Are you selling the wrong thing?

“NO PHOTOS.” That’s what the sign said in front of this man’s booth at the Chelsea Market. He was selling shirts with fun quirky patterns on them. You know, the kind of locally-made-limited-run thing you’d expect to see for sale at an art market. When I see a sign like this my reaction is always… What are you scared of? Are you scared that someone’s going to steal your idea? That someone is going to copy you? If all it would take for you to lose customers is someone showing...

Continue reading

A marketing primer for financial planners

You’re a financial planner. How do you get clients? How do you get people to see the value in what you do and choose you over other options, including the option of doing nothing at all? More specifically, how do you get the right clients? You know, the ones that don’t make you want to gouge your eyeballs out with a spoon when you’re on a call with them. I got to see Seth Godin speak at the Smart Hustle Small Business Conference in New York City last week and someone in the audience, a...

Continue reading

Lessons from the first Sears wish book catalog

How fan-freaking spectacular is this. I mean, LOOK AT THIS MAGIC. A page from the first Sears Wish Book catalog published in 1897. Seven hundred and eighty-six glorious pages of… This. The copy is straight wizardry, written by Richard Sears himself. (Big ups to the internet hero who found and uploaded pages from the original catalog here.) I started reading The Long Tail by Chris Anderson this morning and he talks about how Sears and Roebuck’s began as a mail order catalog company and...

Continue reading

What’s it for?

Your website. Your Twitter account. Your ad campaign. Your software update. The product you’re building. The brochure you’re designing. The event you’re organizing. The course you’re launching. What’s it for? It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Seth Godin’s work and that he’s changed the way I think about marketing. I just completed The Marketing Seminar he founded and started running this past spring and this is something we talked about a lot. Why are you doing it...

Continue reading

Is your marketing strategy a comparison trap?

We spend so much time worrying about the other guys. How do we stack up? How do we convince people we’re better? We want to stand out. We want to be the go-to financial planner for young professionals or the preferred webinar software for solo-entrepreneurs. But something I’m noticing is that so many businesses build websites or curate social media feeds that look and sound exactly like everyone else in their space. They model themselves after another financial planner or webinar software...

Continue reading

“If they only knew what we know” is the wrong way to think about marketing

“If only they knew what we know.” That’s a really enticing concept. The idea that if people simply knew what we did then they’d do what we do. “If I could just show them, if I could prove to them, if I had the chance to explain…” The idea that if people would read our brochure or watch our webinar then they’d get it. They’d understand why they should buy locally made furniture instead of shopping at IKEA or why low investment fees are so important. Then they’d buy our...

Continue reading

Hiding your competition isn’t going to keep me from finding them

THIS. This seems obvious, but it’s funny how quick we are to forget it as marketers. We won’t tell the person asking about our email software that we don’t have the features they need, but the other guys do. We won’t tell visitors to our store that the couch in the fabric they really want is sold down the street. We won’t tell the couple sitting across our desk that they’d be better off with insurance coverage from the other guys… We sell them on the...

Continue reading

Making the Most of “Thanks for Signing Up!” Landing Pages

Some thoughts on conversion optimization, landing pages, and how to make people that give you their email addresses feel like valued humans… I was listening to Talia Wolf on the Unemployable podcast the other day talk about thank you landing pages—you know when you buy something online or sign up for a service/newsletter and you’re redirected to a ‘Thanks for trusting me with your email address and/or money promise you won’t regret it K BYE!’ page? (OK not entirely sure if...

Continue reading

Banks, budgets, and beauty bloggers

I’m scrolling through Instagram, as you do, and I get to thinking about sponsorships and the fact that Social Media Influencer is now a job title (explain that to your grandmother). Which leads to me wonder where are the banks and other financial companies in all of this? If it works for L’Oréal, would it work for Citigroup? Take a lifestyle blogger for example. Look at their Instagram account. They’ve got millions of followers and one of those perfectly curated...

Continue reading

Why banks should care about beauty vloggers

You know what’s really interesting? The rabbit hole that is YouTube beauty videos—monthly favourites, Sephora hauls, get ready with me’s… that slice of the internet. It’s addictive. I can watch someone apply eyeshadow with 14 indistinguishable brushes for hours, knowing full well I’ll never try it myself. My idea of a ‘smokey eye’ is mixing two shades of skin toned beige I’ve owned since university, and I’m OK with that. I am not the...

Continue reading