How Are You Gonna Sell Something If People Don’t Understand What You’re Selling?


I can’t even count how many times I have seen good projects and great business ideas go to waste due to poor presentation, marketing and communication.

You have probably too, if you talk to a lot of people who own their business or are trying to launch one.

A lot of people out there still think that in order to succeed, all they gotta do is have a good product. You wouldn’t believe just how many business owners today still use “built it and they will come” as their modus operandi when it comes to getting people to recognize and use their products and services.

Don’t get me wrong, having a great product or service is crucial in every company’s success, but it’s not enough.

Last year I had a meeting with a friend of mine who is a CEO of a young and blooming startup firm. I won’t mention his name or the name of the company he works for in order to protect his interests.

We talked for a while, he presented me with all the cool stuff his company was working on and how he thinks they’re gonna improve their business by adding this and that feature to their product.

I gotta say, at that specific moment, all their plans seemed really interesting and inventive, but when I asked him how he plans to market their product, who’s their targeted audience, why is their product better than others who operate in the same niche, what’s unique about their service, why should I choose to do business with them and not their competitors, how they’re planning to communicate their work and message with the world – he went mute.

He just set there silently for half a minute, then he looked me in the eye and said: “We don’t need to rely on silly marketing tricks. Our products is great, people will instantly recognize for what’s it for and how to use it.”

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Sure, when you read it now as a third party in this conversation, his response might seem a bit arrogant, but I honestly think that, at that moment, he was just really blinded by the product they were working on that he entirely forgot to look at it from a client’s point of view.

A couple of week ago, we meet again for a drink and just out of the blue, he started to complain how things aren’t going so well at work, and how people just aren’t responding to their product as well as they’ve hoped for.

This is happening for a number of reasons. First and foremost of all, people don’t really understand all the benefits that your product or service has to offer, unless you tell it to them over and over again. Assuming that they do, is as dumb as thinking that your dog will automatically figure out where to go potty, without you first showing him a couple of times.

I’m not saying that people are like dogs, nor am I comparing selling products with potty training, I’m just using this scenario as a metaphor to make a point.

You have to invest a lot of time and energy in distributing your value to the right people.

The question that should immediately come to your mind when sharing a certain project, product or service with the world is:

How am I going to get people to buy this if I don’t really explain to them all the benefits of using my products or services?

Lost In Thought
Lost In Thought

As a person who has been in charge of marketing for a couple of companies, I would not want to be responsible for marketing a bad product. I just don’t feel that you can be honest in marketing something you think is not top quality.

Good marketing cannot fix bad products, but good and creative marketing can make slightly inferior products sell. It can make people see some real value in them.

It is much harder to fix a poorly engineered product than a poorly marketed product. It could take years to re-engineer a bad product, while, on the other hand, you can switch your marketing strategy and tactics in just a couple of weeks.

Quality of service and products does play a big part in any company’s success. But, only a part.

My friend wasn’t wrong, but he wasn’t right either.

Education is Everything – Help Your Potential Customers Understand What it is That You’re Actually Selling

Let’s, for the sake of this post, say that you’re working for a web hosting company and your mission is to sell as much dedicated servers as possible. Your job is to get as many people as you can interested in purchasing one of those servers.

Sounds easy and pretty straight forward, right? Well….

Before you start to spend insane amounts of money and energy on creating generic AdWords and Facebook campaigns, you should always reevaluate what it is that you’re actually selling. You should always first analyze your asset and look at it from your client’s point of view: “If I was looking for a server for my website, why would I even consider hosting it on a dedicated server? Do I even know what’s a dedicated server and what makes it so great?

Once you have done that, you’ll know how to properly market it. You’ll know what kind of problems your service or product will solve. You’ll understand the real value of it, and how to demonstrate it. You’ll know how to engage your targeted group.

The thing is, most people today are not really interested in doing research. They’re not really in the mood for spending hours and hours searching about how something works. I know that this seems lazy, but it’s the truth. That’s just how things are today. Of course, there are exceptions, but looking on a global scale – my statement stands on solid ground.

If they don’t find what they’re looking for on the first page of SERP, a vast majority of people will most likely quit. There’ll get bored and move on to the next thing.

Academic research indicates that 91% of searchers do not go past page 1 of the search results and over 50% do not go past the first 3 results on page 1.

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Knowing this, can we agree that it is in our best interest to send as many use cases, product benefits, descriptions and features their way, instead of waiting for them to find us themselves?

It doesn’t matter how patient we are – things will never magically work out for the best. We need to make them.

If you don’t put in the man hours into promoting your work and teaching as many people as you possibly can how to use yours product to help themselves, you’ll end up with a failed business on your hands.

Don’t Just Sell, Communicate Real Value

Education is everything. I like to think that the person who invented the wheel didn’t just sit there and admired his invention. I like to think that he immediately gathered as much humans as he possibly could around his “product” and put it into use in front of their eyes. Once they saw what this cool round thing could do and how it could undoubtedly help them transport their goods – they all went crazy for it. They all started using.

There’s a fine line between good and bad marketing.

A bad marketing strategy is one driven solely by tactics. Marketing/product groups operating this way will often brag about being ‘fast-paced’ and having ‘no red tape’. However, this is only because they don’t really have a plan and are focused on “deliverables”, rather than outcomes.

A good marketing strategy is always tied to the corporate business plan/strategy. If your product line is answering a real market problem, half your work is done and you can focus on your go-to-market strategy which is made up of your integrated tactics and programs for customer acquisition and customer retention.

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Invest in educating your potential clientele, provide real value to them, stimulate them to think about your products and services as solutions, not just something you’re trying to sell and I promise you, you’ll see your business bloom.

Thank you for reading this post. I hope I provided you with some serious insights about marketing. If you liked what I wrote here, please remember to share this post with your friends and coworkers. Who knows, maybe this sort of content will help them better their business.

Once again, thanks for reading. See you soon again.

Goran @ AltusHost B.V.

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