Marketing Don'ts - the door to door salesman approach

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I'm still surprised that anyone sells anything by going door to door.  Once it was the only way to shop.  It promised innovation, a little treat for the bored housewife, even if it was only an ironing board cover.  It used to work because people lacked both information and choice.  Not anymore.

If your marketing is generic, (no idea who you're writing to), only showcases product features, (rather than highlighting customer benefits) and completely disjoined from your brand, (not in the same colours, fonts or imagery), then you're basically doing a door to door job. Your results will be down to luck and your efforts in the recycle bin without ever being read.

Given the time and energy it takes to produce marketing materials, can you really afford to live on hope?

Generic says "we don't know who you are and we don't care".  Product Features with no context show "it's all about us" and lack of attention to detail is really just laziness.  If you wouldn't be delighted to receive what you're about to post (whether off or online), don't send it.

Your customers are not unknowns waiting behind closed doors. They're yours to learn about, inform, educate and delight. They are at least as smart as you and face the same time/energy pressures, so stop thinking about them as 'them' and start thinking about them as 'you'.

I can hear you crumpling up that flyer.


Localisation for everyone. Speak your customers language.

Back in the humble beginnings of my career I worked with a software company.  My title was 'Localisation Coordinator' and that basically meant making sure that our products and communications, were in the right language for the purchasing customers we were trying to reach.

Decades on and while my job has changed, the underlying assumptions of that role still hold true. It's so tempting to jump on the social media bandwagon, fighting to produce content for LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Google+, Path, Pinterest etc. Ultimately, you only really need to use the tools that make sense to your target audience, or your ideas will be lost in the noise.

There was an excellent article in the Wall Street Journal this week which showed the following image.  Are you as surprised as I am at how much more time is spent on Facebook than anywhere else?

  1. Where are my target customers today? Do they favour Twitter over Facebook or are they all busy contributing to LinkedIn groups? If you're not sure ask them.
  2. Who do my target customers already trust? Identify the bloggers, publications, competitors, thought leaders and content providers that your potential customers are already following/bookmarking and generally influenced by? Look at their approach.  Make friends with them.  Be seen in their space.
  3. Which tools are the trusted advisors mentioned above, using
Like you, your customers only have 24 hours in each day.  Go where they already are and speak to them in a language they understand, if you want to be heard.


Should you be interested in Pinterest?

First there was privacy, or at least a degree of everyone minding their own business. Then came social media, subtly at first with things like friends reunited and then in a great rush of tools to make sure everyone knew everything about your world at the touch of a button. Now there is Pinterest, where pictures speak a thousand words, providing users with virtual pin boards to share their thoughts and ideas.

Although 'just' another social media tool, Pinterest primarily seems to be the new hangout of the creative community. Artists, foodies, photographers, designers, have all rushed to set up their boards and create a feast for the eyes. So if your business is one where visuals matter, it could be worth getting onboard.

Where should you start?

If you visit the Pinterest homepage you will see a big red button “Request an invite.” Click on that button, type in your email address, and soon, you’ll be ready to go.
  1. Create your profile by clicking your name in the top right hand corner. You can then “edit profile” and add your company logo as a picture, with a short summary of your business, and your location (make it easy for potential customers to know who you are and what you do)
  2. Click “Add” and then “Upload a Pin” to add photos from your website or browser. There's an iphone app too which lets you pin on the move
  3. You're ready to start pinning and creating your own boards, with names that create interest and ideally build your brand
  4. Be original in the pictures you post. Each image links back to the website it came from and the description you add to your visuals moves with the picture as its repinned (the main aim)
  5. Think of it as a virtual shop front and arrange your images like a narrative. Make it beautiful and dynamic and don't be afraid to add video as well as static imagery (youtube is a wealth of inspiration)
If you think Pinterest might work for your business then there's no harm in donating an hour investigating the possibilities. As always my advice would be to consider who your audience is and how they might respond to this medium before you put any real time or effort in. Shiny things have a habit of being distracting and my guess is that none of us have fully mastered facebook, twitter or linkedin yet.

There's no doubt that Pinterest has already become a household name in the US and it's only a matter of time before we're all pinning (I'm already hooked.  Find my boards at vlindsaymof3). Cameras at the ready ........


Lessons learned from building my website

1. Never get a puppy the week you're meant to go live. Would you rather stare at those eyes or the computer screen? Point made.

2. No matter how much of a business/marketing whizz you are, you can't beat a proper designer to help you curb your colour experimentation before it's live (you should have seen it before!).

3. Record (audio/visual or written) what you want to say about yourself and your business before you start to build content. Blank pages equal writers block, but having a clear outline of what's important for people to know, will shape whether you need 1 or 10 pages as well as how they appear. Planning is not as exciting as doing, but without it the doing takes a lot, lot longer.

4. Imagine your ideal visitor in as much detail as you can. What will they be looking for? What will turn them on/off in terms of design, tone and content? Build to their taste, not your own.

5. You don't know what you don't know until you start this process. On paper I should have nailed this in a week, in reality, it's taken months, but I've learned so much along the way that it's been worth all the angst.

6. It's not perfect, but isn't life always a work in progress? I'm already picking holes in my new site and driving the web folks mad with my daily questions, but I know this journey will help me to be a more informed voice for my clients and a more understanding critic for the future.

See the results at  All comments welcome, but be gentle and think of the puppy ........

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