You’re a professional. You have a superb business. You offer an excellent service. And you care passionately about your clients.
My question for you today my friend, is this: How clearly does that message come across in your marketing?
Greed, Need or Deed?
Think for a moment about the marketing messages you receive, from emails and social media updates, to advertisements, cold calls and direct mail, etc. Every marketing message is based on one of the following three motivations:
- Greed motivated: I want your money. Buy my stuff.
- Need motivated: I need you to buy from me because I’m in a tough financial situation. Please buy my stuff.
- Deed motivated: There’s something that I believe will help you, so I created it for you.
Greedy marketing repels people. Greed is one of those universally disliked attributes. It’s ugly. It’s selfish. We avoid greedy people and greedy businesses.
Needy marketing also repels people. We don’t dislike people because they’re needy. However, in business, as soon as the marketplace thinks a provider needs sales / money urgently, it sets alarm bells ringing. They worry that the provider may go broke. In either case, they’re way less likely to buy from them.
Deed driven marketing attracts people. A message of contribution makes us feel good about people. It’s an easy message to connect with. Deed driven marketing is about helping the community you serve. It attracts people’s attention, makes them feel good about you and and creates a powerful connection between you. Tip: I wrote something about this for you recently. Read this.
Here’s where the challenge comes in. Many small business owners who are deed focused, have no idea how greedy or needy their marketing looks. And it’s hurting their business.
Here’s what you need to know.
A couple of very common examples
One common example is the use of freebies, such as free initial consultations. These are widely used by service providers, who dabble with their marketing and have no idea how much damage they’re doing to their reputation.
When you attach zero value to your time, you send a toxic message to the marketplace. The marketplace knows that the best service providers can’t afford to give their time away. So, if they see a provider offering freebies, it tells them that the service provider is under-employed, getting too few referrals… or in need (needy). This keeps the service provider in a negative loop, as the best clients are repelled and the freebie hunters (those who never pay anyone for anything) are attracted like moths to a flame.
Another common example is special offers.
These can also come across as needy or greedy, when handled incorrectly. And that’s exactly how the vast majority of small business owners handle special offers. They put their offers together, outside of a professional marketing strategy. In doing so, they can cause the marketplace to think there’s a so-called fire sale going on. Equally, the DIY use of special offers can train your marketplace to wait for the next special offer… making it hard to sell anything at the regular price. This eats profits and it’s totally avoidable.
In short, it pays to be extremely intentional regarding how you market your business. Think of the image you’re creating and whether it’s consistent with the kind of business you want.
And if it isn’t, improve it.