In today’s hyper-connected world, there is an abundance of great opportunities to develop our personal brands and even start our own businesses. So, why does the mere term “marketing” generate stress for so many people?
Contrary to popular belief, marketing is really not that complicated, and you don’t have to be an “expert” to get good at it. What is the hang-up? Well, more often than not, many of us forget that there is more to marketing than just promoting ourselves and our products and services. Let’s take some time to think about the four best questions to ask when developing a brand. From there, figuring out the right sales and promotional funnels becomes much easier.
Question #1: Have I developed a quality product?
At the root of any promotional offer is a quality, or not-so-quality, product or service. Quality products are created to offer a true value or solution to a customer’s needs. All too often, I hear people speak of “the book I want to write,” “the product I want to market,” or “the program I want to develop,” in order to build an audience. Yet upon asking some of these very same people about the details, they don’t have many answers. In other words, they don’t really know what they want to build or create just yet, and have simply fixated on the idea that they have to market something in order to generate awareness for their brand, and ultimately, drive revenue.
Why on earth would any customer want to spend time or money on a product or service that serves no other purpose than to promote itself? Yet so many brands do just that, only to wonder why they aren’t building a loyal following of paying customers. It’s worth it to take the time to ensure you are creating a quality product first.
Question #2: Does my passion for what I’m doing precede my desire to get rich?
Most of us have a keen radar for “get rich quick” schemes, and it always dings when a promotional offer is backed more by someone’s desire to make a quick buck than their genuine passion. Ironically, it’s often the people who lack true passion for what they are doing who feel stuck and awkward when it comes to sales and marketing. On the flip side, when we have taken the time to cultivate a passion for whatever we are selling, we also have a natural tendency to want to talk about it. Passion transforms the sales pitch into a quality conversation, at which point, our sales and promotional ideas become clear, abundant, and obvious.
Question #3: How excited am I about the customer experience?
So, how do we know if we are truly passionate about the service, product, or content we are creating? Many years back, after a visit to Europe, I thought it would be a great idea to introduce delicious Turkish cuisine to my own city with a food truck. I thought to myself, “Wow — this food is so popular all over Europe, and it is so delicious and inexpensive, so surely everyone in Denver will go crazy for this stuff!”
And then I really got to thinking about it. Was this really a life I was excited about? Was I really prepared to do whatever it takes to learn how to cook amazing Turkish food? Was I excited about the actual process of delivering my concept to people? Since my answers to these questions were … no … no, and um, let’s see here … no, I quickly got my head out of the gutter of “passionless promotion,” and spared myself a lot of time, energy, and money.
Question #4: How dedicated am I to becoming an expert in my field?
How interested are we about getting ourselves out in the front lines of our fields, in order to hone our skills and offerings with complete dedication? The best way to start building a loyal client base is to start working with people right away, even while your ideas are still in development mode. And, there’s no need to pretend that you are further along than you really are.
Give yourself and potential customers a little space to test, sample, play with, and question your products and services before you set them in stone. Taking the time to practice and test ideas will not only make your products better, it will also help you gain the first conversations with your first loyal customers.
So, remember that a product you’re passionate about will make marketing easy! For sales and marketing to become effortless and straightforward, as they were intended, then it’s important to focus on developing a great product or service before trying to figure out how to promote it. After all, great products sell themselves — period.
Nina Cashman is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.