How to Market an Unattractive Business

by Alec

Young Man Coming Out of Old

Do you think your product, service, and/or business is fantastic? Do others?

This is an interesting question and one that stumps a lot of my clients. “Fantastic” is a strong word and it means a lot of different things to different people. It even means different things to the same people at different times in their lives. Good healthcare is fantastic when you’re sick, but when you’re looking for something entertaining on a Saturday night a top-notch Emergency room is not something you’d call fantastic (unless you’re an extreme hypochondriac.)

This is all fairly obvious but it speaks to the importance of contextual self-awareness in both your marketing and your online presentation. Regardless of how “fantastic” your product, service and/or business truly is, you will still need to know: (1) how to bring people to your content and (2) how to speak to them in a way that is relevant and believable.

Lets use the example of The Global Nail Fungus Organization. This is a group dedicated to connecting people with nail fungus treatments. A really sexy topic right? To most people this is not fantastic, or attractive, or even a subject matter they want to acknowledge – and that is fine. But this is an organization with a goal and it needs a marketing strategy to achieve that goal. So what can it do?

Rule 1: Be Real.

Be who you are, be authentic, don’t try to make yourself something you are not. The Global Nail Fungus Organization should not try to be cool or hip or down-wit-it. They serve people with an annoying and ugly medical condition. These people are frustrated and looking for a solution. They don’t want to be teased or overly engaged, they want a solution.

This is totally different from how a lot of other businesses should operate their online presentation. A business like Tesla is a product company that doesn’t have visitors rushing in for a solution. Their product is big, life-changing, and expensive so they need to really engage the viewer and give them room to roam around their site, and learn everything there is to know about the sizable investment necessary to get their hands on the product.

In both cases you need to keep people interested, but you need to understand how you fit into the viewer’s life. If you put yourself into their shoes and understand who you are to them, you will gain a greater appreciation for why realness trumps all.

Rule 2: Make Content for Your Market.

This rule might seem obvious but people constantly screw this up by trying to make “mass market” or “viral” content. First of all, no one can simply “create viral content.” Anyone who promises you otherwise is a liar (or an A-list celebrity about to get arrested). You can make great content and it may go viral but guarantees are impossible as becoming “viral” requires hundreds, even thousands of people to all do the same thing when they see your content: share it. But you don’t need something to go viral to have content which successfully markets your offerings. The Global Nail Fugnus Organization creates lots of content that will only appeals to its market. But it is high quality and helpful and in turn gets views. From slideshows:

To videos:

Rule 3: Push Yourself on the Willing.

If you’re bad at social media you know all about pushing yourself on the unwilling. Whether you’re spamming your mediocre blog articles on linkedin, or non-stop self-promoting on Facebook and Twitter, you’re not doing “it” right if you’re blasting out messages to people who barely or accidentally gave you permission to reach them. A great way to know if you’re ‘social media campaign’ is successful is to count the number of people consistently commenting and engaging with you. If it isn’t increasing each month you need to retool.

Pushing yourself on the willing means that you are delivering targeted content to those who are actively asking for it. Search engine marketing is a great example of a way to push yourself on the willing. If someone searches for someone like you, you have permission to push yourself on them. The Global Nail Fungus Organization does just that, and they do it well. When someone searches Google for: “how to treat black nails” they pay google (though Adwords) to have their site show up. And not just the homepage, they have a specific page made to help people searching for that exact thing. Their landing page uses the same phrasing the searcher used and provides a number of useful details right away with clear and obvious buttons to other highly relevant pages. Like a nail fungus treatment guide and product comparison table.

When you market your offerings with a clear sense of self you will have a much higher chance of success than if you try to be something you are not. If you’re a niche product serving a niche need, become the very best in that market by staying true to your audience, making great content for that audience, and pushing your content to those willing within the audience. Don’t try to please everyone by turning the online presentation of your business into something it is not.
This is not an argument for staying safe and static. Don’t be afraid to try new things and expand and flex how you show yourself to the world. But always keep in mind who you, as a product, service, or business, really are and who you are really speaking to. Even if its not the most attractive thing, people will only remember you if you are consistent, helpful and genuine.
Categories: Advice, Marketing

One Response

  1. Alec says:

    Please feel free to submit your comments. Did you find this helpful? Not so much? Let us know.

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