I normally prefer men with hair but I've spent a lot of time over the last two weeks snuggled up in bed with a man who's instantly recognizable by his balding pate: Seth Godin. We're both married to other people so it's quite innocent and I'd like to make this clear ~ it's not his body, wit or hairlessness I'm after, it's his ideas.
If you're into marketing, advertising, social media, blogging or business then you probably already worship the ground Seth Godin walks on, have read his books, follow his blog and tweet about it each time he writes a new blog post.
These are the Seth Godin books which have kept me up at night:
- Permission Marketing
- All Marketers are Liars
- The Guerilla Marketing Handbook (co-authored with Jay Levinson)
- Unleashing the Ideavirus
I particularly recommend All Marketers are Liars and Unleashing the Ideavirus. This is what I got out of.
3 Takeaways For Small Business Marketing From Seth Godin
Here are a few notes about what grabbed me most during my lengthy sessions between the covers with Mr. G. Make of it what you will, it's certainly given me lots to think about and I hope it will interest you too.
- No one wants to be sold anything but we all like to hear a good story. So stop selling things and start looking for the story behind your business and the products or services you offer.
- You don't get much time to tell a story if you do your business online, even if you don't actually have a store but use your blog or website to sell your products elsewhere or ply your services, you need to tell your unique story and you need to tell it fast.
- “The pieces of the story come together in an instant and the story is told. If the story is confusing or contradictory or impossible, the consumer panics and ignores it. But if the story is compelling and addresses basic desires like fear or power or acceptance, it might just be embraced.”
- Be authentic if you want people to listen to the story, believe it and, most powerfully repeat it.
2. First impressions count more than ever
- Our cave man ancestors' lives depended on our ability to make decisions fast we make decisions. To this day we all rely on making snap judgements to survive the constant onslaught of media and marketing.
- People believe the story they're told but make up their mind very quickly about what that story is. Your website and online branding needs to tell your story in a nanosecond. It needs to persuade people very quickly that you cater to their world view and fill their need. Once they've made up their mind it's very difficult to change that world view despite how things turn out. Good or bad,we believe that first impression no matter what.
- “The majority of job interviews are over in less than five minutes.” It doesn't stretch the imagination much to realise that most online ‘interviews' – someone coming to your website or blog to consider working with you – will last even less than five minutes. I believe the first five seconds are crucial and if people don't like what they see in that time or aren't sure what you have to offer them they won't come back.
- You never know where you customer will get their first glimpse of you. On video? Online? Twitter? Facebook? In a blog post? A newspaper article? But every mention of you or your business needs to tell the same story to avoid confusion. Consistency is crucial.
3. Word of Mouse
- Anyone who's been in business a year or more knows that the most powerful form of marketing is word of mouth. Nothing sells your company better to Jo Doe than a friend or colleague recommending your business. But word of mouse is even more powerful than word of mouth because word of mouse – sharing ideas online via email, Twitter, Facebook or other social networking sites – is spread faster and to more people.
- Where word of mouth dies out eventually, word of mouse has more staying power. Word of mouth's slower and gradually dies out but with word of mouse you can reach many more people – hundreds, thousands or more – so instead of slowing the message grows.
- People support their snap judgements by telling other people.
That's it folks. No ‘how to', '10 reasons' or ‘who want to…?' lessons today. Just some thinking points and time to give thanks to Seth Godin. Thanks Mr. G, you were great!
How can you change your business or website to make the most from these findings?
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Photo credit: Joi