The Awkward Marketing Message: Go For It

Is it ever OK to have an AWKWARD marketing message?

Well, if your awkwardness includes sweaty palms, a penchant to dress up as a Bay City Roller,  and the uncontrollable urge to curse people out, I’d say  take a breather before proceeding.

But… if your awkwardness is more about revealing who you really are, showing up authentically, and even slightly vulnerably… my advice is to GO FOR IT.

Case in point: a client of mine, let’s call her “Anna” (not her real name), has transitioned from an entirely word-of-mouth marketing model to one that requires her getting out there and calling forth her ideal clients.

She’s never had to market her services before- her clients basically did that for her with endless referrals. Things like “client attraction” and “marketing” have all been foreign to her.

She’s in a different situation now. She needs to market and marketing is unfamiliar and uncomfortable.

Anna has a program coming up that she wants to fill. She’s meeting her lack of experience with marketing head-on as she gets the word out and connects with prospective clients. One thing she wanted to do was to send an email to her past clients and connections but since she NEVER emailed them before about working together, it felt really AWKWARD.

“What do I say? Should I start with telling them what the program is, how much it costs, and all the details? What if they think I’m crazy? I’ve never had to do this. I feel so weird contacting them. What if I turn them off? What if they don’t get what I’m doing?”, and on and on.

Anna’s head was in spin.

As Anna’s anxiety about communicating to her contacts increased, I suddenly had an idea.

“Anna, what you’re saying about not knowing what to say and if you’ll turn them off… is beautiful. It’s also brilliant. And I think you need to say, in your email, exactly what you’re saying right now.”

“Really?”, sighed Anna. (I could literally hear her voice change and become more calm as she spoke).

“Really”, I replied.

Anna was advised to be vulnerable. To email people and start with “You know what? I NEVER send emails about my programs and so this is a little awkward for me. But I know that this is something you’d benefit from so I’m willing to risk being vulnerable and just come right out and share what is going on.”

If you’re feeling awkward, and you know people will see your marketing as out of character for you, then just bring it out into the open! I challenge you to trust-fall into this exercise.

Here are some guidelines- and remember to take a big breath before you hit send!

1. ADDRESS THE AWKWARDNESS

If you’re doing something out of character or completely new and it’s freaking you out, there’s a place to address this. Just say “This isn’t what I normally do, but this is important so I’m willing to risk looking silly if it means I can help someone.” Like Anna, it gives you a place to be honest and make an emotional imprint on others.

2. DON’T BE WHINY

No need to take your story to the nth degree, otherwise it’ll sound whiny. “Well, I had a toothache and then it turned out I needed a root canal, and I had to go on antibiotics, then I had a reaction because I didn’t know I was allergic, and so I was out of it for like 5 months. It really sucked. Then my dog got sick and my car broke down. But hey, I have this program coming up that I think you need!”

3. DON’T BE DESPERATE

Like the whiny warning, don’t use this attempt to milk people’s sympathy. “I’m broke and I can’t pay my taxes, can you please buy something?’ That’s not using authentic awkwardness to build trust… that’s just being manipulative.

4. STAY AUTHENTIC

You’re doing this from a good place in your heart. Stay connected to that feeling.

5. DON’T WORRY TOO MUCH

Somebody will misinterpret your actions. Somebody somewhere will tell you that you should NEVER show your vulnerable side. I suggest you not worry so much about that. You’re stepping into being your truthful, honest, lovably awkward self in business and there are people out there who will stick with you because of it.

Don’t worry about getting this “right” because there is no standard of right and wrong for this. Just trust that when you’re working from the heart, amazing things will happen!

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I feel absolutely NO awkwardness, however, inviting you to a complimentary B&B (Brainstorm and Breakthrough) Session! Just answering the 4 questions on the application will shift you into a place of valuing the REAL YOU and the value you hold. If it feels like a fit, I’ll share with you how I help coaches, consultants, trainers, and speakers attract amazing clients with their amazing message. Come on… take the leap!

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Nancy Marmolejo November 6, 2014 Market Positioning, Uncategorized