Last week, I flew to Dallas to attend Off the Charts, a digital marketing and business-building conference hosted by digital strategist Nathalie Lussier. Lussier is a pro at all things tech-related when it comes to digital marketing, but the real reason I was drawn to the event was because of the accessible, authentic approach she and her community have in regards to marketing and growing your business.
The event was targeted at entrepreneurs, but the topics and teachings were translatable to any marketer or business builder, big or small, fresh-out-of-the-womb or old.
I scribbled through almost an entire notebook in three days, so there was a ton of juicy advice to noodle through—but here are five of my very favorite pieces of advice from the conference.
1. “Remember the Heart Beating Behind the Screen.”
If you follow my column, you know that I wholeheartedly believe that your marketing is the most effective and impactful when you talk to your target audience like humans.
As Lussier reminded the conference attendees, when you’re building a community online—whether you’re start a business or creating your personal brand—it’s easy to feel distant from your audience. They become avatars that you get to know through their click-throughs, downloads, and “likes.” But if you really want to create super-fan communities and, ultimately, sell your products, your programs, or yourself, it’s important to remember the heart beating behind the screen and figure out how to connect with them as people.
2. “People Don’t Pay to Get to Heaven. They Pay to Get Out of Hell.”
On a panel about sales, Liz Dialto, founder of Wild Soul Movement, said this gem. I sat with my mouth open for 10 minutes afterward. Isn’t it so true?
The lesson here: Don’t just tell your potential clients what having your product or program will get them, like a cleaner kitchen, a tighter butt, or more impactful marketing. Spend some time telling them what they’ll get to move away from—like feeling disorganized, insecure, or disempowered. At the end of the day, are your customers buying a tighter butt? Well, yes. But even more so, they’re buying the feeling of confidence.
3. “Be a Co-Creator With Your Tribe.”
In a session on business systems, Lussier outlined how she built her (very successful) business. It all came down her really listening to what people said they needed when they came to her for help.
It sounds straightforward, but so many businesses build products and programs based on what they think people need—and don’t actually check in with the people who need it until they hit the marketing phrase. At which point they usually realize that something is a little (or majorly) off.
To be successful, you have to work with your clients and community to develop what they’re looking for.
4. “It’s Not Going to Be Fun. It’s Going to Suck. Do it Anyway.”
During the conference, Sarah Jenks, founder of Live More, fielded a question from a woman who felt like she was at a pivotal part in her business, but was feeling stuck. When Jenks dug into why she was feeling that way, the woman admitted that she was avoiding an annoying task she needed to get done before she could really put all her energy into getting her business off the ground. Jenks replied, “It’s not going to be fun. It’s going to suck. Do it anyway.”
Yes, you want to create or work for a business you love, where the work feels like fun. But there are some not-so-fun things you’ll have to do to set up that businesses for success—like register for an LLC, write endless email copy, or switch to a new CMS.
But as Jenks reminded the audience at the conference, waiting for those things to get easier or more fun is a waste of time—to both you and the business. Just get them done so you can move on.
5. “First Things First. Second Things Not at All.”
Lussier shared this quote, said by management consultant and author Peter Drucker. After she put it up on the screen, she asked if anyone in the room felt relieved to read it, and about 200 people nodded their heads (this noggin included).
When you’re up against a big project—e.g., launching a new product, launching a new business, or launching a new marketing campaign—the tasks can feel endless and the whole project overwhelming. But one of the biggest indicators of a project’s success is how and what you prioritize. So get done what you really need to get done, and let the other stuff go.
Last big takeaway from the event: While digital marketing is one of the most effective ways to market your brand, there is nothing that beats getting out into the world and meeting your community face-to-face. So if you’ve been hiding behind that computer of yours, get out there. Your business (and brain) will thank you for it.
Photo of thumbs up courtesy of Shutterstock.
TopicsEntrepreneurship , Social Media , Motivation , Syndication , Marketing & PR , Front and Center by Alex Honeysett
Alex Honeysett is a Brand and Marketing Strategist who partners with CEOs, executives and solopreneurs to grow their personal and professional brands, human-to-human. After spending nearly a decade working in PR and marketing for multimillion dollar brands and startups, Alex knows what truly drives conversions, sold-out launches, and *New York Times* interviews—and it’s not mastering the marketing flavor of the week. It’s how well you connect with the heart-beating people you’re trying to help and communicate your understanding back to them. Alex has landed coverage in print and broadcast outlets around the world, including the Today Show, *Wall Street Journal*, Mashable, BBC, NPR, and CNN. Her own articles have been featured in The Muse, *Forbes*, *Inc.*, Mashable, DailyWorth, and *Newsweek*. In addition to her extensive PR and marketing experience, Alex is a trained business coach.More from this Author