You’re Consistent, But Do You Care? What Small Business Can Learn from Influence Marketers

To better serve my clients, my primary role is to stay abreast of the consumer landscape. When I’m not working for a client I read, observe, and research. And I’ve a few observations; maybe you’ve noticed them too. In this digital era, it’s not what customers want, by means of products and services, that is changing – it’s how they want it.

As an entrepreneur, you’re a marketer – no matter your industry. Marketing lies at the core of your existence and survival in everything you do. Your survival isn’t solely about how many widgets you sell. Because a sale today does not equate to a sale tomorrow unless you can key in on what got you the sale in the first place.

There’s plenty of competition in the marketplace. But that has not stopped many from earning their slice of the pie. Before I go on, I’d like to make a point.

It does not matter how big of a slice you earn. I believe that one of the main barriers for many entrepreneurs is their perspective on success and impact. When we start comparing the statistics on our industry, as a whole, to our share of it we become overwhelmed – feeling as though we aren’t doing anything. Don’t buy into it. It’s discouraging to you and dishonoring to the audience that you serve. My mother used to say, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” In other words, it is better to have one than to attempt to grab two and risk losing all three. Have you ever tried to grab a bird? Let that sink in.

The key to growth – whatever growth means to you – is not only consistency. Yes, you must consistently show up and do the work every day. Consistency is necessary for marketing and advertising. But, do you care? Or more specifically, what do you care about?

Is it revenue, making the sale? Is it delivering your best product or service? Do you care about providing the best value to your customer, sale or not? Your customer can tell.

Sleazy sales is dead. The cunning are still able to make it work here and there, but with a click of the mouse and keyboard or a swipe of the mobile device, the customer exposes the sleight of hand. Move on, there’s nothing to see here.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been observing influencer marketing. It’s not a new concept, hence the use of celebrities and sports figures in TV and print advertisements. But, this means of marketing and advertising has been steadily shifting the branding and marketing landscape over the past 5 years. But, I’m mostly talking about micro influencers. I’m not talking about those who are in it simply for the payday; they’re easy to spot, just like the sleazy salesperson. I’ve been observing those who I follow who have consistently grown in their influence and those who I’ve just recently followed.

You know them – you follow them on Instagram, read their blog, and subscribe to their YouTube channel. They talk about and share content that match your interests. You find it easy to relate to them – their lifestyle and personality – almost like a friend. And so when they tell you about a product or service, you listen and you may even buy. I’ve done it. You’ve done it.

They have what businesses need – the trust and attention of the target audience. And they do what businesses have a difficult time doing – engage with the target audience in a consistently caring way.

Small businesses can learn a lot about marketing from influencers. It is easy to get so caught up in our goals and what we do, that we can lose focus on why we do it and who we do it for. If our primary focus is why we do what we do for whomever we do it for, we won’t have to worry about the sale. Sales will take care of themselves.

Consistently caring about the customer is the foundation to longevity and success. The customer whose needs are met, feels good about bringing a friend. They have come to trust you through their experience with you and so they can trust their reputation is safe in your hands. When you expect a customer to tell their friends about your business, you’re actually asking them to put their reputation on the line for you. Can they trust you with that?

Recently, I’ve read articles that argue the point that customers aren’t interested in a relationship with your brand. They make some good points that I agree with, but I believe that some of the myths tackled are surface-level assumptions. Customers don’t want a “take-you-home-to-meet-the-family” relationship, that’s crazy-talk, right? But, when I refer a product or service to a friend or family member, isn’t that what I’m doing?

We’re not talking about the “I like you, do you like me” relationship dynamic. It’s more of an exchange. The brand gives what the consumer needs and the consumer reciprocates. Isn’t this relationship? No relationship is one-way and they cannot be measured in terms of subjective “perceived value” of who is getting the most out of it. It’s deeper than that. Trust is deeper than that.

Prove it. Review your marketing. What does it sale? Is the focus you? Or is it your customer? Is it thoughtful, interesting, engaging? What has the engagement been like, just a few likes from people you know? Are you gaining and maintaining the attention of those you serve? Before you you’re your next post ask yourself “Why should they give their attention to this?” Take a long hard look and adjust. Your audience will thank you for it.

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