Talking about ourselves too much is always a risky approach. However, from a B2B perspective maybe we need to be talking about ourselves more, and here’s why:
If people that you’ve identified as being in your target audience aren’t signing up to what you create, not engaging with, or showing any commitment to you, it could be because they can’t see how you’re relevant to them, where they fit into your world view.
So how do you close the distance between you and them?
By sharing what you’ve done and how you help in a more relatable way.
This article is about showing what can be achieved when you show you understand your audience, positioning yourself as someone helpful, worth listening to, yet very much, one of them.
Why People Won’t Join In With You
The narratives you create around your business have to resonate with your audience.
People will not subscribe, in the fullest meaning of the word, when your content:
– Fails to create a personal connection with them, for instance, when you resort to abstract theory that makes the simple sound complicated
– Promotes an ideal that’s difficult to achieve and a world away from the reality of their lives. Hubspot says you should be producing 16+ blog posts per month. Interested in that one? No? I thought not…
– You speak from a didactic, “I know best” vantage point, making your audience feel like they’re back at school. Lacking the human, lived experience, this is work that all too often regurgitates second-hand content.
– Falls into the “me-too,” category, where you’re jumping on a bandwagon or trend, posting about something because everyone else is. Play to your strengths otherwise it’ll be become all too clear, all too quickly that for, say, technical and tactical expertise, people can get better elsewhere.
Resonating Opens Up Possibility
When you recount your own lived experiences in a way that resonates with your audience, you can position those experiences so they relate directly to your business purpose, specific goals you’re pursuing or a wider cause you’re promoting.
The authentic, real world pictures you paint by talking about your experiences are crucial in communicating what is possible and what your audience themselves can achieve by following or adapting your example, or hiring your services.
It’s something I’ve been leaning into these last few months. It works like this for me:
PAINTING A PICTURE – Using everyday experiences
MATCHING IT (that picture) TO YOUR CAUSE – Reinforcing others to build their loyal audience (via the content they create)
Let me share some recent examples:
1) What I took from this year’s You Are The Media Conference (about bringing people together) took the form of:
PAINTING A PICTURE – A conference creates a sense of occasion and an opportunity to meet people and develop relationships in real life
MATCHING TO A CAUSE – Fosters a sense of belonging and makes those attending feel less isolated.
2) Why I had to create a focus group to see if an idea was right (about continual evaluation)
PAINTING A PICTURE – Sometimes you need to reach out to people and ask for help
MATCHING TO A CAUSE – The value of community. When you’ve built a community, it becomes easier to ask for help/feedback.
3) I deleted my entire You Are The Media database in July (about knowing who is with you)
PAINTING A PICTURE – Finding yourself in a situation where you’ve deleted your email database and can’t get it back.
MATCHING TO A CAUSE – When you’re consistent in your presence and engaged with your audience, you know who you’re connected to and that’s a very powerful thing.
4) How a story about Crazy Golf demonstrates the power and influence of a community rather than an individual.
PAINTING A PICTURE – The local council approached the YATM community offering a free round of crazy golf in return for them sharing the fun they had on social media
MATCHING TO A CAUSE – Influencer marketing is on the wane, people are far more likely to trust everyday people like them.
What About You?
When you share your everyday experiences and show how they tie in to meaning, you reinforce your messages in a highly relatable way.
All too often big-brand examples or theories are just too distant from life as it is lived.
People seek out stories they can relate to. They’re the ones that show them what’s possible, what’s within their reach and make them feel that they too can, for e.g. join your community, employ the approach you use or know that what you offer will be the right fit for them.
Becoming aware of the power of your everyday experiences and recounting these in an authentic way will:
– Help you find your people, the ones who will engage with, subscribe to or buy from you
– Present what you do in a genuinely helpful, relatable way
– Convey a very real sense of what your audience’s future could look like
– Foster a sense of community and belonging among your audience
– Reinforce their loyalty to you
– Build your credibility and the unique (there’s only one of you) position you occupy in the marketplace
All the above can be wrapped up into one over arching idea where you’re sharing the essence of what you stand for and what you sell.
Ditch The Poker-Face
Too many businesses choose to keep their cards close to their chests. All they can muster is product-based messages of benefits and bespoke service that have become clichéd. It’s the sort of weak marketing that may well see them fold.
Those who are ready to reveal more, share their highs, lows and in-betweens, and translate those into valuable learnings that communicate what is possible – sit at the sweet spot of audience and loyalty-building.
Let’s Round Up
Mine your everyday experiences – they already offer plenty of opportunities for painting pictures that relate back to what you stand for.
It’s good to remember that great marketing is rarely complicated.
In a world where all too many businesses window-dress their marketing with fake, for-the-sake-of-it purpose, using the power of your real-life stories is a far more effective path towards creating a loyal audience, building a real sense of community and yes, selling more of what you do.