There’s a little voice in our heads which questions everything, analyses everything, and often jumps to conclusions. When we are browsing for a product or service, it whispers things like “That won’t do” or “That’s a waste of time” or “I can’t afford that.”
It seems to be part of the way in which human beings evaluate things and make decisions, a conscious critical mind that helps.
But it can be something else at the same time. It can be irrational, while appearing to be the voice of reason itself.
The more this little voice tells you that you shouldn’t do something, or that something is a waste of time, or unaffordable, or whatever, the more likely you are to remain within a pattern, a habitual routine or framework, and breaking out of that pattern can be a difficult task.
It’s the voice of the ‘Anti-customer’. It’s designed to protect you, to preserve the status quo, to make sure that nothing changes.
This is where it’s important to understand the spectrum of responses that are available within you.
These are the same responses available to any potential reader of your work.
When you see a product that you absolutely and immediately love, the voice of the Anti-customer is almost inaudible, drowned out by your enthusiasm and passion; when you are mildly attracted to something or someone, you can hear the little voice tentatively forwarding protests; when you are undecided about something, the voice grows more voluble, and as your uncertainty or unfamiliarity increases, so does the power of this voice. Finally, it dominates you and you reject or walk away from or simply ignore whatever it is being presented to you.
Marketing means finding those people who are super-keen, keen, mildly interested and potentially interested, and quieting the voice of the Anti-customer within them.
Take a look at the diagram above. It shows the amount of ‘marketing effort’ you need to expend to attract the right buyer/reader.
In the bottom left corner is the ‘Superfan’. You don’t need to do much here at all, other than provide more material to ‘feed the beast’ and to make sure that all your channels are open so that they can get it.
As you move along, you proceed through the ‘Fan’ and the ‘Emerging Fan’. These need to be nudged to buy more, or, in the case of the latter, encouraged to engage with the product they have just purchased — the internal qualities of that product, whether it’s a book, a vacuum cleaner or a pizza, should be in place to ensure that they become a ‘fan’.
The effort curve starts to climb as you hit ‘Potential Fan’. This is prior to any purchase and so depends upon external tools — in the case of a book, this includes things like the cover, the blurb, the overall positioning of the specific item in a field of general items. You have to attract the attention of someone who is already ‘warm’ to what you are offering, but who needs to be brought to a point of commitment to buy.
This use of external tools to attract attention is what most people call ‘marketing’, but as you can see it is only part of a larger picture.
The effort curve begins to climb more steeply after that. Your likelihood of selling a specific product to an occasional visitor gets more and more remote — what you should be doing here is attracting people to the general area of your product by placing it within a field of similar items.
Beyond that, forget it. You can spend hours of time and potentially thousands of pounds and you won’t get any responses from Non-players and Anti-customers.
The diagram shows where your attention needs to be: on the Superfan (in terms of providing ‘food’ for their continuing appetite), through to the Occasional Visitor.
The Marketing Mantra
Reduced to even further simplicity, your Marketing Mantra should be:
Attract generally; attract specifically; engage fully; provide more.
In the case of authors, you attract generally by drawing people into a social media group with similar interests; you attract specifically using positioning, cover design, the blurb and other tools; you encourage full engagement using the craft of storytelling contained within your work; and you provide more by writing more material for the superfans to consume.
This formula applies to any product, anywhere. You can sell pizzas using it; you can sell art with it; you can sell insurance deals with it. Think about it and particularly think how you could apply it to your own situation.
It’s organic marketing at its most magical.