AUTHOR’S NOTE: So let me first say that the title of this article isn’t meant to be condescending or demeaning in any way. My dog is an exceptional marketer.
Aside from being my best friend and roommate, Caboose Arbogast is the chief security officer here at Eleven Eleven Media, and he does a great job. He is dedicated, vigilant and an excellent judge of character. But he’s more than that; he’s also a great resource to bounce marketing ideas off of.
Caboose has had some poignant insights over the past few months about how marketing to people is a lot like working with dogs, and I’d like to share a few of them with you here. Ready? Here we go!
4 Lessons My Dog Can Teach You About Marketing
- Don’t Take. Just Throw: Dogs love to play fetch. Caboose has this purple ball that he runs around the backyard with for hours. But Caboose DOES NOT want you to take the ball, even if you’re going to throw it immediately for him to chase after. He’ll set it down just out of arm’s reach, and then stare you down. When you go to pick it up, he grabs it and runs off. This game is a lesson in trust and patience. You must build trust with your customer and your leads. Give, but don’t take. Add value to the relationship. Show them you know what you’re doing. Show them that you actually have their best interests at heart, and that you want to solve their problem. When they trust that you know their game and are going to play, they’ll lay the ball at your feet.
- Give and Receive Affection: Boosie loves a good scratch behind the ear or a hug when I get home. He wants me to know that he’s happy to see me, and he wants to know that I’m happy to see him. Your customers want to know that you’re excited to see them when they walk through your door, and that you appreciate the fact that they chose you instead of your competitors down the street. They want you to acknowledge and reinforce the relationship. You can do this in a bunch of different ways—here are just a few:
- Shake their hand and look them in the eye to greet them. A simple (and sincere) “It’s great to see you,” goes a long way.
- Remember some personal details. Ask about the kids. Talk about that fishing trip they posted photos from on Facebook. Let them know they’re more than just a credit card transaction.
- Create a Frequent Customer discount or rewards system that incentivizes customers to come back regularly. But make sure it’s actually valuable—none of those “buy 14 lattes and get ten cents off your next bagel” deals.
- Give your website visitors a great online experience. Make yourself easy to find online and on social media. Provide insights into common issues your customers may have on your blog. Help solve problems. Make yourself accessible to them via email or Twitter or LinkedIn.
- When someone comments with a compliment or positive story online, thank them. Show that you actually participate in the conversation. Receive the affection, and acknowledge the giver.
- Keep it Short and Simple: Dogs hate complicated commands. They’re hard to understand. Your customers also hate complicated messages. What is it I’m supposed to do? What did they mean by that? What is it they are even trying to get me to do? Keep it simple and short, and always lead them where you want them to go. You can do this on your website by making sure you have at least 1 Call To Action (CTA) on every page that does not have a form. CTAs are the big colorful buttons that you press to get to the Really Cool Thing the site is offering (see the bottom of this blog for an example). If you’re not telling a website visitor where to go, most will just go somewhere else. Videos are also a great way to deliver information in an easily-digestible format. Just remember: Talk like people. Speak the language of your customer. Just because you have a proclivity for extrapolating significance via near-intelligible superfluous verbosity…that doesn’t mean you are making any sense to anyone else.
- Be Consistent: Training a dog can be taxing, but it pays off if you’re consistent with your message. No, you can’t chase the mailman. No, you can’t eat the cat food. Yes, you can run in circles in the backyard all you want! The same rule applies for your customers—you should have a specific message that you want to deliver, and you need to keep it consistent if you want your customers to effectively understand the message. Want an example? Sure you do! At Eleven Eleven Media, we help small businesses and non-profit organizations turn strangers into leads, leads into customers and customers into raving fans. We do this in a bunch of different ways—online videos, website development, inbound marketing, social media, radio and TV commercials…the list goes on—but the core message is that we help you grow your business. We tell your story to the right people at the right time in the right place. We learn about your organization and your goals, and we help you reach them. Simple.
So there you have it: 4 marketing lessons, taught to you by my dog Caboose. These are just some basic truths about customers and dogs. When you boil it down, we’re really not that different. We can be loyal, we can be fierce. We can be moody, we can be a lot of work, and we can be the best thing that ever happened to you. Treat us well, and we’ll be your buddy for life.
If you’d like to learn more about what we do here at Eleven Eleven Media, fill out the form below for a FREE marketing consultation…you might get a treat if you do!
Thanks for reading,
Mike and Caboose