listenMost small businesses don’t have the time or inclination to really think through their marketing strategy.

They are so bloody busy just taking care of their customers and employees and the business itself, that any subject beyond their immediate pains and problems feels like an indulgence.

So what happens when it comes time for them to actually promote their product or service?

They haf-ass it.

They lump in marketing with advertising,  slap together an ad for a magazine or the Yellow Pages or direct mail, fill it with way too much information and call it a day.

What a waste.

Sometimes I run into businesses that claim not to need any marketing help.  Either someone took a course somewhere, or they had an advertising background or they happen to believe they are a universal genius.  They are going to do it themselves and without any outside input.

The problem is they are usually so in love with their own story that they have lost sight of the end-goal.

To communicate the benefits of your product or service in order to generate sales.

Yes, you may have been to Startup Hell and back, survived a monster hurricane, and be truly passionate about the resiliency of your outdoor patio furniture, but until you can tell me exactly why it’s going to benefit me to plunk down my hard-earned cash and buy it, I am not interested.

In the American Idol and social media era  of “personal branding“, making that point to small business owners is getting more and more difficult.

Everyone wants to be a star.

But it ain’t gonna happen.

Because the fact of the matter is that most of us are just not that interesting.

We think we are unique.  We think we are special.  But really we are pretty much reflective of the good ole Bell Curve.

A few outliers on either end and a big mass in the middle.

So get over it.

You’re a patio furniture salesman or a dentist or a scrappy inventor with an idea a minute.

You’re not Mahatma Gandhi.

Put the focus back on how you can help people ease and enrich their lives.

Communicate that in a simple, easy story with three takeaways that you can repeat morning noon and night.

Make it about them.  Make it a story they can relate to.  Make it inspirational and fun.  Seth Godin would say just make it…remarkable.

There is so much noise out there and people have gotten so much better at filtering that unless you hit them head on, you have no chance.

They’ll start listening when they hear something that makes them think of the one thing they care about more than anything else.

Themselves.

Agree?  Let me know.