You can read a lot these days about “who are the millennials” or “what is the new marketing” and “what kind of content people enjoy on the web”, basically what language should we use online to be read and appreciated.
Reading a lot of these blog posts, status, messages, newsletters, there is only one thing that seems to stand out and it is a simple general life rule:
Who wouldn’t be honest, you may ask? I don’t mean people lie (some do) but it is about being authentic, real, true to yourself. The way to speak to millennials, to appeal to modern online users, to convince is just to stop painting over to hide flaws and start showing the beauty of things as they are.
This sounds extremely cheesy but I’m here to tell you: no one will trust an obviously photoshopped image anymore. Of course, those who master the job know how to photoshop a picture to make it look authentic but just consider this: being in such a virtual world, we all look for a real human behind every message and website. Be that human and you’ll stand out.
You get the philosophy behind what I’m saying and you probably already think of one or two examples of things you read on the web and liked that align with this idea but now to the real question: How can you be yourself while marketing online?
Read a lot about the DOs and DON’Ts and then forget them all
I spend at least two hours a week (and it’s been more than two years) reading articles, comments, posts, watching videos, listening to podcasts just to know what online marketing is nowadays. If you do the same, you probably saw that there are rules, ways to communicate known to be successful, recipes leading to success, etc.
I wouldn’t say I know it all but I have a pretty good grip. However, I never try to stick to it. I don’t follow the manual, I read it and trust that I got enough out of it to naturally adapt my personal work to fit the general rules;
Now, that’s my experience and you may consider I’m not the First example of online marketing success: I don’t either. I do however consider the feedback I get from people reading me is the best I could ever wish for: a personal feeling.
I received an email that totally made my day a few weeks back. It was an answer to a newsletter I send from time to time and here is an excerpt:
“I am not accustomed to getting Emails of a business-nature with such personal, inspiring and life-drenched words.”
I almost cried reading this, I could never hope for a better feedback, it was amazing. I also had StreetLibers sending me pictures of their trips, their home, their adventures: why is that great for me? Because we have a human relationship and it is all I ever asked for. Actually, it’s all we are working for at StreetLib and I know our Care team especially is doing an awesome job.
In the same token, I keep recommending Basecamp to people because not only do I find the product useful but I had a couple of exchange with their support staff and loved it just because every message was so personal and real. One of them reacted to a movie reference I made, another one commented on the weather he had where he works: those are powerful marketing moves. Truly.
Why being honest and personal is important and, more specifically, is good marketing? It gets back to the core of what marketing is (or should be):
- You have a product/book/idea you believe in
- You think some people would enjoy this product/book/idea
- Find these people
- Talk to them so that they get to know the said product/book/idea
The last point of this list is marketing. The best chance you have to actually market your book is for people to believe that you followed the previous points to find them. If they see you truly believe in your book and you ascertained that they are among the people that will enjoy it, there is no reason they wouldn’t believe in your book too. (You can read a bit more about the core of what marketing is here.)
The way for them to see this is to trust you and realize that you’re genuine when you contact them. So, actually do the job of finding the right audience and then show them you trust your book will be a great read for them and you’ll be fine.
If you have questions or comments, don’t hesitate to react here in the comments or to contact me if you’d rather exchange privately.