Monday, March 19, 2012

DIY Marketing: Advance your brand, business, or creative career!

Whether it's landing that job, being that creative artist, or just growing your blog readership, you probably want to do something that requires the support of other people if it's going to succeed.

I used to look on marketing as kind of a dirty word. If you were a marketer you were trying to sell something. Yuck! How sleazy. How weaseling and angling and greedy --And you know what? I'm sure that's how it is for some people.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

Marketing, by textbook definition, is simply getting the Right Message to the Right Person at the Right Time to win their interest and support. And if you believe in the use and value of what you're marketing, then there is an inherent integrity in doing it.

To succeed as an artist, employee, entrepreneur, blogger, business, or whathaveyou. . .you'll need to prove the worth of your ideas, products, skills, personality. . .to your prospective readers, buyers, clients, employers, patrons, cohorts. . .

That is, you'll need to be your own best marketer.

I recently had a great experience with a make-up company I had never before heard of—Mineral Hygienics, if you're wondering. I was led from one positive impression to another and had almost 
become a loyal customer before I even tried one of their products. With their permission, I'm going to analyze my customer experience to illustrate how successful marketing works.

You'll Catch 'Em Hook, Line, and Sinker. . .

The first I heard of Mineral Hygienics (MH) was when one of their business cards fell out of the packaging of a completely unrelated purchase I made from Tea District. This wasn't any old business card, though, it included a coupon code for a free product from their website. This illustrates three ideas about the Hook:

  • Network. Create working relationships with a variety of people and organizations. And then intelligently employ those relationships! Gain access to your network's network to expand your own.
  • Make a good first impression. MH gained access to the Tea District's clientele by slipping their business cards into the orders being shipped out. These could have been easily ignored and tossed into the garbage, but they caught and kept my attention with a generous offer. And by offering free stuff to the Tea District's customers, they created a positive customer impression for both companies.
  • Go for the jugular. In fact, the coupon code was for a free full-sized blush regularly priced at $18. Of course, the customer still pays $5 in shipping, but still! $5 for an $18 blush! It was an offer that couldn't be refused, even by frugal, little ol' me. By making a very enticing offer, MH guaranteed that almost everyone who got one of those cards would at least visit their website and look around. Pretty smart! 

So make the most of your first exposure. If your commodity is intangible: for example, if you're a blogger, this may mean writing really great and useful content, getting it circulating in the social media universe or endorsed by other bloggers, and making sure when somebody actually clicks through to your site it's very easy for them to meander around and want to stay awhile. Even better if their first exposure is a giveaway they can enter!

Then, once you've got them on the hook, give them some line

  • Hone your delivery. When I ordered my free blush, it was delivered extremely promptly—it seemed to arrive almost overnight! It was attractively packaged, too, in a silky black bag.
  • Don't be afraid to be quirky or have some fun. A random piece of Laffy Taffy was stuffed into the envelope with my blush. Kinda weird. . .but it made me laugh! (I love Laffy Taffy jokes. What are two things you can never eat for breakfast? Answer at the bottom...) All together, it was a fun treat to find in my mailbox—especially since it was "free."--Shipping psychologically doesn't count; I wonder why that is?--I was really liking MH and I hadn't even tried the blush yet.
  • Be Grateful. Most invoices or receipts will say something like, "Thank you for your business." The one that came with my blush said, "Thank you, thank you, thank you! We truly appreciate your business, support, and referrals. It's our goal to continually impress you and earn your business for years to come! Please let us know how we can serve you better!" Okay, so maybe that sounds a little over the top considering that I just redeemed a coupon for a free product and paid mere shipping. But the spirit of it—the friendly tone and implication of relationship—is very winning. 

If you want to keep someone around, be quirky yet professional, be charming. . .and make sure your prospect enjoys herself. I had a job interview a couple days ago, and I think the guy called me in purely because my resume made him laugh.

Unfortunately, I'm much funnier on paper than I am in person. So you do want to make sure you can live up to the hype. That's going to be your sinker

  • Have the goods. Make sure the thing you're marketing is everything you say it is and more. I got the Promenade Pink blush from Mineral Hygienics, and it's the best I've ever used. The color is perfect, it's very lightweight, and it blends effortlessly. Will I be a repeat customer? It's very likely—even though I've never spent $18 on a single piece of make-up before in my life, I've enjoyed my experience with this company and am extremely pleased with their product. 

In other words: Be Awesome.

There are about 7 billion people in the world just waiting for you to win them over. Go get 'em.

P. S. Remember those seeds I planted last week? A lot of them are coming up! Check out these radish sprouts--I'm psyched!

(Answer to "What are two things you can never eat for breakfast?" . . .Lunch and Dinner. Ha!)
Note: I'm not getting anything from Mineral Hygeinics for writing this and this is not a paid endorsement.