As 2021 draws to a close, it is important to reflect on a lot of things that has happened in the year and decide what values you wish to carry with you into the next.
I decided to sit down and write out my 4 Marketing Rules that I currently live and work by in hopes that you will find one or more that resonate with you.
As life moves on, these rules may change or new ones may be added. But, I think this is a very solid list that I pride myself on following.
Marketing Rule #1: Don’t Lie
This is the most important rule. It seems straightforward, but you may be surprised how often businesses and marketers lie to the public and to their customers.
Sometimes, it’s innocent or accidental, but as a marketer, having worked for various companies, I can tell you that it happens more intentionally than it should.
Here are a few ways companies lie to their customers.
Saying you will do something and not do it
“Sign up for our newsletter and you will receive valuable information every day that will help you do X”
A lot of times, marketers get over excited at the idea of doing something great that they don’t think through all the logistics and work involved.
Sure, you may get 1 or two of those emails, but then it quickly becomes forgotten and you stop sending them.
Of course, you can absolutely stop for a short time if you are overwhelmed and short staffed. Because life does happen. Just remember to inform people of the change to what you promised.
“Dear valued subscribers, I will be away over the next two weeks learning great and wonderful things that I will be excited to share with you. I will not be sending out as many communications during this time.” This is a line that you can add to the bottom of your last communication to keep people in the know as to what is going on.
But, if you promise to do something, do it. No exceptions. This means you need to think through the promise and all the logistics before making it.
Don’t Bait and Switch
In the age of webinars and ebooks, this happens a lot. You are promised a hassle free experience to get some information that will help you do X.
Great! Sign me up.
Then once you get onto the Webinar, it’s not helpful at all. Instead, it’s an advertisement for their new product. There is no helpful information presented.
This has the effect of annoying those who in good faith signed up and tarnishes your reputation for the sake a one or two potential customers.
If you make an offer, stick to it. Don’t switch it up on people.
Eliminate “Fine Print” Thinking
Who reads the terms and conditions of anything these days? Right. No one.
Just because you put a notice in the fine print does not mean you should. Yes, there are legal reasons for putting fine print into an agreement, but for most marketing efforts, fine print is not necessary.
It happens to everyone one. “By signing up for X, you agree that we can sell your personal information to 3rd party service providers.”
If it doesn’t, take a look at your emails that you never really look at, and ask yourself “Did I ever sign up for this?”
My guess is you didn’t. You may have made a purchase, signed up for a newsletter or something else, but there in the fine print was probably a clause that gave them the right to sell your information.
In short, don’t hide what you are going to do. If you have to say “you gave us permission as it was in the terms and conditions”, you are doing your customers a disservice.
Marketing Rule #2: Don’t Create A False Need
This is a hard rule as it is typically what marketers do.
But the key difference is intentionality. Do you intend to create a false need in customers whereby they look at your marketing and say “wow, my life can be so much better because of X”…when they never had that need in the first place.
Infomercials were great at this. How many products did we get excited about that we didn’t even need or want?
The key rule is to not use marketing as a way to justify creating a product or service.
Remember to create a product or service that solves a particular problem. Do not create a false problem to justify your product or service.
Marketing Rule #3: Don’t Try To Please Everybody
“If you try to please everybody, you’ll end up pleasing no one.” – Ricky Gerais
You need to find your niche. Your core customers. You need to define who you are and what you stand for.
Then find customers who match those things.
If you do, you have the opportunity to create a rich and vibrant community around your small business. And that community will be proud to give you their money for years to come.
Marketing Rule #4: Define Your Own Success
As people have resolutions around the new year, it is important to take stock of your success and define what success really looks like for you.
Ignore Everyone Else
Stop. Stop. Stop.
Are you on your own path or someone else’s? Stop and think, “Am I chasing my dream or someone else’s?
Stop looking around at what other people are doing and decide for yourself, what is your definition of success?
Market your business, Product or Service towards that goal
Once you define your success, market your product or service towards it. Ignore what everyone else is doing.
Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t necessarily mean that you should too.
Define your success and find your own path.
It is very easy to get lost in the whirlwind of everyday tasks and duties. But, it is very important to set aside some time and focus on the why of your business and marketing efforts.
What are your rules that you try to follow? How do you want to be thought of by the public and your customers?
Once you have handle on this, it makes it easier for you to plan your marketing, decide your tone of voice, and set a course that will take you to where you want to go.
What are some of the marketing rules you work by?