If there’s one thing people hate, it’s being told what to do. If your marketing campaign is exclusively based on telling people to do something (i.e. buy your product). Then, unfortunately, you’re unlikely to find much success.
But how can you do marketing without being too pushy? After all, marketing is about trying to persuade someone to take action. If you’re unsure of how to approach this difficult task, then you might like to follow the example of these six businesses. They do a good job of marketing by being persuasive, but not desperate or pushy.
When people come to their social media feeds, they’re looking for some light-hearted things to smile at and share with their friends. What they are not looking for is adverts. A good social media marketing campaign will include some sales-based posts, for sure, but the majority should be funny, engaging and informative. You’ve got to be sure you can keep up with all the latest changes on social media too. You don’t want to fall behind the times.
For an example, take a look at Old Spice on Twitter. Old Spice sells men’s fragrances which perhaps is not considered ‘traditionally’ masculine. The persona of the Old Spice Twitter account acts in a comically over-masculine way to overcompensate, joking around and poking fun at ‘masculine’ pastimes. People follow them because they find them funny, but then the next time they need a product in that range, they’ll be the first business that comes to mind. A very 21st-century approach to humor and marketing.
Create high-quality content that has its own value and has not been created simply to push a product. Therefore, you are giving people a reason to visit your site beyond shopping. This can take many forms.
You might like to keep a dedicated blog where you write interesting articles about things related to your industry. Alternatively, you might like to start a YouTube channel. In this case, you might not be bringing people to your site directly. However, you’re still exposing themselves to your business. People come for the content and stay for the good deals.
A great example of this is Whole Foods. They’ve got a popular blog where they write a lot about healthy living and healthy eating, including recipes and ‘how to’. Whole Foods customers care a lot about nutrition and recipes, so this kind of healthy living content is the ideal way of creating a relationship between consumer and brand.
You might wonder what exactly charities have to do with marketing. The two things can be very closely linked. If you publicly use some of your business’s profits to make a donation to charity, it might make customers more likely to choose you in future. The reason for this is they’ll know that by buying something from you, they might be indirectly helping to contribute towards a donation themselves. People like to support ethical companies, and social enterprises are on the rise.
Box Lunch is just such a business. Its unique selling point is that it provides a meal for someone in need through Feeding America for every $10 spent on its site — a worthy cause and a great way to enhance your brand reputation without seeming too ‘smarmy’.
If you’re in two minds about buying something, you might be swayed one way or another if there are a lot of customer reviews. Of course, negative reviews are only going to do harm, but positive reviews can act as a great sign of trust for uncertain customers.
If you have the capacity to do so, you should consider including reviews on your Ecommerce site. The biggest example of this is that big whale taking up all the space in the Ecommerce pond – Amazon. They’ve got the room for customer reviews on every single product. People even enjoy writing them. Why? Because Amazon has been able to create a sense of community around their reviews, including allowing users to vote for each others’.
Try to do the same with your business: creating a customer community that will make your job as a marketer so much easier. People like to share their own opinions, as well as reading each other's.
If you look at Pop Funko on Twitter, you’ll see that they regularly send out tweets saying things like “Retweet for a chance to win this product!”. So of course, thousands of people do. How many of them do you think will buy it anyway when they lose? Probably quite a few, as they’ll be building it up in their mind and getting themselves excited. The prospect of getting something for free is always going to excite customers, so if you can afford to do so, it may be worth doing every now and again.
Giveaways and competitions are a quick and easy way to reward customers and market your products and services to a new audience. Team up with bloggers and social media influencers for double the impact.
Returning customers are just as important as new customers (if not more so). If you’re selling the kind of products that people buy regularly, your returning customers could be your biggest source of revenue. This is why you should try to do something to reward customer loyalty, as it will help to make sure that they keep coming back.
To see this in action, take a look at Evy’s Tree. They’ve got a loyalty scheme that provides their shoppers with discounts and bargains in return for their regular purchases. What they do is give out points for different things that customers do and then these points are exchanged for deals. Just one of the many diverse approaches to customer loyalty rewards.
If you were looking for ‘non-pushy’ marketing ideas, then hopefully you’ll now have been inspired! These approaches can be quite easily adopted by any startup. The Evy’s Tree loyalty scheme was managed within their online storefront — a testament to how easy rewarding customers can be; it’s now often an inbuilt feature of Ecommerce systems. And the solutions don’t stop there...Trustpilot provides an easy solution for user-generated reviews – and there are plenty of services out there to help you with social media. Then, of course, there’s also a certain book you could buy for some good marketing tips…
Marketing is a delicate process. If you’re too forceful, you’ll turn everyone away, but if you’re not forceful enough, nobody will ever find out about you. So what you’ve got to do is tread the middle ground. You have to provide value without an obvious sales angle, but which helps to position you as a trusted supplier.
What marketing techniques do you find useful?
Victoria Greene: Brand Marketing Consultant and Freelance Writer
I work with ecommerce businesses & marketing teams to create content and targeted SEO strategies. I’m always thinking up new ways to market without marketing and to sell without selling – a tough line to tread, but doable!
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