Today, something I rarely do…
I’m answering two mostly unrelated questions in one email. They’re related, only insomuch as they arrived in my inbox in a single email. Otherwise, not so much.
But I think both can be answered relatively quickly, so I’m diving headfirst into it…
Two marketing questions:
1) Question: Can you provide any key insights about devising and delivering effective attraction marketing methods?
2) I am not overly excited about plastering my persona / face out there for everyone to see. Question: Do you know of any brands that do a great job without exposing the person behind it?
Your honest thoughts please.
Answering the first question: the key to attraction marketing…
What the heck is “attraction marketing?”
If your answer is “lipstick on a pig,” you’re right!
Okay, I jest. A little.
But here’s the thing: It’s really freaking easy to sell salespeople the concept of “selling without selling,” and it’s really freaking easy to sell marketers the concept of “marketing without marketing.”
Most people are freaking wimps when it comes to actually putting propositions out in the marketplace. (Including, occasionally, yours truly.)
Here’s the thing: humans HATE rejection.
We equate rejection (in sales, relationships, or wherever else) with shame, failure, and loss.
We worry that if someone says no, it means that we’re not good enough. That we’re a failure. A sham. A total loser.
And so we’re willing to spend all sorts of exorbitant sums of money on the latest whiz-bang program that will let us get out of the act of selling, while still getting the benefit of selling.
Are you with me here?
So: here’s how this applies to “attraction marketing.”
The idea of attraction marketing — like wimpy content marketing — like wimpy SEO — like a million other marketing concepts before them — is that you’re going to put out a bunch of content, following some guidelines, and you’re going to bring people in the door.
You set up a system to convert them once they’re there, and you never really have to do any selling.
Even the gurus teaching it don’t use it.
Well, they do, and they don’t.
They do, because it’s usually a small part of what they’re doing. But it’s like salt on their dinner. It’s a nice added touch, but it’s not what’s sustaining them.
Ultimately, ALL online marketing (and offline marketing, and selling in general) comes down to:
How to get yourself in front of as many people as possible? How do you get as many of them as possible to take you up on your offer? And how do you structure everything so you get a strong ROI?
Attraction marketing promises really cheap traffic, so your economics are better. If your conversions are good, maybe you can be profitable.
BUT, you fall into the same trap as all other “free” traffic sources…
You’re usually paying with a ton of time invested, and you have little control over scaling it.
You’re much better off learning how to create a system that lets you BUY traffic (in a scalable way), converts that traffic, and earns you a profit within a reasonable time window.
Now here’s what I’m guessing is true of any ETHICAL guru who sells “attraction marketing” methods…
FIRST, at least somewhere in their business (the most important part), they’re doing what I just recommended and buying traffic.
SECOND, even though they exploit your laziness in their sales message and teach you how to “attract” leads and customers, they actually teach you, somewhere in that program, how to buy traffic at a profit.
THIRD, it’s likely that the people who buy their programs for the “attract” part end up as miserable failures (as they will with the next course, and the next course, and the next course), and those who actually follow the full approach and achieve success are fewer and further between than you might think.
What happens to the winners? Well, they go out, implement everything, and all the customers they get through a more complete advertising system AND who have a great customer experience end up chatting about them on social media and elsewhere, and they “attract” a lot of other people in more organic ways.
So: Attraction marketing?
Basically the secret is to do really interesting things that people care about and find remarkable (as in, worth remarking about), create effective systems to get buyers for your products and services, and grow both through active acquisition and more passive “attraction” of additional customers.
Answering the second question: can you build a “faceless” brand today?
For most of the late 20th Century, we all bought from companies.
It was the sweet spot of mass media.
Before mass media got really massive, companies were smaller, and you often had a relationship of sorts with the faces of the store, the shop, the supplier, etc. Or, at the very least, had a relationship with the person representing it.
Then, radio, TV, and other mass broadcast media changed it all. Products were shown with their happy users, a logo was splashed on screen, and you developed a “brand” preference.
And yet, even that wasn’t what it seemed.
Because the advertisers who measured the effectiveness of every penny spent on marketing and advertising still consistently found one thing to be true:
LETTERS OUT-PULLED BROCHURES.
That is, all else being equal, a “personal” letter promoting your offer was more effective than a “brand” communication piece such as a brochure.
Even the big direct mailers that would eventually straddle the line with “magalogs” that looked more like a magazine would include personal notes in the front, much like a “letter from the editor” that would pre-pitch the offer and establish a person as the voice of the brand.
Today, the ability to scale through media is faster and more powerful than ever before, and yet, we’re seeing the tides shift back to the pre-mass-media days.
That is, people still want to buy from people.
They don’t want to buy from faceless corporations.
They want to connect with the face of the brand. They want to know that there’s a person like them, a real person, that they can feel connected to.
And so CEOs are becoming celebrities, brands are being given faces again, and many companies that want to achieve success are actually releasing personality-driven content in every corner of their media presence (including the sales messages).
So the question then becomes: What do you do if you are unwilling to be the face of the brand?
- I have a friend who felt very much the same way you did. He didn’t want his face seen on marketing materials. He didn’t want his name in public. Eventually, he found that if he wanted to actually build his company (which offers marketing services), he had no choice. People wanted to know, like, and trust HIM to do business with his company. So he pivoted, and seems very happy with the decision.
- Work with someone who is willing to be the face of the brand. Perhaps you would find a business partner who is more outgoing and more comfortable being “seen” in public. If they’re a good salesperson for the brand, you can trust them to do that while you fill more behind-the-scenes roles. This can even include doing a lot of ghostwriting for them, and helping them assemble their messaging. Other alternatives include celebrities, public-facing employees, and so on.
- You can also create a “Mr. X” brand. There are examples from certain industries that work well here. It’s especially relevant if you have a complementary message. So if you’re in a privacy-related industry, where your buyers will embrace your desire for privacy, it may actually help. However, this is very hard to pull off, could damage trust if it’s not 100% congruent, and you WILL eventually be found out if you grow a big enough company.
No matter what, you should infuse your message with PERSONALITY, no matter what “face” you put on it.
And really, for the most part, I’d lean toward just accepting that if you want to be successful in business, you become a public figure by the very nature of what you’re choosing to do. You’re better off embracing it and shaping it in a way that works for you than you are trying to fight this reality.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,