In this connected economy, your marketing message is traveling through complex and interconnected networks of relationships.
This is why marketing today is more than a process of earning the attention of people and engaging them with your business. It also requires that you do the same with their friends and influencers, and then theirs too – and so on, and on, and on.
While this may seem to be a daunting task, leveraging digital and real-life networks to ensure the future success of your business can be distilled down to two basic practices:
- Communicate Well
- Play Well
#1 Communicate Well
The goal of any form of marketing is creating a message that is so compelling, so engaging, so interesting and informative that it takes on a life of its own – it just travels well.
Think about that on a personal level. What does it take to earn your attention?
You will most likely discover that basic human qualities that engage people at an emotional level are always attractive, and therefore, should ideally be part of your marketing communications. Here are a few to consider:
Is Your Business Interesting?
The first step in avoiding commoditization is standing out from the crowd. Of course, it is well known that one of the surest ways to be interesting is to be interested – in your customers. Consumers will always find those businesses that are reaching out to be more interesting. It’s human nature.
Is Your Business Helpful?
When a business does take the time to learn about their customers, the next logical step is taking action on being of service. This can come in many forms, with the use of content marketing to provide solutions being highly valuable in a world where over 50% of all consumers go to the web for help.
Is Your Business Friendly?
Businesses such as Southwest Airlines, Zappos, and even Google have used friendliness to their advantage. When all other things are equal, and sometimes even when they are not, people will overwhelmingly choose the friendlier business.
You most likely know what it means for a message to “go viral.” This is when interesting, helpful, and friendly online content is so engaging that is has to be shared. It just cannot be stopped – unless, something gets in its way.
#2 – Play Well
Actually, everything does eventually come to rest due to the influence of friction, mainly because it requires work to overcome it. This is a natural phenomenon associated with time, and one sure way to minimize it is to minimize the work – by making it play.
Some businesses inject their own friction that prevents well-intentioned communications from traveling as well as they otherwise could. Here are a few to work on to ensure your business is not getting in its own way.
Does Your Business Keep Things Simple?
Business that focus on being the best at what matters most recognize that simplicity is a desirable quality.
Simplicity is a hallmark of great companies that have taken the time to respect the time of their buyers.
How many deals have you walked away from (or nearly so) because the selling process was unnecessarily complicated.
Is it Safe to Work with Your Business?
It is indeed true in a risk-averse economy that consumers want to feel safe. Testimonials, guarantees, and the validation of online social communities all serve to give buyers confidence. It is arguable that this is one of the most powerful reasons for investing in social media marketing.
Is Your Business Easy to Work With?
Being easy to work with pretty well sums everything about being the best connected business. The best connected businesses are working to simplify, have a little fun, and develop assurances that encourage the further development of their networks.
While there isn’t a magical formula for easily being a best connected business, the good news is this is not overly complicated either.
Communications that focus on making emotional connections increase the likelihood of engaging buyers with your business process. After that, being as frictionless as possible in working with buyers not only makes them customers, but also engages their friends and influencers.
That makes your business the best connected for future growth.
What is your business doing to be the best connected? Please share.
Jeff is also the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – Released April 15, 2013 (Wiley)