If you’re human and breathing, it’s pretty likely that you have at least one friend who work for a multi-level marketing company. While these companies are sometimes unfairly the cause of ridicule, I understand where people’s frustration comes from. Instead of getting marketing messages from one parent company, you get marketing materials from each of your friends who supports or work with that company.
That’s not terrible in and of itself. However, the things that tends to frustrate people is that almost all of those people are hitting you with the exact same marketing message. And it usually sounds something like: “THIS PRODUCT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE”.
And why do I need my life changed? What is your product really going to do for me?
The problem these companies and those who work for them run into is differentiation. The marketing messages can feel repetitive because they are. The individual sellers often don’t know how to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace. The same can be said for – ahem – social media consultants or anyone else trying to operate independently in a crowded marketplace.
In order to be successful you need to stand out – but how?
Insert my friend Allison.
Allison recently offered me something I wanted: a way to get more quality time with my family. Even better, she said I was probably already doing it! Win-win! Allison sells great toys and books – but so do others I know. So instead of telling me what I already know – that my kids want more toys and books – Allison offered me something I want. She positioned herself as an expert and used a marketing message that works for busy professionals to differentiate herself in a crowded marketplace. She provided value to me instead of just trying to offer me a minimal discount. That’s what caught my attention.
In order to get more attention from people in her target market who AREN’T already her friends, she ran a targeted Facebook Ad campaign. Facebook ads can be very beneficial to businesses – but only if they’re used strategically. If Allison were using this ad to continue to say the same thing everyone else is saying, it likely would have been a waste of her time and money.
Since we’re friends, there’s a strong chance I’d work with Allison anyway. But if we weren’t – she’s now got my attention in a way that others who are selling the same products don’t. This makes me part of her sales funnel – I trust her and am more likely to purchase from her in the future. Allison understood the importance of being helpful and how that can set you apart from other while also helping your clients.
Plus, this is an excellent example of how creating quality content can make your business more likely to get shared (or linked to by the New York Times).
Note: Allison did not know I was writing this until after I did. I was not compensated in anyway – I just think this was a great, comprehensive campaign.