When did you last read a really good book?
I’m talking about miss-your-train-stop good, spend-an-hour-on-the-toilet-to-read good. Got one in mind? What did you do when you finished it? My guess: you told someone about it and recommended it to them. Maybe you even gifted a few copies to people (That’s what I usually do). And guess what: that book probably sold a lot of copies.
As business owners, one of the things we struggle with is getting people to talk about our brand. We can make a lot of noise with our marketing but the reality is that the noise we make is just a whimper in the ocean of messages everyone is bombarded with every day.
But plenty of products or services get talked about –a lot– by the right kind of people, and it’s not just the ones with the biggest marketing budgets. Think of how many times you recommended a bar, a shop, or an app to a friend,. And I don’t mean “recommend” in the web 2.0 sense of the word. I’m talking about the real, person-to-person referrals that happen during most conversations and that move local economies.
Personally I have never left a review on TripAdvisor, but I have sent plenty of people to my favourite restaurants. And so have you.
This is what I call Real World Shareability.
Let me be clear: I’m not saying that you shouldn’t pursue online sharing. Far from it, it can be very effective, but real shareability is way more powerful.
I don’t pay much attention to the brands or products that people share on Facebook, but if my friend Saschia, whom I trust in these matters, tells me that I should try a great new wine bar, you can be sure I am going to check it out.
So how do you build an inherently shareable brand? How do you get your customers to the rooftops, so they can shout about your brand?
There are a lot of things you can do, but here are 3 things that you can start working on today.
Talk to the right people
No brand can be for everyone. Until you’ve identified exactly who you’re talking to –and who you’re never going to talk to– you’ll never have real fans. And you need fans to spread the word. Let’s face it: your brand is not going to go worldwide overnight, but if you find the right tribe it can easily go viral with them.
Start by listing the types of people who will definitely NEVER be your clients. At least now you know who’re you’re NOT talking to, which brings a lot of focus and clarity to your marketing. And then ask yourself who your actual customers are, what they care about, what their dreams and fears are, and what problem your brand solves for them. When you start including your customer’s worldview into your marketing, everything changes.
Focus on the experience
Brand experience, customer experience, user experience… I know, they sound like empty buzzwords and indeed, they are often thrown around randomly. But great power lies within the experience you are able to give your customers, for 2 reasons: 1. A positive experience is one of the best ways I know to create an emotional connection with anyone, and 2. It is completely within your control, even if you’re a one-man company with a very small budget.
Use the formula
This is one of my ultimate brand hacks: One of the most powerful ways to make your brand message more compelling –and shareable– is to present your solution in a “how it works” kind of way. It is a lot easier to understand, and gives your audience an easy script to share. All you need to do is break up what you already do into small bits that people can understand quickly. Sometimes it is enough to present a 1-2-3 process. I will write a lot more about this in the future, because it is hard to convey how powerful this can be if done correctly.
Unless you sell exclusively online, you will have found that word-of-mouth and referrals account for a very big chunk of your revenue. It is true for my own business and it is true for the many businesses I consult with.
It follows, then, that creating a more shareable brand is the ultimate marketing activity for a small business.
Get to work on your brand today!