There’s a very common mindset among small business owners. It’s the entitlement mindset. And almost NO small business owner is aware of it, until it’s explained to them. That’s what this post is about, along with lots of ideas for how to put things right.
What does the entitlement mindset look like?
The mindset tells the small business owner that they’re entitled to success. They think they can be average, yet still succeed. They believe they can just keep on doing the same ineffective stuff, and over time, things will “somehow” just improve.
It’s little wonder the vast majority of small business owners fail, and the vast majority that survive are going nowhere. Spinning their wheels. Waiting for the break they never earned, to arrive.
The wake-up call of our age is this: We’re not entitled to anything! We have to earn it. And that includes the attention of our prospective clients. They call it paying attention for a reason.
Remember when I shared this with you?
Your blog doesn’t have subscribers, your newsletter doesn’t have readers, your Facebook Group doesn’t have members, your podcast doesn’t have listeners and your Youtube channel doesn’t have viewers.
You don’t own anyone’s attention. It’s borrowed. You have to earn it. Then re-earn it.
As this blog approaches it’s 10th birthday, this is something I’m focusing on a great deal. If I decide to commit to an 11th year, I will also need to commit to digging deep, to find ways to re-earn your attention. Again and again. That means I need to be as useful as possible to you. Knowing that if I fail to be worthy of your attention, you’ll take your attention back.
In other words, your attention is not something I am entitled to.
Okay. [Imagine dramatic music in the background] Now the bad news!
The same is true of your marketing
Sorry. But if your marketing fails to offer something worthy of your prospective client’s attention, they’ll take it elsewhere. You only have their attention on loan. And if you lose their attention, you’ll also have lost the opportunity to do business with them. You can’t afford that. It’s low leverage. It’s unsustainable.
In short, once you’ve earned the attention of a prospective client, it makes way more sense to work on retaining it. This is how you build a spectacularly valuable communication channel with them.
So share ideas, stories and suggestions with your prospective clients, which THEY will find useful. 99.9% of small business marketing doesn’t do this. It’s self-serving, from the entitlement mindset. It doesn’t attract attention and it certainly doesn’t re-earn attention. It’s usually a dull series of thinly disguised sales pitches and special offers.
They think they are entitled to the attention of people, when in reality, they’re not entitled to shit!
A quick look at the way things were
Old school marketing was all about interrupting people. It was about sales pitches. It was about big brands paying fortunes to get their ad in front of you while you were trying to watch TV or listen to the radio. The huge problem with that model, was that you had to start from scratch every time. It was expensive. Really expensive. This put it beyond the reach of small businesses. However, it was the backbone of the highly lucrative advertising industry for over a century.
The advertising industry today is undergoing a huge change. Brands are embracing the value of earned attention. They’re shifting from demanding your attention, to commanding it. They’ve moved from pestering you, to sharing stories with you.
Read this» Demanding attention versus Commanding attention.
The anti entitlement mindset alternative
Focus on what matters to your prospective clients. Then, use your marketing to share useful ideas with them. Here are just a few suggestions.
- Show them how your product / service can save them money.
- Show them how your product / service can save them time.
- Show them how your product / service can help them attract more customers.
- Show them how your product / service can make their life easier, less stressful or both.
- Give them useful industry insights.
- Give them useful tips, which have worked for others in their industry (or situation).
This model turns your marketing into a valuable asset for your marketplace. Guess what? That’s the kind of marketing that people share and talk about. It’s the kind of marketing that builds trust and generates sales. It’s an anti-entitlement approach to marketing.
It’s also the kind of marketing you need to embrace.
Because pushing sales pitches at prospective clients, who are already suffering from information overload, is less and less effective.
And unlike the past, your prospective clients have technology today that lets them block you, filter you from their inbox or unsubscribe from you.
What about marketing to your existing clients?
You’re not entitled to the repeat business of an existing client or customer, either. You need to re-earn it, again and again. So a similar, them-focused approach is required. Only this time, create marketing that’s useful for your clients, which includes (but isn’t limited to) how to get more from your products or services.
Apple provides us with a world-class example of how to do this right. Their dedicated Apple Support YouTube channel doesn’t sell stuff. Instead, it adds value to the Apple products you already own. This makes you more inclined to stay with their brand.
Here’s why this works so well.
Let’s assume you’re an iPhone user. When you fully understand how your iPhone works, via those helpful videos, you’ll get more value from it. This makes it massively more likely your next tablet will be an iPad, (which uses the exact same operating system). And with an iPhone and iPad, the Apple Watch makes more sense than buying a different, less compatible brand.
Can you see what Apple are doing? They’re marketing to existing customers, sharing useful information, because they know they’re not entitled to the repeat business of their customers.
Apple are the most valuable company on the planet. However, unlike the average small business owner, Apple does not have an entitlement mindset.
Your business and mine share one thing in common, my friend. Neither of them are entitled to anything. It’s when we accept this reality, that our mindset to marketing shifts from entitlement to earned attention. And when that shift happens, it manifests itself with a totally different approach to marketing.
So get out there and contribute to your marketplace. Bring radical value. Be as useful as you can as often as you can. And take absolutely nothing for granted.