Make Your Marketing More You
Find Your Unique Marketing Approach
“Kids these days. They get trophies for everything.”
That’s what the cranky older generations used to say about me and my friends.
Show up to a few little league games, get a trophy. Even if you struck out every at bat and spent your time in the outfield picking dandelions…
They worried we were over-praised, coddled, never taught how to lose. As a perfectionist and teacher’s pet, I was not emotionally prepared for my first B in college. Nope. Cried hysterically.
But did I grow up to be an entitled brat? I don’t think I did.
Getting medals for 4th place in dance competitions didn’t feel the same as getting 1st.
I’m well aware it isn’t that impressive to just show up. It’s how you show up that matters.
So, it surprises me when I speak with a client or a fellow business owner who can’t stop comparing their marketing to someone else’s—usually, a competitor.
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If you want to grow an audience that wants what YOU have to offer, it’s simple. Don’t just show up, show up as YOU.
“Look at the number of followers they have on Instagram! And all they do is post their morning routine and outfit of the day!”
“I heard so-and-so has an email list with 20,000 subscribers! I can’t even read their emails—they’re so cloying and cutesy.”
They try to copy and paste what they see that competitor doing, and it never ever works. You need your own unique marketing approach.
Why? Because there’s a difference between employing best practices in your marketing and performing someone else’s strategy.
If you want to grow an audience that wants what YOU have to offer, it’s simple. Don’t just show up, show up as YOU. There are many things that make you unique, and you can put them all to use in your marketing.
Here are some places to start:
How’d you get into business in the first place? People love an origin story.
And no, you don’t have to be a recovering addict or share a traumatic childhood event to impress people with your backstory.
How did past experiences shape who you are and how you now approach your work? Was there ever a moment you realized with 100% certainty you were meant to do what you’re doing now? What skills did you acquire in past jobs that stand out as unique in your current industry? How did you become an expert?
It’s not enough to share these answers on your About page and call it a day. People remember with repetition. Where else can you insert your backstory in your marketing?
I’m obsessed with talking about superpowers. And I love a good personality quiz.
My Top 5 in the Strengths Finder test are: Strategic, Learner, Achiever, Competition and Activator. I’m an ENFJ on the Myers-Briggs. My primary communication style is something called “Warrior” (ask me about this one).
I often encourage my students to ask past clients they love and respect to name their best traits, because that’s how you start to see where you stand out as a service provider. (Most of mine say they appreciate my thoughtful, honest advice.)
How can you bring these strengths into the way you market what you do? Can you talk about them in your sales calls? Can you incorporate them into your web copy? A social media post? A blog post? 😉
Your Communication Style
I recently asked for advice on my About page (we revised it this year).
It’s long and contains more than a few asides or parentheticals. It’s not entirely work-focused. There’s not a lot of emphasis on calls to action.
The person I asked to review the page edited it down by half. She stripped out the parentheticals and moved all the “hire me” sections to the top of the page. It made logical sense to me why she suggested all these changes. So I paid my designer to implement them.
And then I changed it all back.
The problem was: once I instituted all those changes, I read the page aloud and it didn’t sound like me at all.
You should write the way you talk. If you’re a silly person, be silly. If you’re a serious person, be serious. If you’re a writer, go ahead and write long captions. If you’re not, record videos. Find a way to communicate that feels like you.
You can find countless ways to infuse your backstory, your strengths and your communication style to create a unique marketing approach.
Once you get the hang of it, the real trick is keeping it up.
Apply this lesson, and I’ll send you a trophy. Not really. That could get expensive… What about you get more clients instead of a trophy? How about that?
I strategize, consult and manage digital marketing and communications for small businesses and creative entrepreneurs. I’m based in Brooklyn, because I have a thing for exposed brick, cozy, local coffee shops and the can’t stop, won’t stop energy of New York.
Because I work with small companies, I get the chance to really know my clients – what makes them tick and how and why they should stand out in a crowded marketplace. A lot of my clients have a smaller staff, a limited budget and are already stretched thin for time. This leads us to tailor marketing strategies and solutions to each company’s unique needs and actual capacity.