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Will you marry me? I won't, and why you won't get a sale from your one lonely, standalone ad...

Updated: Feb 2

I don't want to marry you, because I don't know you. And if you've only ever done one ad or post, but expected sales from it, then here's a quick insight into why you won't - and it's because Marketing is exactly like dating…

Imagine walking up to a total stranger and saying – ‘Hey you, I see you…will you marry me?’

How do you think that would end? Very badly I imagine, as they’d be running for the hills pretty quickly, thinking you’re a fruitcake. When you think about relationships, it’s a gradual development, there’s an order to it - a pretty standard set of steps and stages in the process. Marketing is no different - it’s just a relationship with a customer that you’re trying to develop.

Marketing relationships and romantic relationships are very similar in that there’s a natural progression of introduction, getting to know each other, dating, exchanges and generally progressing through certain psychological stages before a serious commitment is made.

Below is a more detailed look at the similarities between your customer’s decision-making process versus the dating stages.

Understanding this may help you take a longer-term view of marketing and help convince you (or your boss) that it’s not just a short term, immediate results, process. You have to be in it for the long haul.

How they compare:

The process, originally called the AIDA model, goes right back to 1890s and has evolved over the years to currently be along the lines of:

1. Awareness: Making your ideal customer aware of your brand by creating useful, relevant & valuable digital content which they can find quite easily in the places and channels they hang out.

2. Curiosity: Once they know about you – make them curious to want to know more. Get them to follow you on your social channels, by being helpful and providing useful and / or entertaining content they’ll appreciate. Use relevant hashtags and encourage them to visit your site.

3. Engagement: Once on your site, aim to convert them into a lead by providing something of value in exchange for their contact information - a pdf of a something useful or a freebie that’s worth time or money

4. Conversion: The aim of marketing, is to make sales easier! If you’ve attracted the right audience and engaged the right leads, then you need to nurture those leads and keep them warm, until the time is right for them to convert into customers and actually purchase from you. Just like you wouldn’t ask someone to marry you on a first date, you shouldn’t ask someone to buy from you until they know you better and they’re ready for that commitment.

5. Advocacy. Assuming you’ve thrilled your customer with your product and service, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask them for testimonials and referrals. If you continue to engage with them, cross sell and upsell, then they are naturally becoming advocates of yours – ask them to tell their friends about you.

Going back to the subject of dating, these stages very much reflect the process that a romantic relationship goes through:

1. Awareness: Becoming aware of your person of interest. At a bar, party, work, online – wherever.

2. Curiosity: Having met them for the first time, feeling like you want to know more about them and perhaps go on a date to get to know them better (assuming both parties are open to this).

3. Engagement: Not necessarily of the marital kind yet, but after a few dates, when a person decides they want to be with you despite knowing all about your quirky little habits. Gifts are exchanged, date night is frequent, holidays together …that sort of thing.

4. Commitment: The time when you’ve both decided that you’re ready to tie the knot. You’ve dated, you’ve exchanged gifts, you know each other pretty well and now you’re ready to commit.

5. Honeymoon period: that period of time when all is blissful, and you can’t stop telling everyone how wonderful / cute / tidy / a good cook your new spouse is.

The point is, it’s about the right message, to the right person, at the right time.

You don’t jump in and get married before you’ve been on a few dates, and so as a marketer, it’s our job to foster good relationships.

I recently made my first purchase from a successful social media expert - Janet Murray, despite being on her email list for 2 years! It’s only now, that the time was right for me to make a commitment to her. But Janet continually provides relevant and informative content, which kept me curious and engaged until the time was right for me. She fostered and nurtured that relationship with me.

By asking for a commitment (i.e. a sale) too early, you’ll scare them away. Engagement, trust, and timing are the essential key elements to successful marketing relationships.

If your small business needs a succinct and simple Marketing Strategy to help grow your customer base - contact Sally on 07970 483 026 or email.

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