By Leah McHenry
How to Promote Your Products Online:
Part 1 - Culture
This post is an introduction to successful marketing and promotion online and is not a step-by-step tutorial (there is no way a blog post could sufficiently provide that level of detailed information - not even in a Youtube video), however, the information in this post is incredibly valuable and will help you become more successful because great marketing and promotion is based on a few core principles that guarantee a measure of success, depending on what you do with it. I've spent a wild amount of time and money to learn these core principles and have real-world experience to back it up. I've failed many times and succeeded many times. Now you get the benefit! Say thank you 😉
Everything Hinges On This One Thing
I know, I know, you want to get to the part where I tell you about the slick Facebook and Instagram ads, and that little copywriting formula hack that gets insane click-through-rates. But I can't in good conscience do that. At least, not without first giving you the REAL formula for success and it begins with the one thing almost everyone skips and almost no one even thinks about.
That thing is your CULTURE.
What do I mean by that?
Culture is defined as a group of people who live or gather together around a specific set of ideas, interests, philosophies or way of life.
One way to think of this is in terms of magazines you see at Barnes and Nobles or any magazine stand.
There are thousands of different magazines on different topics, and each magazine caters to that one specialized niche topic. Some of them are broader than others, but they are highly curated collections of content created for a very specific demographic of people. There is no one-size-fits-all magazine that exists.
You've got so many niches it's crazy - from knitting in Alaska to Homesteading, every type of race car, to politics, religion, and waterskiing polar bears. And each of those magazines represents a specific culture of people.
My formula for brand culture is...
demographics (age, location, gender, etc.)
+ psychographics (thought and behavior patterns)
+ common interests and beliefs
You can do one of two things when it comes to building culture for your brand:
1. Tap into an existing culture that already exists that allows you to ride the wave and hack into it.
2. Create your own unique culture that is unique to your brand philosophy, products, and purpose.
I'll tell you from experience that option 1 is much easier than option 2.
Examples of option 1 would be brands like natural home and skin products and essential oil companies. They tap into a culture of moms with children who are concerned about their health and harsh chemicals in their homes, as well as the environment. Those moms are already looking for cleaner products to swap, so tapping into the culture of "clean and natural" is a good starting point. But oftentimes, successful companies go even deeper.
The Honest Company went beyond cleaning products and went into diapers, makeup, and even apparel. The founder, Jessica Alba uses this slogan to define what they are all about:
I created The Honest Company because you shouldn’t have to choose between what works and what’s good for you.
- Jessica Alba, Founder
An example of option 2, which is creating your own new culture rather than hacking into an existing one, is a brand like Dave Aspery's Bulletproof, which is a group of biohackers committed to longevity and using science to "hack" their bodies. Biohackers may have existed before, but Dave was one of the first people to create specific products and a whole brand around this concept and make it a household name.
There's nothing new under the sun, so it might be fair to say no one ever truly creates something no one else has, but we're talking about building a business that resonates with a passionate group of people. Oftentimes these brands are inventors or they're bringing something completely new to the table.
Whichever option fits with your brand, you MUST - MUST - MUST define your brand culture AND make sure you have your customer avatar fully defined.
What's a Customer Avatar?
Your customer avatar is a real or fictitious person who embodies the personality traits, demographic and psychographic characteristics of your ideal customer.
Another way to look at it is like this: Your customer avatar embodies the attributes of the people who get wildly excited about your products & services.
Who gets giddy over your products or services?
Not sure where to start with a customer avatar? Here's a worksheet I made for private coaching clients I'm making available for a limited time.
What is the difference between an avatar and culture?
Your avatar is the PERSON.
Your culture is the COMMUNITY.
The community is the variation and array of similar avatars who are all passionate about similar things related to your brand.
How Do You Figure Out Your Culture?
You need to do your homework! First, this doesn't need to be long and complicated. It's a matter of thinking about who YOU are as the founder. Most often, we are our own customers. We created products and services that WE needed because they didn't exist. You can get a LOT out of that.
The attributes of your culture and your avatar will absolutely overlap. If they don't, something might be off. With your avatar, we go over demographics and all those very specific things, whereas your culture is more of a broad THEME.
Again, think in terms of a niche magazine.
In fact, that's one of the exercises I give my students. Pick 3-5 magazines. Google digital magazine stands where you can select from hundreds of different niches. Find the top 3-5 that fit your brand. Imagine you were advertising a full-page in one of those magazines. Which ones would they be?
Now analyze who the readers are.... you are getting warmer!
I love using magazines as a starting place because they encompass many forms of media: photos, design, aesthetics, logos, colors, fonts, advertisements, articles, how-to columns, interviews with specific celebrities, guru's of that theme/topic, crossword puzzles with your niche words -- it's a little micro-culture in physical form!
I'm going to stop here because you have homework -- what is it??
That's right, choosing 3-5 magazines that align with your brand. Your culture is inside. Post below which magazines you chose!
Meet Leah: Starving artist to millionaire in 12 months. Overcoming a past of pain, a poverty mindset, and lack of business education, Leah went on to create multiple businesses into the high six and multiple seven figures. Aside from her passion for being a wife, and mother to her five children, she's also a well-known recording artist in the Symphonic Metal genre, lover of freedom, free-market capitalism, and follower of Jesus.