How Making Your Customer the Hero Helps You Win at Marketing

May 15, 2019 No Comments

It’s no secret that success in business is directly connected to the relationships we build. These relationships are sparked by a curiosity of learning about the other person and listening to their needs. Rich connections are birthed with a concern to help others reach their goals. The conversations should create feelings of empathy and a desire to help. And, they need to be authentic.

Even though we know this, when it comes to marketing, many businesses put these “relationship guidelines” to the side and spend most of the time speaking about themselves…how wonderful they are, the company awards, and the many features that make them the best choice. They may even try to impress with technical terms to demonstrate their expertise, leaving the listener confused and wondering what this has to do with them. In an effort to get the sale and look superior, at times they may even criticize their competition.

If you are a customer looking for a solution to your problem, what are you feeling when you hear this type of marketing message from a business? There is little that resembles a whisper of desire to have a relationship. It becomes “blah, blah, blah”.

It’s way too much work to figure out how what you are hearing has to do with the problem you are trying to solve. Your eyes glaze over, and you shut down. If you are on a website, you can’t get off fast enough.

To win for your customers and in the marketplace, marketing messages should be focused on the customer and the value they receive. The customer should be the hero!

This is one of my core beliefs about how to do business. This customer-centric approach is the “secret sauce” that helps my clients develop strong brands.

At the end of the day, we don’t have a business if we don’t have customers. My commitment to becoming a customer advocate is so strong that I trained to become a StoryBrand Certified Guide. In most of my client work, we start by creating a messaging guide which helps my clients engage customers and build very strong relationships. Their messages lead with empathy, demonstrate credibility, and earn the trust that comes when they exist to guide their customer to become the hero and win the day.

  • Their new marketing helps qualify leads and convert them into ideal clients.
  • Websites make them money rather than serving as a brochure.
  • Sales decks and presentations are compelling and drive revenue to new levels.
  • Meeting agendas produce fruitful outcomes.
  • Time is saved, marketing budgets are well-spent, and businesses create strong relationships with their customers and within the culture of their business.

These companies empower their customers, rather than reminding them of their inadequacy.

I love working with my clients. They are the good guys who exist to serve their customers.

My privilege is serving as their guide to equip them to grow their business while becoming better versions of themselves.  And, at the end of the day, isn’t serving others what it’s all about?

Lisa McGuire is the CEO and Founder of Open Window Marketing.  Her superpower has been described as “making others look good and sound great.”  She follows her heart in serving business leaders as a Certified Business Storyteller to position their brands and remind them of the importance of the customer experience.  Lisa can be contacted at lisa@openwindmarketing.com.

Marketing Strategy, It’s Time to Remove the Blindfold

April 29, 2019 No Comments

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It’s not uncommon that the cadence in the news and our social media feeds include reports of the latest viral “challenge”. These challenges cover the gamut, from noble (the Ice Bucket challenge) to “what were they thinking?” (swallowing pods of laundry detergent).

One of the most recent viral crazes was the “Birdbox challenge”, honoring the Netflix horror film from late last year. If you missed out on it, this challenge involved people doing everyday things while blindfolded. When the challenge moved online, Netflix felt compelled to issue a warning that bad things happen when blindfolded.

Really?

I don’t know what continues to cause me to shake my head – whether it was people thinking doing things blindfolded was smart, or the fact that Netflix had to give a warning that bad things can happen when sight is restricted. We’ve reached a point in time where the risk of lawsuits requires companies to take on a guardian role to remind us how to prevent injury.

Regardless, it’s clear that trying to navigate even a familiar path or activity can be very difficult when there isn’t a clear picture of where you are going. Limiting sight, either by blindfold or not making the effort to take in all visual clues, greatly impacts the success of reaching your destination.

Unfortunately, this is how many business owners approach marketing. They understand the need to market their product or service but don’t have a big-picture strategy. Instead, they listen to what others are doing. They are numb to the fact that their competitor or business down the street may not be following a plan either.

Why is this happening?

How many companies go straight to execution and don’t take the time for this planning?  According to Infusionsoft’s small business marketing trends report many of today’s 30 million small business owners don’t have time to think about marketing and have no one on staff dedicated to it. Instead, they juggle many tasks and do their best with the limited time they have. Sometimes they end up doing what they’ve done before, or worse, they chase every shiny thing that sounds like marketing and throw up their hands when it doesn’t provide immediate results.

Where to begin?

Marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. However, to be effective and maximize the marketing spend, a strategy should be developed and designed specifically for the individual business.

Marketing dollars will go further when goals are first defined. It’s then critical to assess what’s been working, and what’s not bringing in a viable return. It’s wise to take these steps on an annual basis and then follow through with a process of continual monitoring, measuring and adjusting.

Central to planning is knowing the customer, the audience to marketing. The potential customer needs a compelling message that pulls them into the story being told. It must acknowledge the problem they need to solve and guide them to follow a plan that will resolve the pain they experience with a clear call to action.

Finally, a strategy is created to determine how to reach the lead, qualify them, and then convert into a customer. Only after the plan is created is when implementation should begin.

Without a marketing strategy, a business can waste enormous amounts of money on marketing.

It’s time to remove the blindfold. Make a plan, and if you aren’t sure what to do, ask a marketing professional for some help. According to the Business Talent Group’s 2019 High-End Independent Talent Report, companies find the challenge of low unemployment in today’s job market leads them to hire independent subject matter experts rather than full-time staff to get projects done.

What was at the top of the list in 2018 for the most in-demand projects that used independent on-demand talent?  Marketing and sales strategy!

Think you don’t have money for marketing? Start small and then grow your budget as results improve. More than anything in your business, creating a marketing strategy to align with your goals is one of the wisest investments that can be made to advance business.

Lisa McGuire is a brand strategist and a StoryBrand Certified Guide. She is an expert at creating a marketing strategy by leveraging the power of “story” and helps business owners get closer to the vision for their business by engaging and reaching their ideal customers. It starts with a Marketing Strategy session. Contact Lisa to learn about how you can receive a 12-month marketing plan, designed specifically for your business, and spend your time focusing on doing the work you want to do.

Monitoring Progress 90 Days In

April 16, 2019 No Comments

Monitoring Progress 90 Days In

When speaking with other entrepreneurs, I often find the conversation drifts to topics addressing strategies and techniques to work smarter, not harder. Since we’ve moved into Q2 it’s a great opportunity to look at how things are going in relation to the company goals we set for the year.

Like many of you, I selected a single word theme to align with my goals. If you haven’t done this yet, it’s not too late. My word for 2019 is “Blossom” to create a strategy that allows me to nurture and grow the seeds I planted in my first year of entrepreneurship. I’ve encountered others who selected “Take Action”, “Refine”, “Energize”, and “Simplify”. There’s no right or wrong choice. The word you select has to have meaning for you and where you want to go in your business this year.

How do you begin to evaluate where you are in relation to those goals? Certainly, you can measure revenue, count the number of inquiries, and add up the potential in the pipeline, but I wanted to take it further. In my case, I had five areas of concentration for the year. When I revisited the first three months in my memory, I wasn’t sure what the outcome would be in relation to the vision I had for Q1.

Since I know that gratitude is an important component that leads to success I wanted to start there. It is one of the key drivers I use in operating my business. I keep a gratitude journal that allows me to record things that lead to a Meaningful Life.

The “Gratitude Goal Tracker” is something I’ve developed as an additional way to evaluate progress in my business. It includes the numbers to track frequency, potential, and results…but it does so much more. It allows me to visually see what I’m fortunate enough to be able to do and to see how my efforts contribute to help others achieve the dreams they have for their companies.

To create your own Gratitude Goal Tracker, feel free to follow my method or create a version of your own. I’m sure my process will have several iterations, but here is where I began.

The review started with a large 11” x 17” paper divided into five horizontal sections, representing each goal category.  At the top of each section record the goal. Open your daily calendar for the first three months, listing each activity under the appropriate category.

This will give you a clear picture of how much has been accomplished and where you are working outside of your goals. It’s a great way to monitor progress and adjust what needs to happen in the next 90 days. You will see exactly where your energy has been channeled.

Taking the time to do this has re-energized me. The Gratitude Goal Tracker hangs on the wall within easy view to remind me of where my time should be allocated. Now, I’ve decided that waiting 90 days is far too long and now will be tracking my activities at the end of the week.

Since doing this I’ve shared my process with others who wanted to know more, thus the reason for this entry.

We are better together than going it alone. I’m curious to know what you do to make sure you keep motivated and stay focused on your goals?

Open Window Marketing, LLC and Lisa McGuire