That’s right, I’m not even going to keep you in suspense. No long introductions with back-door explanations. I want you to know right up front that if you want to rock your marketing then you’ve got to tap into the power of that uniquely quirky thing called personality.
With a lot of talk about “personal branding” you may think this is that.
What I’m talking about is much simpler and much more powerful. Your personality. Your client’s. Your prospect’s. That total stranger’s, who is neither client nor prospect but could be if you only knew how to ignite the spark.
“Pshaw!” You may be thinking. “That’s nice touchy-feely new-age-y talk, but what’s the ROI? Where are the clicks? How many page views does that get?”
If you don’t believe me, I’m going to show you how the power of personality can contribute to the success… nay, the triumph…! of your business. The best part? Personality is free, it’s abundant and it’s easy to use if you know how.
The Back-Door Explanation
If you’re still reading it means you’re ready to take your marketing from ‘ok’, ‘good’, maybe even ‘pretty good’ to fan-stinkin-tastic.
But let me ask you a few questions first.
Do you have a Facebook page, Twitter account, Pinterest board or some other presence on social networks?
Do you send out email newsletters, offers, updates or other communications?
Have you printed business cards, brochures, flyers, postcards, mailers or any other collateral materials?
Do you blog, publish ebooks, send out press releases, take interviews or otherwise get your name out there?
Do you conduct webinars, seminars or speak at events or trade shows?
Do you have a website? (Does it have an “About” page… and is it any good?)
If you’re engaged in any marketing at all then you’ve said “yes” to at least one, most likely several and quite possibly all of those.
Do you have any idea how much marketing noise is out there? I know I don’t have to tell you. Every time you open your inbox, check your mailbox, turn on your TV, play Angry Birds or browse online you’re bombarded with marketing and advertising messages.
As marketers and business people, the challenge is no longer “how to get the message out there”. There are a batrizillion ways to do that. The challenge is “how do you get noticed in all the noise?”
Bet you can guess what I’m going to say… personality.
Personality Is Not The Same As Personal Branding, Transparency Or “Voice”
In a social marketing world, we’re often told to be the “face” of our company. We’re told to be honest and transparent. Available and engaged.
All good advice but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking very literally about what makes you you. All the weird, wonderful, obscure things that you may or may not tell people about yourself. And all the weird, wonderful and obscure things we may or may not learn about others.
That you salt your watermelon.
That you secretly play ‘Magic The Gathering’ with your teenage son and his geek friends on Saturday nights.
That you love anything and everything written by Ayn Rand (now that would be weird!)
Everything that makes you quirky, eccentric, unique, interesting, quite possibly eyebrow-raising and memorable to others – that’s your personality.
What This Has To Do With Your Marketing
I’m going to repeat something that I’ve said before and many, many people have said before me – and you are welcome to beat me over the head with the obvious stick but it bears repeating: people do business with people they like.
This is not a revelation. For years to come, marketers will be spouting the same cliché.
Fortunately, that doesn’t make it any less true.
Unfortunately, not only do we ignore it because it’s so often repeated, but I also think we tend to forget it as we strive to be “faces” and “voices” in this brave new world of online engagement.
Here’s what this has to do with your marketing: everything.
In a noisy marketing-filled world the only hope that you have of succeeding in business is getting noticed and staying noticed. Your products may be great. Your services may be superb. Your attention to detail may be unmatched, your customer service flawless. Anyone can compete with you on those points, but nobody can compete with you on being you.
That’s the power we’re going to explore right now.
Step 1: Know Yourself
You have no idea how many people tell me, “I’m not that interesting.”
Confessions all around: there are times when I feel “not that interesting”, too. But that’s because we’re used to the routine of our lives and lots of times we’re not doing anything all that interesting! We work, we go to the gym, we have dinner with our families, we sleep. Not exactly a nail-biter of a day, is it?
But routine is not who you are. When people insist they’re not that interesting it’s because what they’re really thinking is, “I’m not doing anything interesting right now.”
Instead of getting mired in the moment, I want you to think about what things define you as a person.
What do you love? What gets your creative juices flowing? What lights up your eyes? What little behavioral eccentricities do your best friends always (so helpfully) point out? What things do you keep in the back of your mind or your closet because they don’t pertain to your daily activities… yet?
I’ll give you an example from my end so hopefully the gears will start spinning on yours.
Do you know what I love to do at the end of a tough day or first thing on a relaxing Saturday morning? I love to get myself to the pistol range and unload the clip of a 40-caliber Walther PPQ into the head of a zombie.
A general survey of my friends and acquaintances puts that in the “kinda weird” column.
When I’m frustrated I dump a bag of chocolate chips into a jar of peanut butter and spoon it all into my mouth.
Whenever I get any kind of emotional the retro Italian in me comes out and I talk louder and louder and gesture wider and wider. Many times that’s accompanied by something getting broken.
Are you getting it? You may not know much about me but if I asked you in a week to recall what you do know, I bet one of those little quirky things will come to mind!
You may wonder why this matters to marketing. It matters because by telling you that I have a penchant for pistols and zombies, I’ve become memorable. I’ve become more than that girl who blogs and does creative something or other.
By telling you that I may have opened a door for you to share your own secret zombie yearnings.
By telling you that I’ve elevated marketing to sharing – and in doing so I’m building a relationship with you, one quirky bit at a time.
And I didn’t have to dig very far to do it. I simply pulled the rug of everyday predictability out from under you, lit the spark, baited the hook – and did it just by being myself.
Take this moment right now to think about what quirky things define you. Celebrate the weirdness and uniqueness that you bring to the world. Be the biggest, boldest you that you can be. Use your personality to create the top-of-mind awareness with your prospects and customers that other (less smart) marketers fall all over themselves trying to do with daily bombardments of emails, Facebook posts, coupons and postcards.
Next time someone insists you need a USP or asks you about your mission statement, zonk them on the head with your favorite twirling baton and tell them you were a Color Guard champ in the 6th grade, so take that and stick it in your USP.
Step 2: Get To Know Others
Knowing and embracing your own coolness is only half the story. Remember, we’re building relationships, which means there’s another person involved.
One of the most powerful marketing tools in your arsenal is your ability to ferret out and mentally index the quirkiness of others.
It’s a fact of psychology that the people we like the best are the ones who make us feel best about ourselves. We may admire or respect a super cool or brilliant person but if she makes us feel stupid and crummy, we aren’t going to like her all that much.
If you can help others like themselves they’re going to transfer all that liking to you. More liking = more doing business with. A win-win all around.
So how do you do that? The same way you’ve explored and identified your own unique fabulousness, you need to do the same for others. By revealing part of yourself, you may find a shared connection. The day a prospect says to me, “No way, I totally love zombies! I already planned for the apocalypse and everything…” is the day I bet you I win a customer for life.
I have, in fact, closed several business deals over shared quirks, from dessert choices to automobile pet peeves to cigars. And no, it’s not the thing itself but the connection I made and the relationship I built with the other person. The “thing” was just a catalyst. It was the thing that made someone remember me when every other service provider was making similar promises and offering similar deals.
But even if you don’t share a quirk with someone, you can still make this work for you. Simply find out what makes your customer or prospect unique. It may take a little digging but imagine how powerful it could be if your prospect confesses to having a secret collection of trilobite fossils and you just happen to come across one on your trip to the museum this weekend (and send it as a thank-you-for-meeting-with-me gift)?
…if your prospect states a love for all things Harley Davidson and you send a link to your favorite similarly themed Pinterest board?
…if your prospect is a red wine connoisseur and you ask for her advice on the best bottle for your next dinner party?
Not only does this create a connection but it shows that you’re actually interested in someone beyond their ability to line your pockets.
And here’s another perk: it can be tough to remember the names of your prospect’s three kids, where he went to college or how he chose his career direction (all most excellent things to know and capitalize on!) But it’s a whole lot easier to remember that he loves Scooby Doo so much that he has that famous cartoon character tattooed in the middle of his back.
Don’t Take It From Me. Try It.
Personality is free. It’s always there, waiting for you to tap into it and use it to your advantage. You don’t need any special skills – except perhaps the power of observation and some conversational ability. There are no requirements or “best practices”. The only rule is: be yourself.
And best of all, this is an opportunity that only you have. Nobody else in the world can compete with you on you. Nobody else can use what you know, feel and do.
In the moment when you share a bit of quirk with another person, you’re both hooked. And when it comes to marketing, that moment is all you need to create a connection.
If you haven’t thought of at least one thing about yourself that you can use or one way to capitalize on what you know about someone else then you’ve got homework!
Start right now: tell me about one of your quirks or eccentricities and get me hooked!
This post is part of the May 2012 Word Carnival — a monthly group blogging event specifically for small business owners. (It’s the most fun you’ll have all month!) Check out the rest of the fabulous carney work here.