Auntie Smackdown

March 3, 2011

Focused attention is a gift.

I have been recording and publishing a podcast with fellow coach Francie Cooper since the end of October. We have put out weekly shows with a monthly theme since November. Some people listen but it’s not a very big number, and the number doesn’t seem to be growing recently.

Francie and I tell people personally and also use social media plus our e-mail lists to get the word out about each show. But we get little response when we mention the podcast, especially on social media. I decided to find out why.

I asked people on Facebook what they think when I post about the podcast. I got two responses right away. One friend said she uses Facebook settings so posts with links get blocked. Aha! The other said, “What’s a podcast and what’s that ‘coaching’ stuff you talk about?” Aha, and aha!

Yes, my dear Watson, we started piecing together the puzzle. Then a good friend sent me what is metaphorically a snapshot of the whole puzzle put together. She took the time to compose a detailed e-mail about what she thinks and what she wonders when I post about the podcast. Her detailed explanation served as a much-needed smackdown to my whiny attitude of Why isn’t anyone responding to our podcast?

In fact, I’m going to call her Aunt Smackdown because she gave me the kick in the butt I needed. She’s around my mother’s age, a writer and a poet I met through a writers’ workshop over fifteen years ago. Even though she’s a marketing novice, she totally schooled me on basic marketing skills. What she sent is as valuable as a thorough marketing survey, so it was a powerful gift. Thanks, Aunt Smackdown!

The best marketing advice comes from your audience. Here’s what she told me:

I know you and what you do, but I still haven’t any idea what you are talking about in those squibs (short written pieces -Ed.) on Facebook. That Palapa – or whatever – haven’t a clue what it is. I get the impression it is a group of you who go somewhere and have a meeting. Maybe a group of psychologists? (She knows I was previously a therapist -Ed.)

In your squibs, I don’t know who you are – what you do. Is it conferences for people who want help? But then what? Are you a lecturer? Salesman? Group leader?

Do you go away to some hotel on the weekend? Get together and listen to a speaker?

For an unknowing reader, you are starting in the middle of things I think.

Who are you? Are there more than one of you? A group? A couple of people in practice together?

Who are you talking to most of the time? Each other?

This is what I think you need to say:

Are you stressed with your job? Are you looking for a new beginning? It is difficult these days to know where to turn… etc.

Start at the beginning – “I am Steve Coxsey,” then give your title or your profession. I am part of a group who work together, or I work alone.

I work with people who want a new beginning in their business, or a new direction for their business, or their spiritual life, or daily life, or whatever it is.

I offer group sessions, or individual sessions only, or telephone workshops.

Tell what this Palapa thing is in plain English: a retreat, or a podcast. Where is it? When? How often? What do you do at this particular event? Listen to a talk? Participate in a support group? Attend a conference?

I have been sort of trying to follow you, but I don’t know the answers to any of these things. Perhaps this is why you get no response. You mention people’s names. Who are they? What are they to you? Co-workers, lecturers that you attend, a sponsor? What do you do together?

I admit I don’t read everything carefully – but then I wouldn’t know what you were talking about if I did – even though I know what you do. Someone who doesn’t know you will be hopelessly lost. (emphasis added)

You need to keep repeating the intro about yourself periodically as you will not always have the same crowd. You need to say:

1. Hey! It’s you I want to help
2. I am qualified
3. Here’s how I can help
4. Here are some of my tools – palapa podcasts, etc.
5. Feel free to ask how I can help you.

I hope this is some help.

You are probably ready to shoot either me or yourself, but it is my reaction only to what I have seen.

Well, I certainly wasn’t ready to shoot her, or even myself. The next time I see her I owe her a big hug and a kiss.

She laid out basic marketing 101:
1) Call to your market by describing them and the problem or challenge they are facing
2) Establish credibility
3) Show the benefit of what you do
4) Explain the features of what you do, which means how you provide the benefit
5) Call them to a simple action step

I think Aunt Smackdown has a formula she can use to fill marketing guru workshops! I’m definitely going to put her recommendations to work and improve the way I talk about the podcast on social media.

What about you? Is it clear what you do when you talk about your business? Is it clear to people what you are asking them to do when you publicize your product or service?

Do they know who you help? Can they tell if it’s for them?

Do they know what you are offering to them? Do they know how and where to get it? Do they know what it costs in money, time, and commitment?

I wrote about clarity for self-employed people describing what they do back in November. I regularly see lots of people struggling with this and I thought it was sad that they couldn’t see it and didn’t know what the problem was. Now I’m extending a little more compassion… to all of us!

Often the answers can be clear and straightforward, but recognizing the problem is not.

Oh, yeah. About the podcast thing. I’ll be rewording the way I present it. Any suggestions?

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