The tone with which any company does their marketing is just as important to their brand as their logo, their aesthetic, and every other aspect we associate with a “brand.” But a successful and appropriate marketing tone cannot be established without building up a good level of authenticity. Today, Juliet Clark of Super Brand Publishing joins Tracy Hazzard to talk about how authenticity helps craft your marketing tone and your brand. Juliet and Tracy get into what makes for an appealing marketing tone, and how a company can get to that level without having to try too hard.
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Peppering Marketing Tone
We finally got ourselves started here. We managed to make it work though so we can talk about marketing tone.
Did you make the drink?
I did. Although, it’s not coffee. I wish I could have made coffee, but I won’t sleep. I’ve got my hot chocolate version of it, which is a lot more Italian. I didn’t have gelato, but I had whipped cream. It all melted.
This was called affogato.
It’s got this vanilla pepper and lemon zest. I have to tell you that I’ve been doing affogato toast every day. There’s this place in town that does it with this lemon peppers, that’s crunchy, salty, peppery and it’s got lemon zest on it. They put it on top of their affogatos. I’m totally addicted to it. This has the same taste with only a little bit of vanilla to it. It’s awesome.
What do you put on your affogato toast? I make it all the time too.
I went to Trader Joe’s and there’s already a premixed zest. It has lemon, pepper and salt mixed together. I add a little extra salt to it because I don’t think it’s crunchy enough. I use the Himalayan salt that’s thick and crunchy. It adds a few crunches of that to the top. I crunch over my affogato and that’s it.
I throw eggs over easy on mine when I get back from running and the cold treat.
I’m allergic to eggs. It is one of my favorite foods and I’m allergic to them.
You don’t get flu shots either.
I’ve never done it. I love the cocoa version of the coffee. It’s working for me. It’s probably going to help me get through because I could use a little sugar jolt.
I didn’t make any because it’s going to be 22 degrees here in the morning. I’ll have it in the morning.
I think this would totally set the tone for that. You get a warm, fuzzy feeling. You’re going to set the tone for how you’re going to feel all day, even though it’s cold outside. We want to match our tone, but I liked the zesty over the top personality that is usually me and all of my tone.
You know me, I’m sarcastic.
Which is harder to get across through.
It’s not really.
It doesn’t always read well.
That’s true. In fact, I posted this thing on Facebook about texting is not really dating because think about that for a minute. If you have a text, I will do it all in caps to my kids. They will be like, “Quit shouting at me.” I’ll be like, “I’m not shouting.” People don’t understand when you’re writing like, “What is the tone of what you’re doing?”
They don’t understand it at all. That’s always interesting that it’s confusing. What I think is that if you are the brand, if it’s truly you. It’s different when you have a corporation. You have to adopt a different tone for a corporation than you do for your personal brand. At the end of the day, sales are basically your responsibility. You do the attraction, people show up and they close because they want access to you, then your tone better match you. If it doesn’t match you and they come into your program and they go, “High energy over here and all numbers and data over here, it doesn’t make sense to me.” You will attract the wrong people is what will happen and tone does that.
Tone not only does that. That’s where that authenticity comes in because people, for the most part, if you work for a corporation, they hire the corporation. If you’re a solopreneur or a small business, they’re hiring you. When you say that doesn’t match, it’s disappointing for people. If they want to hire an active person and you turn out to be a nansy-pansy person, that’s a problem. Let’s talk a minute for about a lot of tone that goes on out there that nobody’s buying into.
There’s a lot of that scary, anger and fear-based stuff.
Fear of missing out, you’ve got to get this. It’s scarcity.
I am not a fan of that sales process in any way, shape or form. I’m not a fan of doing that on your website. There are some exceptions to that. Some counters help when you have a deadline, like a true deadline, not a foe deadline, like, “My Bootcamp is coming up.” You’ve got a counter up there. Giving them a little bit of pressure to make sure they remember and realize, “That is only two days away.” That’s okay. That’s no fear of missing out. It’s in a good way. It’s like, “If you want this, don’t forget about it.” That’s what they are doing. You’re not scaring them into that. There are some places where urgency matters. Urgency isn’t fear-based. That means I have to deal with something in a timely manner.
Here’s the urgency that’s not working. I tried to sell you something. It’s $2,500. We have ten bonuses and every day, a bonus is going away. People are over that.
I’m not a fan of it at all. I agree with you. I don’t think it works anymore, but then, I go to an event and I see these people marching to the back of the room. I’m thinking to myself, “You’re going to regret this later,” because you tapped into that lizard brain. You let them take advantage of you and you will regret it later. I found out that it comes out in different ways. When people buy through those processes, whatever it might be, they either get passive-aggressive about it, where they don’t show up to stuff. If they show up and they got something back, then they’d have to admit they were wrong about it. They get pissed at themselves and they say, “I’m going to sabotage this.” That’s what that really is. You’re only sabotaging yourself because you already paid the money. If you can get something out of it, if you can identify that there is no value out of it because you participated in the process. You have a better likelihood of getting your money if that’s what you need, than you do if you don’t show up at all. You don’t participate in the process.
We talk about this a lot. How many people sign up for a show and then don’t show?
We started changing up our tone. We changed up our website. Everything’s very different. Our website has gotten more corporate. What’s important was that we pulled it more out of being all about me and Tom. Because of that, it has worked better and converting better. This has gotten a little bit more no-nonsense. This is the process. This is how it works. While we still have lots of one-on-ones and lots of high touch stuff with people, there’s a larger number of people coming through it, who were like, “I want this plug and play. I want the system.” That has helped us grow tremendously. That’s working for us.Tone is where your perceived authenticity comes in. Click To Tweet
If we look at several days alone, we’ve raised our conversion of the people who go through our setup process faster at higher speeds. I think changing the tone of all of this helped. While I want to be very nurturing, we adopted a tone that’s not as nurturing. We’re not here whenever you get around to it. This is the process. This is for people who are serious. A little different tone, a little much more urgent. Not fear of missing out in any way, shape or form but saying, “That’s what we’re here for. When you’re ready for us, you know where we are but we’re not here to nurture you along the way.”
Push you into, “You need to do this.” People are either action takers or they’re not. The number one thing that I hear is, “I don’t have time for content.” That does shock me because they purchased with the absolute intent, but they’re still telling themselves in their mind that, “I don’t have time for this.”
My answer to that is, “How many phone calls did you take in a week?” There’s a whole different model of it. It’s like letting them understand and realize that you are putting those blocks in those barriers in your own way. That’s important to get across. You can do that without being pushy, angry, or making them fear for what they’re not doing. They need to feel good about themselves. They need to feel positive that this is going to move them in the direction that they want to go and that you’re there for them and with them. It’s not you’re co-creating and that’s a tone. That’s what we want to do, “We’re here for you. We’ve got your back. We’ve got the best system.” It’s a very confident and reassuring tone that we’ve chosen to take because we know what we’re doing.
There’s none of this making this stuff up as we go along. We’d done over 300 shows. We do tens of thousands of episodes. There’s none of that here. You can adopt a different tone for yourself at stages of your business too. That’s something that I want you to understand is that you can start in a certain place because you’re early attracting business and it’s all about you. You can shift to something else and that’s okay. You haven’t left people behind because most of your clients have never visited your website. They already bought it from you. They’re not going to go back to it. We have a dashboard that they go back to all the time. It’s a no-nonsense business in that dashboard and they get it. It’s always been like that. That’s what coaching calls are for. It’s for you being you and you being there to help them and they know you’re there. Tones are different in different pieces of marketing too.
That’s why people rebrand too because of their tone of marketing changes.
What I don’t love is that they rebrand too quickly. They rebrand just to rebrand and that’s not necessary. If it’s not working for you, go ahead and rebrand. We rebranded our business three times. We had three different names, three different complete brand makeovers. We did it, but each time we were shifting that tone to only a smaller amount. We were going from this starter beta model to go into, “We’re a startup still, but we’re past that figuring it out stage. We have systems.” Now we’re at this, “We’re the best in the business. We’ve got you covered.” That’s when it’s time. You know when it’s time, but those that come in and they hire a new designer and they’re like, “Your stuff is ugly. Let’s change it.” That is not a reason to rebrand. If it’s not converting for you, it’s time to rebrand.
We also don’t want to throw up everything out when we rebrand. We don’t want to throw everything away and adopt something that someone says, “That’s to you.” We want to say, “I know when I do one-on-ones, I convert. What is that tone that is me? What is coming across that is me that’s working? What gets them in a type of call to me? Is it my LinkedIn posts, which are more businesslike? Is it my Instagram posts, which is all about me and my dog?” You’re thinking about the way that you approach it, then start looking at what’s been converting for you and say, “There’s something to that tone that’s working. Let me try it on a grander scale. Let me try it on the landing page. Let’s not redo our entire website. Let’s try a landing page with it before we go any further.”
That’s how people bootstrap themselves to bankruptcy too is the entire makeover without tiptoeing in and seeing what works and which they’re at.
That’s what I am not a fan of and I call hypothesis branding. We step into our branding spending as little money as possible to test out the market reach. We’re testing it out. We’re going back and forth and it’s a dialogue. In a dialogue, you have to listen at some point. You’re not speaking the whole time. You have to listen, evaluate, observe, review and say, “Here are some of the things that are working. Let me try them purposefully. Let me try them with intent and let’s see what happens. Do I get a greater conversion?” Let’s give it enough time. That’s also something in our tone and experimentation. We’re like, “I put out a post on that and it didn’t go over well.” It could be that you put it out at 9:00 AM on a Monday and no one had time to look at it. You got to give stuff enough time and that’s something that happens very frequently in marketing. We give up so fast because we did once.
I want to switch gears here by speaking the right tone with the right level of intimacy. What a lot of people do is they have a one size fits all marketing campaign. They talk to their new Facebook ad people like they’re their best friends. These people don’t know you. They don’t like you. They don’t trust you.
They like numbers.
They want free stuff. Sometimes, they even don’t read the free stuff. They just download it and it seems like a wish. I think the tone is important there in understanding who you’re talking to. They call those Facebook ad awareness campaigns. If I’m aware of you, I’m not going to treat you like my best friend if you’re a girl. If you’re a guy, I’m not going to flirt with you and all those things. There are boundaries to your tone.
I might flirt with you if it’s going to work. Whenever we build a great product, whenever we build anything on marketing, we look at it as we have competitive edge things we need to do. We have to look at what else is out there. What is the tone of all the other gurus out there talking about podcast launching or book launching or lead generation? They’re yelling at you. That’s what it feels like. While I want to be passionate and energetic and that’s naturally who I am, I don’t want to lecture them. I don’t want to say, “This is what you have to do.” I want to say, “This is what’s working. Do you want to know more about it? Come see the webinar. Do you want stuff that works? I got stuff that works. Do you want to know how to do something? I’m your how-to girl.” I am confident in who I am and I’ve got you covered.
That’s the tone that I build, but I built it to contrast the tone that was out there. The tone that was, “I’m giving you little teasers and look at this bomb I’m dropping you, aren’t you impressed? If you’re impressed, you’re going to buy my next thing. I forgot. I didn’t give you everything. You’re going to buy my next thing.” That is not who I am. That is not the building up of adrenaline and that’s what they’re doing with that. While you want adrenaline, you want someone to get out of their own head in their own way to buy what they want to buy, but we don’t have to do it in a manipulative way and tone can change that. The way that you speak to people can change that.
You can and it promises people as well like, “How many of those videos have you seen? My beautiful house, my beautiful wife and my beautiful car.” That doesn’t work either because that’s got an instant gratification tone. You can bet that that beautiful house didn’t happen in the six months to six figures that the person is promising. You can probably also bet that he doesn’t live there. It’s a photoshoot.
Speaking tone, video tone and all that tone is one tone. We also have written tone and this is where I see it goes wrong. We take templates. We were talking about the email templates many times, “My friend Juliet does this.” We get afraid of writing things that we plagiarize anything we think is working. What we don’t realize is most of it is not working out there. We’re plagiarizing stuff that doesn’t work. That’s a huge problem out there. You’re plagiarizing stuff that somebody chose to package up which means that there are hundreds of other people out there utilizing it. It’s not working because the minute my brain goes to a pattern, that there’s a pattern of it, my brain knows it’s not authentic.
Can I share with you my most successful webinar ever?
Yes, please.Authenticity is what makes your tone work. Click To Tweet
We had one of those cute little templates and my assistant spelled a word wrong in the header. You have to remember that a couple of years ago, I was strictly books. I wasn’t doing as much platform building with assessment marketing. People started sending me back nastygrams on my list telling me that I shouldn’t be in the book business because I had a typo. It gnawed on me and I got up in the middle of the night and I compose an authentically angry email, a rant about how as an author, if you don’t have a platform, nobody’s going to read your book. They don’t care if you’re a grammar-Nazi and everything is perfect. They don’t care about misspellings. They don’t care about any of that. They have to know who you are, even if you’re the best writer in the world. I invited them all to my webinar and said, “You don’t even have to register. Here’s the link.” We had more people show up that day than we ever had shown up because I was playing like, “Screw you, guys.”
Did that tone work for you?
It did because it was authentic. It was funny because I told my coach about it and she’s like, “I can’t believe you did that.” More people showed up and bought than ever before.
A written tone is harder to get across who you are. You get worried about grammar. You get worried about everything about it. That’s why people copy so often. I’m a fan of, “I get the gist. I need an opening sentence about pain, what people are suffering with and what’s going wrong. Maybe I need three bullet points that relate to that in my head. Now, I’m going to write a little bit about me with no more than two sentences.” That’s how I deconstruct something that works. If I see this and I’m like, “That really worked. I know that they converted. I know they had a ton of people because I was on the webinar and there were hundreds of people there.” I’m going to go back to their emails. I’m going to deconstruct them, but I’m not going to copy a single word off of it. I’m going to write an outline. I’m going to put this outline out there. Since I’m comfortable in front of the microphone, I’m comfortable ad-libbing and I know my business well, I will turn my recording on and I will start recording. I will start dictating a letter in a way or dictating what I want the website to say. I go in ahead and have it transcribed and now I edit it because it does have to read well.
I know that, but I got the energy of who I am and my tone in that. I might do it two or three times and then transcribe them and meld them together. That’s my process for doing it. Otherwise, you don’t get who you are in it and I’m comfortable sitting down and writing and being in my tone. I’m writing your introductory chapter for you. Your foreword and I’m sitting down to write it and I was like, “I need to be a little more me in this than I was,” so I am rewriting it for you. I realized that because you’re so you in your book, I need to be me as well. I immediately changed my opening paragraph and I’m fessing up to the fact that I have all these books on my credenza and I haven’t published them because it makes sense with what you’re talking about. I wouldn’t have done that if I hadn’t like, “It doesn’t fit the tone of her book. Even though this might be me, but this isn’t right for her book. It isn’t right for the audience that’s going to read it. They need me to be a little more the real me.”
You know me, it’s sarcastic. It’s directed to the point, but I think it’s much needed.
I think what you provide is a very distinct contrast to the competitors out there and that’s what we’ve talked about. At some point, you have to set yourself apart. You can do that in a good way. You can do it in an obnoxious way. I’ve seen people do that. I think maybe it was one of the very first shows we did for the Marketing Monday Mixer, where we were talking about the webinars. There was someone who was inviting them to it, saying, “This is not going to have any sales in this.” That was their message on their posts for the webinar, “There will be no sales here. There isn’t any of that at all. The only thing at the end is going to be, if you want to have a call with me, I’m going to give you a number so you can.” That’s it. It’s just that and that’s a contrasting message, but in a good way that makes me feel more comfortable about the fact that I might tune in to this webinar and invitation in. Him doing that was a great contrast to what else was going on in the industry. You can still do it in a nice way. You don’t have to do it in a negative way. I’ve seen people do it with shock and sometimes that’s okay because it’s what’s needed, but sometimes it’s over the top and who needs more of that?
We don’t need over the top.
The only other thing I want to say is visual matters. We talked about colors and some visual things previously. We were talking about visuals and visual tone matters too. If there’s a contrast between the colors of your website or the colors of your landing page or the ad, that is not helping the message. If it’s not moving the message and the tone forward, then don’t do it. You can’t have dangerous signs and symbols over everything and then have your tone be like, “Welcome. I’m glad I’m inviting in.” It’s not going to work.
It’s the same with pictures. When you go get the images from it, don’t make your images not match your personality. If you look at my stuff, it’s always over the top. You look at it and go, “What?
I’m like, “This is interesting,” and that’s okay because it gets people to look. A visual tone that is not synergistic with the messaging that’s on the site creates this tension. Desynchronization is what it is. We can’t reconcile that in our bodies, which gives us this heightened sense of something’s wrong. If something’s wrong, I’m not going to buy. You can immediately have that mix happen and it’s because we chose the colors we like, not necessarily the colors that were right for the messaging or the colors that were right for the audience and what they needed to receive.
That is true and neuroscience is proving that the tension and what you were saying about the patterning. If we go to a landing page and it looks like every other landing page that we have seen, it’s not comforting, it’s boring.
It won’t matter how great the message is. If we feel we’ve seen it or read it before, we will skip it. That’s another important thing is do not overbrand. You get this tone and this idea and you’re like, “I’m going to use purple everywhere.” If you overbrand that and it looks the same every time you post, it’s a huge problem. We have a rule that we don’t repeat our imagery for more than five weeks in a row or sooner than five weeks in a row. That’s our rule of the pacing of imagery, colors especially. That’s in content because the content is always changing. It’s easier. We still need the tone of the content to match the colors that are chosen there. There’s no difference there, but it means that we aren’t picking the same picture again, the same background color and the same flap. When you do it, people believe that they’ve seen it before and they will skip it.
They definitely will and you have to remember, we are not Elle from Legally Blonde. Everything does not have to be pink.
We’re not five anymore. At five, everything needs to be pink.
I know everything needs to be pink. It’s so funny because my first brand when I came in for a rebrand, the reason I did it was because I had black and pink. It was Pink Panther colors. Somebody came in and said, “That’s awfully immature,” and I’m shocked.
It might not have fit, which I bet it was more the case than it not being the right colors because I have seen pink and black work. My five-year-old daughter got an early Christmas present jacket from my sister. It’s a pale lavender-pink color. It’s got a bit of pink to it, but it’s still more on the purple side. I said, “Vanessa, this is gorgeous. It’s such a pretty purple color.” She looks at me and she goes, “It is pink.” How we perceive our colors matter more. It’s in the eyes of the beholder. If your tone and your audience want pink, then give them pink.
In our next episode, we’re going to do serve versus sell and I have so much to say about this. We’ll see you next time.
I can’t wait to talk to you all and please share Marketing Monday Mixer out to everyone and remind them that we’re here. If you have any questions or any comments as you’ve typed them in, we’ll reach back and we’ll make sure we answer them for you. Thank you.
- Marketing Monday Mixer
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