I’ve noticed a shift in what I want from a brand. How I want to be sold to from a brand. What endears me to a brand.
I’ve sold every kind of thing you can imagine online: running shoes, houses, luxury cars, yoga classes, weight loss programs, organic salads, concert tickets, hotel rooms and more. I’ve tried every strategy. Employed every tactic. I’ve created every kind of funnel that you hate but that I know works. And as you might imagine, none of those tricks really work on me because I know what they are doing. I’ve done it myself a thousand times. So I often wonder if I’m just tired of the sell, sell, sell or if everyone else is too.
I’ve heard a lot of talk lately about pull selling vs. push selling. About having your customers engage with you as a brand, love what you are all about and buy anyway. No funnels needed. No big launches. No flash sales. No crazy discounts. This all sounds good and fine. But my marketer brain is always running: “if they did just these two things they’d sell more, if they had this in a funnel they’d do better.”
One thing I know for sure: if you as a business owner feel really uncomfortable doing a thing, your customers will notice and feel that too. You can’t run a big sale you don’t believe in. You can’t create content for a funnel you feel crummy about. You can’t launch Facebook retargeting ads that make you feel icky. Your customers will know. They always know.
And so how do you create a marketing plan and generate significant sales and revenue in a way that feels good to you and to your customers? You have to get back to the core of you. Of why you started your business. Why your customers matter to you. What you truly believe they need. You have to start with how you want them to feel at every touchpoint with you. This isn’t easy to do but it is the necessary thing for you to build a brand and a business that your customers resonate with on such a deep level that they will support you and buy your products and services no matter the price, no matter the season, no matter the trends.
A few businesses I’ve been thinking a lot about lately because they just make me feel good at every touchpoint:
- Cuyana – This brand has such a beautiful philosophy that they extend to every customer and that permeates every item they sell and how they sell it: The Lean Closet. The founders truly believe that the path to a sustainable planet and a healthy, non-stressful way to acquire and get dressed each day starts with owning far less things but owning things of great quality that will stand the test of time. Think about that for a moment. A clothing company that actively wants you to buy less clothing. And really means it. Their goal of fewer, better things really resonates with me right now and they do such a great job of making sure this philosophy is part of every interaction you have with their company. Every page of their site, every email sent, every social interaction is spare, quiet, intentional.
- CAP Beauty – The founders of CAP Beauty created the company to spread the power of natural skincare and supplements to as many people as possible and they do it in such a personal and powerful way. Their instastories alone offer a masters in natural beauty for anyone who follows along. Through those stories you can see how passionate and knowledgeable about their products they are and it’s infectious. You can tell how much they care and their care makes you care. They are joyful, vibrant, full of knowledge and they offer such a beautiful blend of products that you can’t help but dive in and try for yourself. This is a very different approach than Cuyana but it works for them and pulls customers into their world in such an engaging and informative way.
- Everlane – You know what they’re all about from your first interaction with the brand: “Exceptional quality. Ethical Factories. Radical Transparency.” Their approach to cutting out the middle players in the fashion food chain and working directly with factories who employ practices up to Everlane standards immediately endears me to this brand. But that same philosophy is carried through all of their marketing materials. Every email for a new product focuses on the little details that make each piece unique, special. You will never see flashing gifs and huge discount percentages and promo codes and Gap Cash and all the tricks that other clothing brands use to get you to buy. They believe their product and their approach — beautiful photography, lovely copy that highlights detail and quality and ethical fashion — will win. And they deliver it again and again. Consistently. And it works beautifully.
What businesses are making you feel ever so good these days with every interaction?