“Established in <<insert year>>, our company has been providing quality <<whatever we sell>> to customers in the <<wherever area>>, with a focus on good value and outstanding customer service. Please browse through our site to how great we are at what we do and how much you need us.”

I can’t tell you how many websites I’ve read that sound a lot like the cookie-cutter cliché above. And too many times, my eyes glaze over and I lose interest. Why is that?

It’s not because the company isn’t great (many of them are!) or doesn’t offer quality products and services (a lot of them do). The problem is, I lose interest when the company talks about themselves instead of focusing on what resonates with me. It’s that simple.

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This is the fatal flaw in so many strategic marketing plans, and it happens because it’s how we’ve been traditionally taught to market: "Talk about the features, then point out the benefits."

This way of thinking is outdated and obsolete, and it can do your brand serious harm in this relationship-based connection economy.

Customers today are more aware of their options and more self-educated than ever. By the time they get to your website or social media pages, they already know what they want (or at least have a pretty good idea). They aren’t looking for a hard sell. They're looking for like-minded people who understand what they need and have a vibe that resonates with theirs.

If you’re still marketing from a “buy my stuff” point of view, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to engage with your audience and grow your business into something that truly makes you happy.

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For us, the shift started as we began to understand the power of starting with the “why.” Why are we in business? Why do we build pools the way we do? Why do we hire the team members we hire? Why do we treat our customers and suppliers in a certain way?

Because when you understand your “why,” the universe pays attention. 

What we’ve found is that if we focus on our why, incredible things keep happening. For example, we found we were taking jobs that we knew from the start would likely be frustrating. But we “needed” the work, so we took them on anyway. Sure enough, they were frustrating. All we could focus on was the negative aspects of that job. And we seemed to keep getting the same kind of problems over and over again, because that’s where we were putting all our energy. No surprise…this is, after all, how the universe works.

So we made the decision to start focusing on the positive. As we began to understand the kind of company that would make us truly happy, we stay focused on that. With that focus, we could see a crystal clear vision about what we wanted our company, our team and our lives to look like.  Once we had that vision, we saw that we could market our company in a whole new way.

A huge part of that vision was getting really clear on the kind of customers we wanted to work with. We got over the hurdle of learning to say “no” to work we didn’t want to do. (This was a huge challenge.) We also began to say no to people we just didn’t want to work with, people that we knew weren’t a good match for our energy.

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We weren’t judging them for being "wrong;" they are who they are and that’s fine. But we learned to be more discerning on who we would take on. (If this is a little confusing, thing about the last person you interviewed and hired. It’s not only their resume or work history you look at, but a certain something that makes you believe they’ll fit in well with your company culture. You can look at customers the very same way.)

What we found is that the more we focused on what the ideal customer looked like, the more they seemed to appear in our circles. As we became clearer, our marketing became clearer too and resonated more closely with our intended audience. Like attracts like, as the saying goes, and we’ve proved this time and again.

Once those people start appearing in your frame of reference, there’s no need to “sell” them on who you are and what you do. They’ll know it when they see it, and they’ll understand the kind of company you are and what you’re all about.

Don’t think for a minute that there’s some kind of “presto” instant magic to this. It takes focused work and a solid commitment to rethinking everything you thought you knew about marketing to make this switch. Then it takes daily effort to put out the kind of messages that are likely to resonate with your ideal customer.

The work is worth it. You’ll begin to see it as the right kind of people with the right kind of projects begin to appear and the “wrong” stuff starts to drift away.
It’s time to stop selling stuff, and start engaging in a whole new way.

We’d love to connect with you and talk more about marketing and understand your why. Connect with Ask the Pool Guy on Facebook to chat more!