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You might think I’m crazy but one of the basics I teach about digital marketing is that it’s like dating. In fact, marketing in general is like dating, right? When you’re marketing just about anything, don’t expect to score your first ad or promotion. You know that it takes many interactions, many times to see you or your product or service before buyers are ready to buy.
It’s the same with digital marketing, more than that.
Some marketers treat digital marketing like a single pick-up bar. They show up with lots of flash, great chatter, and promises. Their goal is to achieve a quick result, and they may get it. But after a quick hop in the bag, their customer won’t be around when the morning comes. They will have to do the whole dog and pony show again the next night.
This is not the type of dating strategy you need to use in your digital marketing!
I’m talking about the type of dating where you end up in a great relationship. In this type of dating, you take it slower. You have to get to know each other. You are showing that you care about the other person and their wants and needs. You let them know who you are so they can learn to trust you. You treat them well before you ask for anything, and especially before you ask them to jump in the bag with you!
What does that mean exactly?
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focus on them
Your digital marketing should focus on them, not you. Have you ever been on a date where the other person is constantly talking about themselves? They’re trying to convince you how awesome they are but all you think about is, get me out of here!
Instead, digital marketing — your ads, social media posts, blogs, etc. — needs to be focused on. He needs to talk about their pain points and desires. You have to show that you really see who they are and what they are worried about.
Also, instead of telling them how great you are, show them. Aren’t you more a fan of a date who shows how amazing they are with what they do and how they treat you?
Remember the old days when your date would bring flowers on the first date? I don’t think that happens very often these days, but wouldn’t it feel great if they brought you a small gift while asking for nothing in return? Something they know you love or need? Wouldn’t you feel good about them and like you, want to reciprocate in some way?
In the digital marketing I teach to my students, this is exactly the strategy we use: service, not sell. I teach my students to give away their valuable information and knowledge for free. Teach them to post videos that help solve problems or problems of their potential customers. I teach them to make blogs and posts that their potential clients can use to help improve their lives in some way. And I teach them to do it constantly and consistently so that the customer or customer is not only willing to buy, but eager to buy from them.
One of the scariest things about online dating is that people can be so fake! They’re posting pictures that are five – or 20 – years old! They lie about their income, interests, credentials, and even marital status! Although online dating is very popular and can be a great way to meet people, the way in which it is misused by many has made many people approach online dating with skepticism.
Digital marketing can be the same. Too many digital marketers are trying to be clever, and their posts can be completely misleading with big promises they can’t really deliver. But that’s not what people are looking for. They are searching for the truth. They are looking for fidelity. They are looking for human contact. And while it seems difficult to express all this online, I teach my students that they have to be real and let their sincerity and humanity show in all of their digital marketing.
How many boring dates have you had? Do they make you want to come back for more? Heck, no! Maybe the history of the derby or the history of the art fair would be interesting to someone else, but it wasn’t for you. Or maybe your all-night appointment talked about her working as a liposuction technician. This might be cool for some people, but you can’t be bothered about it too much.
Being entertaining in digital marketing isn’t just about clever graphics or clever writing. People are entertained when they care about what you have to offer. They are entertained if they find it interesting or educational. It’s a topic that they want to learn about or that’s great for them. This leads me to the next point which is…
know who you’re dating
Have you ever gone out with someone who doesn’t even know who you are? Talk about people you don’t know (and don’t care about) or events that mean nothing to you. They spoke to you lightly or over your head. They take you to places that everyone loves instead of a private place that you enjoy.
Unfortunately, the same thing happens in digital marketing. Marketers know that they need to focus to reach a specific target market or niche in their other marketing efforts. But somehow, when they go online, they go crazy! They are spreading their efforts everywhere thinking to cast a wider net.
To be effective in digital marketing, you have to maintain this narrow focus and address your target market, not everyone. Connecting to the Internet automatically makes your narrow network wider. But by trying to reach everyone, you end up calling no one. It is a waste of your time and energy and definitely a waste of your digital marketing money.
Take it step by step
In dating, you take it in stride. You don’t take them home to meet the parents or ask them to marry you on the first date, right? You might start with a coffee date to see if you’re interested in moving on. You might go see a movie or go dancing on another date. Every history builds on the past. They get to know each other before you ask or make any kind of commitment.
Digital marketing is the same. I teach my students a basic three-step process:
- Give them something as valuable as an informational video without asking for anything in return.
- If they respond to this video, offer them something else they can get by clicking on a link.
- If they interact with the second offer, offer them something a little bigger, perhaps a webinar. This time, she asks them for their contact information. And once you have their contact information, you can take them through your sales funnel.
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In the dating world, how many of us find that the first person we ever go out with is the one? It rarely happens, doesn’t it? Usually, you have to go out on a number of appointments. You may make some mistakes along the way. You may feel like you’re turning your wheels, spending your time, energy, and money dating without getting the results you really want. It can be frustrating. But if you’re really serious about finding someone in the long run, you’ll keep going. You don’t just dip your toe, then give up and sit back and understand.
Digital marketing is no different. When you first start it up, it may seem like nothing happened. It may take a few months of being consistent and persistent until you see results. It takes some strategy, like showing you where your target market is and making sure they see something from you at least once a week (more is much better). It requires tracking what works and tweaking what doesn’t.
So, I invite you to treat your digital marketing as if you were dating to create a lasting relationship. And if you do, I know you’ll start reaping all the benefits digital marketing can bring to you and your business.
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