Ya know, as pathetic as my dating life is, I can’t help but compare a lot of things in business to dating.
Client management is relationship bootcamp.
Networking is pretty much professional dating.
And marketing? Well, marketing is like dating, but without actually being all there.
I mean, just think of all the mainstream marketing advice out there.
“You need to stand out from the competition.”
“You need to play it cool. Be subtle. Sell without you know, really selling.
“But also, just be yourself. Be authentic.”
“And don’t forget to really NURTURE that relationship!”
Now read the above again, but this time, forget about your business for a hot second, and instead you’re getting some relationship advice from your best friend.
Yeah, I don’t see much of a difference either.
That’s because marketing yourself and selling your idea is a lot like dating. In both situations, you’re trying to attract and build a lasting relationship with an ideal special someone.
Except when it comes to marketing, you don’t have to worry about all the complicated stuff.
So why not try applying what works when it comes to dating to marketing your business? You never know, you might just start seeing better results.
1. Start Getting Out There
The first steps in dating are no different from those in online marketing. And it all starts with making sure people know you’re open for business!
Obviously, you’re not going to be downloading Tinder, Bumble, Hinge or whatever the hottest new app is. Instead, you’ll be hanging out where your ideal prospects are. It’s up to you to figure that out, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or even LinkedIn. Do your homework, don’t make any assumptions, and clearly define which channels will bring in the most clients.
And don’t just create a profile and call it a day, either.
It’s important that you also build credibility. You need to show people that you’re real, you’re a good choice and not just some online troll. According to Lyfemarketing, 71% of consumers were more likely to recommend a brand that they had a positive experience. That’s why it’s important that you cultivate platforms that give them that positive experience. It’s not enough to catch their attention with punchy Facebook ads or viral memes. In a sea of competition, you need to show that you’re worth sticking around for.
Make sure you have:
- Around 2-3 social media profiles that look good (ergo, no grainy photos or poorly-designed graphics) and cohesive.
- Consistent content being shared that inspires, entertains or educates your target audience.
- A website or landing page that you can direct your leads to. This is important. You need to be able to have all your relevant information on display and have a funnel in place so people know exactly what it is you have to offer.
2. But Don’t Be Desperate
I know, I know. You need the cash. We all do. But the fastest, most surefire way to sink your income is to constantly, immediately go for the hard sell.
People are more privy to that sort of stuff these days. We don’t like being sold to.
Take it from me, who’s actually been chased from my street all the way to the subway by a salesman on a scooter (yes, this has actually happened. No, it was not successful, and it made me hate going out for at least a week).
Obviously, you’re not going to run up to someone and scream “PLEASE DATE ME I’M LONELY.” Likewise, demanding people to hire you for your services or buy your latest product isn’t going to yield the best results, if any. More likely, you’ll be attracting the wrong kind of clientele: the cheapskates, the ones who demand more for less, the ones who can sniff your desperation from a mile away and will use that to undercut your rates and authority.
You don’t want to do business with them.
So how do you get leads without coming across as desperate?
Follow the Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 rule. 80% of your marketing efforts should be geared at establishing and nurturing a connection with your audience. Just like with dating, you need to impress them, woo them, keep them interested in you, before you can finally put a ring on it. Then, the remaining 20% should be focused on positioning yourself as a quality solution to your audience’s big problem(s).
This brings me to my next point, which is…
3. Keep the Spotlight on Your Audience, Not You
I’m sure you’ve been told to be a good listener when it comes to first dates. That’s because people love it when they feel understood. They become a lot more engaged when they get to talk about themselves. If you want your business to be a success, you need to do the same. You need to take an interest in your audience, and double down on their needs, interests and fears.
For example, if you were a wedding photographer, you might be eager to talk about the Rule of Thirds or your top-tier color grading process. But your clients don’t care about any of that stuff. They care about the beautiful memories that they want to capture on their special day.
When you tailor your messages to your target audience, when you’re actually speaking to them, you’re more likely to see greater conversions. Why? Because if done right, they’ll feel like you get them. And who better to buy from than the one who understands you and what you’re struggling with?
4. Have a Personality
You know where your audiences are, you know what they want and how to reach them. Now you just need to make sure you leave an unforgettable impression.
This is where your branding comes in.
No matter what industry you’re in, aside from some extremely rare cases, you’re going to have a whole slew of competitors who are equally, if not better at solving your prospects’ problems than you are. That’s why you need to step up your game and differentiate yourself.
A brand is more than just a logo. A brand is the resulting impression people get when they interact with you, and a logo is just one small tool you use to achieve that. When you’re developing and defining your brand, at the bare minimum you need to consider:
- What makes your business unique (this could be your customer service and client experience, your process, your style, your expertise, your niche and many more).
- How you want your business to be perceived (do you want to come across as luxurious? Professional? Down-to-earth? Nurturing?).
- How you want your clients and customers to feel when interacting with you, and
- How you will achieve points 2-3 while communicating point 1. What your copy should sound like, how you will incorporate humour (if any), what your overall aesthetics are (your website design and logo, your social profiles, etc.) and how it all fits together.
5. Build a Lasting Relationship
Now we’re finally getting into the heat of things. The conversation’s going pretty well, they feel understood, you’re not being overly forward or crazy and a relationship might actually be in the cards!
So why stop there?
Contrary to dating, ghosting after a few months will only ever hurt your business. Instead of treating your clients and customers like one-and-done human piggybanks, you should be continuing to build a long-lasting relationship with them.
Why? Because those same people could very well be repeat buyers. Why spend so much effort looking for and selling to new clients when you could have consistent, regular, repeated business with the ones you already have, and who already know you can give them the results they’re looking for?
That’s why it’s super important to keep nurturing those relationships after the sale.
This can be done in a multitude of ways, but I personally find maintaining regular contact to be most effective. Whether it’s through regular emails with valuable content and promotions (with their permission, of course. Always ask if they’d like to opt-in), or simply starting up a chat in the DM’s, keep yourself top of mind.
That way, they know who to call when they need your services.
I’m a firm believer that when it comes to marketing your business or dating, you always have to consider the person on the other end. Forging that connection is key to ensuring you not only have quantity, but quality when it comes to filling your pipeline.
People crave connection, and I hope these tips have given you inspiration on how to patch up your marketing strategy and grow your business more efficiently.