Tis the season for resolutions. But if there’s something you really want to change, I have a question for you.
Why wait for January?
It’s a question I’m pondering as I make some changes in how I operate. Small but relevant example: I’ve wanted to start publishing shorter pieces of content. Not everything needs to be 1200+ words.
But I’m a planner and a plotter. It also doesn’t help that short content feels intimidating. We can’t all be Seth Godin, now can we?
So instead of just writing a short piece and hitting publish, I’ve been thinking through how I could roll out this change and blah blah blah.
But then I thought…why not just do it now?
So here I am, with a short post.
It’s kind of frightening, to be honest. But also exhilarating to simply do it.
Maybe there’s some small change you’ve wanted to make. What are you waiting for?
When I moved to Northern California from Chicago, I expected to work through some culture shock, and 4 years later, I still am.
As an example, Midwesterners tend to smile more. Merge lanes out here are shorter, and people just sort of drift into the combined lane without speeding up or slowing down to accommodate other cars. It’s terrifying, and I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.
Other culture changes were good ones. I doubt I’d ever have trained for or completed a triathlon back in Chicago.
Before I lived here, I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but I knew that there would be differences. I was ready for it, or so I thought…
What I wasn’t ready for was the feeling that I needed to learn a whole new language.
Now, Chicago is a pretty liberal place. But the city doesn’t have as much of the Eastern-influenced wellness practices or the New Age spiritualism that the Bay area is known for. All of a sudden, I was having conversations where things like Reiki and energy work were coming up.
I had NO idea what any of that meant and spent a lot of time asking and Googling to figure it out.
The idea of “manifesting” was also a new one for me. I remember vividly turning to a friend as we rode in an elevator and asking, “Serious question…What does ‘manifesting’ mean? It’s something people say a lot, and I kind of get it, but I feel like I’m missing something.”
I’m a smart, college-educated woman. I gathered that to manifest something was to make it happen in some way. But the people around me were using this word so much that I knew was missing part of their meaning. It was starting to bug me.
Depending on where you live and who you know, you’re either nodding your head along or shaking it slightly in disbelief.
And that’s the point.
Context matters. The language you use does not get communicated in a vacuum.
One of the things I see among businesses and marketers that struggle is a lack of attention to the way their words fit into the broader context of what their audience already understands about the topic.
If you’re a Reiki practitioner in the Bay area, it’s not going to hold you back if you use words like energy work and attunement. But if you’re trying to have a more widespread appeal, ask yourself, “Have I heard my audience use these words in their day-to-day life? If not, how would they talk about their challenges and desires instead?”
If you’re going to succeed in attracting an audience to your work, having the discipline to 1) pay attention to your customer’s language and 2) use it in your marketing and communications is non-negotiable.
This is especially important for two reasons:
1. The language you use will naturally exclude some and create strong bonds with others.
The reason I asked my friend for her definition of manifesting was not to put her on the spot, but because I felt like I was missing something essential to the group of people I was in.
But make no mistake, this took courage. Most people will just walk away if they feel uncomfortable or excluded in a conversation.
When your language is inclusive, it has the opposite effect. It creates a bond between you and your audience. It draws you closer together.
You cannot possibly appeal to everyone with your marketing language. That’s not the point here. What’s important is that you’re not accidentally excluding the very people you want to attract.
2. When you talk in your customer’s language, you are using one of the most powerful psychological triggers and sales techniques.
Here I’m referring to the psychological concept of mirroring.
Mirroring is the behavior in which one person subconsciously imitates the gesture, speech pattern, or attitude of another.
Have you ever noticed that when you spend a lot of time with a close friend, you start to adopt some of their mannerisms or phrases? Maybe you pick up on a certain verbal tick they have and unconsciously start to use it. Or you talk a little faster. Or louder.
I tend to pick up accents very quickly, and I always thought it was a failing. Why couldn’t I just be myself, I wondered?
But what I’ve learned is that this is something all humans do instinctively, to varying degrees.
It’s part of the very fabric that holds us together. It’s an essential social function, because we’re hard-wired to like people who are similar to us.
In sales, you can mirror your customers language to send an unconscious signal that says, “I get you. You belong here.”
Mirroring is a powerful technique, and it’s so easy to use.
Marketing is more about listening than it is about broadcasting.
The key to using your customer’s language is making a point to listen to the words they say and making sure your own language matches.
You can and should introduce your own concepts, but only in a way that builds from the understanding your customer brings to the process.
A while back, I shared a simple resource for recording customer language and turning it into blog topics. Here that is again:
Sometimes a simple change can transform your business. This is one of those times.
I’ve been down-and-out with the flu for the past 3 weeks, which has given me a lot of time for reflection. I’ve been considering the past year — what went well and what I’d like to switch up.
And in the process, I realized that one of the absolute highlights of my year was teaching at CreativeLive.
Even though my class was back in February (I taught 3 actually!), I am always hearing from students, who are sharing the results they’ve achieved.
Whether it’s an email from Roxana Villa, whose perfume line was covered in Allure Magazine, or DaKari Williams, who told me that my course changed his career after he was able to get a gig writing for ESPN.com, CreativeLive was a transformational experience for many of the students I’ve heard from.
When I get emails sharing wins like these, what I realize is that I’m more motivated to help you achieve your own success through teaching and training than to do it all for you.
I’m going to be releasing an opportunity to train your team (even if it’s just you and a VA), so that you can get results like Roxana and DaKari without having to hire an expensive agency. But that’s not actually what this email is about!
You see, Creative Live wasn’t just an amazing experience — it was a crazy time!
If you’ve taken any of my classes, you probably can’t tell that the entire experience was a whirlwind. With the support of my amazing producer, Bryan Lemos, everything went off without a hitch.
But the truth is that I was approached about doing a class in November, signed the contract in December and immediately started putting together content to teach 3 programs in the beginning of February.
All of this on top of my active client load!
It was insane!
By mid-January, I was really worrying about my classes. I wasn’t sure how to balance the fact that you have a live studio audience right in front of you, but you’re really teaching for all the thousands of people who will watch the videos later.
It felt like this weird hybrid, and I didn’t know how to make both audiences feel a connection to me and to the content.
This is when I decided I needed to get an outside opinion. It was time to bring in the big guns.
In this case, I’m referring to Breanne Dyck.
You might not know Breanne, but she’s become one of the most highly regarded business and learning strategists in the online marketplace. She’s one of those people the “big names” go to behind the scenes when they want to get their business and online courses to the next level.
I hired Breanne to go through my Creative Live presentation with a fine-tooth comb. Specifically, her task was to look for opportunities for me to draw the audience in and give them a feeling that they were making progress.
Small wins are so important in PR, because it can take months to see your outreach come to fruition.
Breanne was able to help me add in some new activities and restructure some of my lessons.
And the result…Well, here’s what Bryan, my producer, had to say about my teaching:
“I can’t say enough about Brigitte. She is just the type of speaker you want to book. Brigitte came to CreativeLive prepared above expectations, tailored her information directly to our audience, and was upbeat and engaging through it all. Our audience was buzzing regarding her content and talent.”
I wanted to tell you about this today, because Breanne just released her new book, Beyond Satisfaction.
The book is all about crafting a highly profitable online course, program or workshop without having to settle for less-than-transformational results. It’s full of case studies and research that helps you create a course that truly gets results.
And for a limited time, you can get a copy free on Amazon.
If you’ve struggled to put together a course, workshop or online program, I can’t recommend Breanne’s work more highly.