Conquering the dreaded M-word

Are you frustrated trying to figure out this whole marketing thing? You know it’s important for your business to grow, but it seems more of an art than a science and sometimes it even seems like success comes down to pure luck.

Proof: The ALS ice bucket challenge. There’s no way whoever concocted that scheme thought it would take hold and spread like a virus the way it did. It was brilliant in its simplicity, for sure, but still, that doesn’t mean the brain behind that campaign will be able to re-create another marketing success story of that magnitude.

Often, it seems marketing is just jargon. Phrases like “capture your target market” get thrown around without any real insight into the HOW aspect of the puzzle.

But at the recent MadLab summit in Las Vegas, Chandler Walker took the the stage and proved me wrong. Was their some jargon? Yes. But he also provided some practical, tangible tips for being better at marketing your brand. Here were some of the highlights:

1. “Be real. Be human.”

Ok, so what does this mean? To a certain degree, it means you don’t need to try so hard. For example, if part of your routine is to share videos on social media, you don’t need to go through the time-consuming task of editing them, and adding music and text. You’re better off capturing a real, authentic, unedited, uncensored moment people can relate to.

As much as people strive to be perfect, the truth is people like flaws. Scars are sexy. Or as a friend of mine looking for a mate once said: “Walk with a limp. Lisp a little. I’m not looking for perfection. I’m looking for a perfect connection.”

In other words, show yourself and your athletes being themselves. Being vulnerable. Being real humans. You might not look perfect, but suddenly you’ll be more relatable to the people you’re trying to bring in to your gym.

“People want to connect on an emotional level they understand,” Chandler says.

2. Listen

Chandler was very clear it’s impotent to take the time to ask for feedback about your business—online and in person—and then listen to what people are saying. You need to be adaptable and organic. If you think something is a great idea, but your audience doesn’t respond well to it, then maybe your idea wasn’t so good after all. Be prepared to adapt, change, grow, and try new things until something works.

3. Not about the likes

Real simple: When it comes to social media, likes are not as powerful as comments. Comments show that people are engaged. Anyone can press “like.” Engaging in conversation means you’re doing something right, Chandler says.

4. Leverage your strengths

Don’t force yourself, or your coaches, into roles they aren’t good at, Chandler says. If someone is terrible at video-making, don’t make them spend 17 hours on a video project.

Instead, place people, including yourself, into roles that are suited to who you are.

5. Have a content plan

Putting out a blog is one thing, but putting out a blog with an intention is another. Chandler says each piece of content should do one of three things: Educate, inform or make people laugh (entertain). Putting out a blend of content that always does one of those three things will go a long way in giving your audience what it wants and needs to embrace your brand.

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