A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend Copyblogger’s Authority Rainmaker Conference in Denver, Colorado. As a self proclaimed marketing nerd, this was an opportunity to mingle with my people.
I believe no matter how much experience you have in something, there is always room to learn more. Especially when the direction of an industry (like marketing) can change at the drop of a hat.
So for three days, I talked shop with fellow marketers, shared best practices, and heard some inspiring and educational talks about how to improve my existing marketing skills.
This was a conference about marketing, but I was able to pull away several lessons that float center owners can specifically use to improve their marketing efforts. Here are some of my key takeaways from the event.
Dan Pink – The new ABCs of Selling – Attunement, Buoyancy, Clarity
Dan Pink is the acclaimed author of “To Sell is Human” and “Drive.” Traditional selling is perceived as sleazy from the buyer’s perspective. If you’re familiar with the old ABCs of Selling (Always Be Closing), you know that approach won’t be well received in the laid back environment of a float tank center.
In the past we talked about selling in a float tank center. It should be mostly passive and as relaxing as a float.
Dan introduced us to his version of the ABCs of selling.
Attunement – Get out of your own head. Be empathetic to the needs of your customer. The best salespeople aren’t introverts or extroverts, they’re ambiverts. Listen more than you talk, but know when the right moment is to ask for the sale.
Buoyancy – In a world where “NO” is the most common word heard in sales, being able to mentally stay afloat when selling people on the benefits of floating is a must. Don’t use self-talk to psych yourself up, like, “I can do this!” Try an interrogative approach, like, “Can I do this? Am I prepared?” Make sure your approach is polished. Have a great pitch for people on what floating is that makes them want to schedule an appointment on the spot.
Clarity – The balance of information is on the side of the consumer, thanks to the Internet. Since the power of information is now in the hands of people, your job as a float center owner is to help them assess the information. An example given was in the instance of WebMD. Everyone is first self diagnosing and then going to their doctor, tell them what they think is wrong. It’s the doctor’s job as a marketer to help educate their clients on how to disseminate good information from bad information.
It’s your job as a float center owner to provide clarity and continually educate your floaters. Share the good information out there and correct the bad. Honesty and transparency are must haves in today’s world of selling. Otherwise the Internet will rat you out.
Pamela Wilson – The “C’mon In!” Homepage
Your website’s homepage is often the point where people decide whether or not they want to do business with you. Do you have a simple and welcoming homepage that says, “C’mon in!”? Keep the navigation options simple, be sure that your name & location is clearly stated on the site, offer a benefit statement about what floating, and finish it up with the call to action clearly being marked: “Schedule Appointment.”
Make sure the content on your website is uniquely written in a consistent voice of your company. If the copy of your website can be put next to another float center’s copy (with location and name stripped) and you can’t tell a major difference between the two sites, you’re not standing out enough. This piece of advice will mean more as more float centers move into your town. However, early on, it’s important to claim a strong voice in your writing. Especially when people are comparing you to other wellness services on the market.
Chris Brogan – Rethinking Your Online Marketing
Social Media was the biggest buzzword in online marketing a few years ago. Since then, the trend has been that when marketers get ahold of a social media platform, they ruin it. To improve user experience, platforms like Facebook fight back and end up charging businesses to reach their fans. In my experience working with small business owners, most of them place too much importance on their social media strategy as a critical factor in the success of their business. Gone are the days of effectively marketing on Facebook for free. Twitter is a constant stream of noise. Instagram is fun if you’re a fan of gym selfies.
A timeless strategy that has seen very little drop in effectiveness is email marketing.
The moral of this story is to ensure that you’re driving people to sign up for an email newsletter. This doesn’t mean you are given the right as a center to blast your clients with weekly promotional emails, but when you do have something important to say, your audience will be able to hear it.
Sally Hogshead – “Different is Better Than Better”
Sally Hogshead is an award winning marketing expert specializing in how to fascinate others and helping people discover how the world sees them. She advises that your business should stand out from the others or don’t bother competing.
Fortunately for us, floating is pretty damn fascinating! It’s easy to be different when you’re explaining to people that for 90 minutes they’ll be in a lightproof, soundproof, warm bath tub with enough epsom salt to guarantee they’ll float effortlessly.
As I watch this industry grow, one of my concerns is for the wellness centers out there that are integrating float tanks into their overall practice. It’s easy to just wrap floating up into the mix of the other services, but if I were in this situation, I would lead with floating. After all, it’s probably the most different and fascinating thing that is being offered to your clients. Remember, “Different is better than better!”
Michael King – Creating Personas from Facts
It’s rare in marketing to say that a product or service is for everyone. I’ve found that floatation therapy is one of those services that have an application for the majority of people interested. Even at the most basic level, everyone could use some time to unplug from the world.
Generalizing your marketing can be an easy trap to fall into. Michael talked about diving into your customer data: emails, social profiles, etc. and determine exactly which groups in your area have aligned themselves with your business. The opposite path to achieve this is to just guess, and in most cases that doesn’t prove to be nearly as accurate.
Once you determine the fact based buyer person you want to target, tailor each marketing message so you’re speaking directly to that group of people. Having highly targeted messages pointed to the right group of people will increase the conversions of each advertisement you place in your community.
Henry Rollins – The Age of DIY Media
What does Henry Rollins have to say to a bunch of marketers?
The answer is a lot!
Given a 40 minute chunk of time as our closing keynote speaker, Henry had an hours worth of message to share. Henry Rollins has been involved in DIY media since before there was such a term. The majority of his career has been spent as an independent, from making his own concert flyers using a glue stick and magazine cutouts to self publishing through his own record label and publishing company, 2.13.61.
Told through stories of his past experiences in music, acting, writing, and traveling the world, Henry really drove home some key points.
Have passion and put your heart into everything that you do.
Henry Rollins does not cut corners. Nothing leaves with his name attached that he doesn’t give 100% approval on and hold close to his heart. If there is a mistake, he makes it right.
Ideally you will want to build an organization with few policies. If someone gives you money and isn’t happy with their purchase, make it right at all costs and go the extra mile by giving them their money back.
Be relentless and don’t ever give up.
Building his career wasn’t easy. Henry Rollins would go weeks without eating just so his band could afford to travel to the next gig. He provided entertainment for the fans even if money wasn’t immediately foreseeable. While Henry’s examples may be on the extreme end of the dedication spectrum, there are some lessons to take away.
Building a business takes sacrifice and the ability to ride out the tough times. Have confidence in the services you’re offering and be persistent in acquiring new business.
For most, money is a finite resource. The money people spend at your float center could’ve otherwise been spent on other areas in their life. Instead, they chose floating. Wherever you can find the opportunity, give back to your fans. Surprise members with gifts, offer free floats as giveaways, or create programs to help people be able to afford floating. A little bit of gratitude goes a long way. After Henry Rollins wrapped up his conference talk, he proceeded to spend the next 2.5 hours outside chatting with fans, providing them his full attention. That was his way of giving back.
There were 17 speakers over a two day period and this definitely wasn’t everything that I gained from attending Authority Rainmaker in Denver. However, these are some of the facts that I feel existing and future float center owners should keep in mind when developing their marketing strategy and growing their business.
If I had to sum up two days of talks into a few overall lessons, it would be:
- Be Human
- Be Different
- Be Focused
Now… I can talk about marketing all day. In fact, if you want to nerd out with me on social strategies, website copy, differentiation, buyer personas, and other fancy marketing words that will improve your float center, I’m available for hourly consulting.
Finally a rarely published fact… I will work for whiskey.
Should you find me at the upcoming Float Conference in August and offer up a whiskey (neat, unless there are large 2×2 ice cubes available), I will be happy to chat float center marketing with you! 😉
See you in August,