We all have one in our lives. The Negative Nancy or Nigel who will tell us that our business idea is flawed and that there is NO WAY KNOWN TO MAN that they would be taking the path that you’re taking.
While our initial reaction might be to hike up a little bit of spit into our mouth to send it in their general direction, I’m telling you that you should swallow that little lump of spit, embrace their negativity and use it to your advantage.
I’m saying sit down with Nancy/Nigel and listen to what they have to say.
It’s true that you can’t be everything to everyone and you can’t win ‘em all. But if you can listen to these people you can be prepared for EVERY objection that you’re going to come across later when you hit the market with your business idea. If you’re ready to walk away in disgust and write them out of your will, try instead to use your naysayer as your trusted adviser.
Ask questions about their objections. Questions like “Why would you say that? What is it about what you’re saying that you know? Have you seen this happen before?” can really help you get to the root of their criticism.
By asking these questions you might realise that the way that you structure your business might need to change or that you are simply not communicating your idea effectively. How great if, from this encounter you find that all you need to do is to change the way that you explain your offering to your market, and you could have clients begging to work with you or buy from you.
If Negative Nelly says that she’s seen this tried and fail before, really delve into that. Find out what the situation was, what they could see as a prevention or solution for that. Not only do we all love to be problem-solvers and to be helpful, we thrive when we’re being listened to. As theology academic, David Augsburger said “Being heard is so close to being loved that – for the average person – they are almost indistinguishable” so you might actually build a greater bond with this person by listening to what they are saying to you.
Good business and marketing strategy is about solving a pain or problem for the customer. You might find from the discussion with this person that THEY don’t have the problem that you are aiming to solve for your target market. At the very least, you will know from this informal market research that this Nelly’s demographics or psychographics are not in the market for your offering. This can be invaluable information for your marketing planning and strategy or in deciding whether you want to go back to your offering and find a way to meet the needs of this particular market segment.
Ultimately it is your decision how you use the information that you have mined from your friend, Negative Nigel and you may very well decide to ignore him because you feel he is ill-informed. But at least you have opened yourself up to the opportunities and the objections that might come at you later. You never know; your biggest critic might become your biggest advocate and although listening to the negativity might be uncomfortable at first, you will at least be forewarned and forearmed before you start the journey.
What do you think? Can you swallow the spit ball and get into brave Boss Mode and hear out your biggest critic?
I recently met with a client whose marketing manager said that they were no longer sending out emails. The manager believed and voiced that “Email is dead”. I felt like I needed to have a memorial service for email marketing but I knew that this was an effective tool for me and I felt a need to be armed with the facts when someone tells me this again.
Some of us have invested heavily in email marketing programs and funnels and we need to know whether we should continue to invest time and resources to our email providers and whether email marketing strategies should continue as a key communication tool.
So, I’ve investigated a little further – not just for the next time I am asked about the facts of email marketing now but also to know what the future is for email marketing.
Here’s what research is telling us about email marketing and how the research should impact on our communications strategies and engaging with our audiences as well as selling our products or services.
Segmentation ensures that you’re sending relevant content to each member of your audience. You can segment by demographics (age/gender/etc.), geographic location, responses to surveys, purchase history, website behaviour and more. Further personalisations such as using the recipient’s name in the email are improving ROI on email marketing and increasing click through rates to e-commerce platforms by up to 58%.
There you have it. You and I are now armed with a reason to continue with our email marketing strategies. I’m not saying that email marketing is the be-all and end-all but it definitely should be used in conjunction with your other marketing strategies.
My biggest recommendation is to analyse your email marketing campaigns constantly and see what your audiences are opening, continue to use email as an engagement tool for brand awareness and loyalty and check out what messages work for your customers and potential clients.
Don’t give up on email marketing …. Get out there are talk to your tribe.