The New Currency and How It Affects Your Business

BlackMilK Marketing Small Business

It used to be that money could buy you attention.

Spend enough on advertising ad promotions and you could badger people with your message, jingle, mascot, whatever.

Times are changing. The big guys can buy as many ads as they want, but with so many distractions one thing they can’t command as much anymore is our attention.

Yes, there are those that believe you just have to figure out how to advertise on the new media platforms, but in reality people tend to either ignore those ads or find them an irritating necessity to getting their free video, music or game.

How to Get Your Business/Products Attention

The new currency in today’s world is influence and trust, and it’s not automatically going to whoever spends the most. Instead it’s going to whoever can get the most authentic connection with people who genuinely care about what they are selling.

It’s marketing that’s not for the masses, there are just too many distractions. Today’s main target is the niche, because with just  a small market of passionate fans you can go global.

Brand case study: BlackMilk Clothing

When leggings came back in style, you could get them for $10 at your local mall. They were not that hard to find. So how could an unknown one-man business from Australia, selling leggings at least $80 a piece, gain fans from all over the world in places as far and vast as New York, Thailand, Tokyo, Africa and Latin America?

Here’s how:

  1. He grew a community of buyers through his blog that genuinely interested in and wanted to know about his products.
  2. He included and appreciated this audience in his marketing which consists of uploading pictures of fans wearing the brand’s products through Facebook and Istagram.
  3. He made his brand a cult item -avid fans were dubbed “sharkies”- and sold his products exclusively online. He even allowed the “sharkies” to sometimes vote for which pieces were brought back in the online store.

BlackMilk does not make products that cater to everybody, and it’s not trying to.

What the founder, James Lillis, understood is that the old method favored those with the most money to spend on mass advertising and promotions. He tried that and it failed. But with the right targeting he could get to the top influencers in his niche market gain their trust, and from there it trickled down to their followers who became his followers. Because of this people paid attention to what he offered, and trusted in his products and that brought in the customers.

The Empowered Marketer

Now more than ever you have a choice as  marketer. You can beat the drum to an old tune and spend x amount of dollars advertising to get attention. Or you can grow that organically by allowing people to opt-in to your message and choose to hear what you have to say. You can build a geuine connection, and real interest by building a kid of trust that the old methods can’t buy.

It’s a new way of marketing that can apply to everything from a pastry shop to a clothing business. To command the loyalty and following that brands like BlackMilk have takes a more genuine and honest approach, not a catchy tune.

The top influencers in a niche market have something valuable that money can’t buy trust and loyalty. The takeaway for business, is to cut all the crap and tell genuine stories.

It’s that simple. But not that easy. Because it takes time, and effort and patience and the return on investment is not immediately clear.

But with the power that influence (convincing people to buy a product without having to advertise to them) and trust (genuine belief, connection and identity with your brand) have, it’s a currency that most businesses cannot afford to miss.

Tell your genuine story, appreciate your humble beginnings, and patiently grow your fan base one person at a time. Or find the people influencing your customers, and appeal to their genuine liking, and wait for the trickle down effect.

Trust and influence, that’s what buys you attention, that’s the new currency.

Image credit: Facebook-BlackMilk

This post is part of a series on Branding and Social Media for small business, follow me via Twitter or join me via E-mail to receive your fresh copy of helpful small business online marketing strategies.

Daisy Quaker is an internet marketing consultant, specializing in social media strategy, content marketing, e-mail marketing, connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

The Secret to Getting Your Prospects to Listen

Get your customers to listen

Two words: Speak up!

Being humble is overrated. Too many small business owners don’t give themselves enough credit for having knowledge that others would want to learn or read about.

But if you think about it, how many times have you given advice, or given your opinion to help your customers? Probably quite often.  So why not put this advice on the web?

It’s the best way to get people to listen. And listeners are more willing to buy from you than a business they have never heard of because you become more familiar.

Start with the Basics

What are some of the things you wish your customers knew when coming in to your store?

Your first few posts could be as simple as:

  • 10 things to know before you buy <blank>
  • Questions to ask when shopping for <blank>
  • What your might not be telling you

Starting with basic information could be the building blocks to your blog’s success.

Do a quick poll around your store about questions customers often ask, or even set up a fishbowl near the register where people can submit questions or ideas.

Chances are if they are asking you, then other potential customers out there are also typing it into Google.

And that’s your chance to really build a following (and its no secret that regularly updated sites get ranked higher on Google and other search engines).

Make the Content Digestible

Once you start writing, make sure your content is easy to read, understand and put into action.

Avoid writing long elaborate essays that show how wise and all-knowing you are, but rather short and simple tips friendly advice that customers can digest. Think of it as elementary level writing.

If writing is not your strength, then perhaps a great copywriter can help.

Blogging does not have to be complicated, and it will help you gain better search results. But the best part of all of it is, when you do sell, people will be listening.

Image credit: Flickr atelierpompadour