Sometimes I get this overwhelming urge. I want to grab a business owner by the shoulders and give him a good, hard shake. “Why the heck,” I’d say through clenched teeth, “are you in this business anyway?”
Once they’ve got over their shock (and probably called their lawyer), they might start to answer the question.
Because deep down, hidden under the suit and behind the professional facade, there is a real reason why we get into the businesses we do. There is a reason why we get up in the morning...apart from having to pay the mortgage.
What Is Your Real Reason?
The trouble is, that reason is usually hidden and forgotten. We’re too busy getting on with the day-to-day stuff - fixing problems and paying bills - that we forget that we have passion.
So how about this? Stop reading and spend five minutes answering this question: why are you in your business?
Then write it down on a piece of paper and see how you feel.
Red Bull for your Mojo
I did this exercise about a year ago and it tranformed the way I feel about my business. I decided I was in business to help other business owners succeed by helping them develop long-term, profitable relationship with their customers through the use of newsletters.
I know that newsletters are powerful, and I also know that - for various reasons - most people don’t send them. So I decided I was there to make it easy. Indeed, I came up with the slogan: A newsletter for Every Business (Even Funeral Homes.)
This is what helps me get up and get to work in the morning: the thought that I am helping other business owners achieve their goals.
But Everyone Will Laugh and Hate Me
Being able to articulate this is great. But it’s only half the story.
Now you need to share it.
The trouble is, sharing your passion is easier said than done.
You’ve got to get over the problem of fear, for a start.
The reason that most businesses have boring, sterile, faceless marketing is because most of us are too scared to do anything different. It’s a frightening prospect to actually get a bit personal with your clients and prospects. What might they say? What might they think?
It’s easier to hide behind the logo and the “me-too” marketing bilge that most other businesses use.
No-one can criticize me/laugh at me/sue me for that, you think.
Know You, Like You, Trust You
True. But they might not buy from you either.
Here’s the thing (actually, two things):
1) Most people lead gray, boring lives. As Henry David Thoreau said, they lead lives of quiet desperation.
2) People like to do business with people they know, like and trust.
Think about most marketing you see in your industry. How much of it is exactly the same as all other marketing? How much of it is bland, gray and corporate?
So what can you do to make your marketing (and therefore the lives of the people who come into contact with it) less gray and more interesting. What can you do to make them think or to make them smile? What can you do to make your clients’ and prospects’ lives more interesting?
Take another look at most marketing in your industry. Who does it come from? A person or a corporation?
If you agree that people like to do business with people they know, like and trust, why is most marketing look like it comes from a sterile business instead of a real person?
So doesn’t it make sense to put a bit of you into your marketing? Encourage people to know, like and trust the person that is you?
How to Do It
So here’s my prescription for putting some passion back into your business - and using that to attract many more clients or customers than you had before.
1) Decide what you stand for. Think about what you care about. What you want the world to have more of. What you want the world to have less of.
2) Decide how your business fits in with your thoughts in question 1.
3) Decide what you want to reveal about yourself personally. If people like to work with people they know, like and trust, you need to find ways to portray your personal side. What will you share?
How to Use Newsletters with Passion
Newsletters work for this purpose because they provide way for you to entertain, inform and engage your prospects and clients on a regular basis.
They provide a platform - a place where you can share your opinions. (It’s no surprise that some of the most famous people in the world have their own radio networks and magazines.)
So do the following:
- Send a newsletter out regularly (every month is a minimum, if you can manage it.)
- Include at least one article that shows the raw, real you. Use that to share your passion about what you do.
- Include your picture in your newsletter. If you feel comfortable, include family members too. Or, failing that, your dog or cat. Yes, people like to see the fluffy side of you.
- When you write articles, be yourself. Don’t feel you need to “go all corporate”. Consider how you behave when you meet a client face to face or talk on the phone. Try to transfer that onto paper.
- Include humor - if it’s real and genuine.
- Tell stories - about your life and about your clients (with their permission.)
- If you find articles-writing difficult, ask someone to record you talking about your business. You’ll find it easier to relax and be more passionate. Then, you can transcribe some of your words into an article.
- l You can hire professional writers who will do a lot of this for you. If you can, find someone who has worked as a journalist - they are used to uncovering the “human angle” in every story.