The vast majority of business owners eat, breathe and sleep work.  You know your product.  You know your industry.  You have great relationships with your clients; even prospective business; BUT business isn’t as boom-boom-boom as it could be.  
Insert question marks here…  Sometimes even the odd exclamation mark for frustration’s sake.

You spend all your time on your business, client relationships, communications.  You’re investing a lot in your marketing to spread awareness and build a reputation.  Where’s the conversion?  Where’s the new business?  Where’s the Twitter following?  Where are the likes on Facebook?

Know.  Like.  Trust.

No matter how big and experienced you may be, a lot of people don’t know about the X-Factor of communication - that recent Chanel ad featuring Brad Pitt is a great example (making it to the ‘Business Insider’s 10 Worst Ads of 2012’ list).  Before you sell anything, you need to get known, you need to be liked and you need to be trusted.

How?

Clarity.  Be clear and speak to the people you need to be speaking to – your target market.  Despite being Chanel’s target, Brad Pitt wasn’t speaking to me in that ad.  I don’t even know what he was talking about or what he might have been trying to say.  In fact, I’d go so far to say that I’m not even sure how I feel about him anymore after having seen him in that ad.  Your target market is not the world, so don’t speak to everyone.  Profile your target market.  Is it mums who don’t have a lot of spare time that need concise, helpful information?  Is it CEOs that should be addressed with the respect they’ve earned to be where they are?  Position your content specifically to your target to develop a clear, well-received message.

Repetition.  Just as it takes 28 days to create a habit, a one-time communication is not going to get you results.  Don’t bombard your target market by emailing them links to your latest campaign every day for a week, but create a channel that positions you as the helpful, respectable option for their requirements.  A blog is a great way to do this.  Frequent and relevant updates will help to build awareness, a following and trust.

Authenticity.  Don’t commit to capabilities beyond what you can offer.  Be clear on what you can deliver and how well you can deliver it.  Endorsements and ambassadors are a great way to do this – and are great to tap into the markets associated with them.

Niceties.  Someone once discredited me with “being nice is a sign of weakness”.  It’s amusing when we look at where he is now versus where I am.  Don’t bitch or badmouth people.  Be helpful, responsive and generous with your time and attention.

Interaction.  Everyone loves their 5 minutes of fame and contributing their 2-bob’s worth.  Open the forum for two-way communication with your clients through the likes of social media or your blog.  Essentially you’re developing relationships.

Relevance.  Back to that Chanel ad…  “It’s not a journey.  Every journey ends but we go on.  The world turns and we turn with it.  Plans disappear.  Dreams take over.”  Even with my creatively interpretive mind I have difficulty drawing any parallels between this dialogue and a scent.  The delivery is equally as confusing.  Is Brad happy?  Is he sad?  Does he make me want to buy the product?

Credibility.  The proof’s in the pudding when your happy clients offer compliments testament to their dealings with you.  They also pave the way for a different dimension.  The “word of mouth” dimension.

Reassurance.  If you’re as sure of your product as the sky is blue, try the use of a ‘guarantee’ about your product or service.  The word itself does half the work for you with its meaning and strong, positive associations.

These factors singularly won’t get you known, liked or trusted.  The secret is commitment, blood, sweat tears and combination.  Be real.  In a world full of fake it will cut through the clutter.

- Sofia Margelis
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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.

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