisions according to our self-interest. Marketing is the process by which you help people realize you have their best interests in mind. When you shift from telling people what your product is about to explaining the results you offer, you will naturally reduce skepticism and build the trust required to create a purchase. For example:
Authors – Don’t tell people the topic of your book. Tell them the results that it will create.
Businesses – Don’t tell people the features of your product. Describe the results it offers.
Non-Profits – Don’t tell people what you do. Demonstrate how you change lives.
A results-based approach to marketing simplifies your efforts by focusing solely on the most critical elements for success. You no longer need to worry about what language to put on your website, what kind of articles to write for your newsletter, or what to say during a media interview. Tell people about the results that you offer, and give examples of readers, customers, or donors who have experienced those results. When your concentrate on appealing to a person’s self-interest, you kindle the sparks needed to ignite marketing wildfires all across the country.
If you want to sell more books, boost product revenue, or increase donations, contact WildFire Marketing for a results-based approach that spreads your message like wildfire.