I have a quick marketing lesson for you that came to me tonight in a rather unusual way…

My son and I always sit down together to read for awhile before his bedtime.

And tonight, before opening his book, he turned to me and said:

Mom, a lot of the time at school, the teachers will make jokes that aren’t funny, and it seems like everyone laughs just to be polite.

Now, I won’t pretend to understand what motivates the random musings of my 11 year-old boy…

(And by the way, he has his mother’s totally irreverent, sophomoric sense of humor— which is probably why he doesn’t like the ‘regular’ jokes they tell at school!)

But his comment made me think about how businesses communicate with their customers.

These days it’s mind-boggling how much content gets created regularly.

But how much of it is REALLY essential and aligned with business goals?

I’ve seen: 

  • Blog posts that were probably only read by their author (and his dog)
  • Facebook ads that are paying for nothing more than appetizers at the Zuck’s backyard wedding
  • Sales pages that wouldn’t sell hand sanitizer to someone with OCD 

And of course, let’s face it: we ALL want people to ‘like’ and share what we’ve worked so hard to produce.

But all too often I see people creating random content that is incredibly easy to ‘like’ on Facebook, but just isn’t compelling.

(And by compelling I mean something that makes people think deeply AND take some sort of action that is aligned with a business’s overall goals.)

And then I see people wondering why, when they have something sell, no one’s buying. 

(Everyone LOVES my Facebook posts! What gives?)

The truth is, when it comes time for people to back up their ‘likes’ with their credit cards— ‘politeness’ has nothing to do with it.

No one HAS to buy what you have to sell. In fact, as a business owner it’s your job to help people understand why what you have to offer is so compelling, so mouthwateringly or heartwarmingly or businessgrowingly awesome that they can’t NOT buy it.

If that doesn’t happen— the credit card stays in the vault.

So I have a challenge for you.

The next time you’re creating content— whether in the form of a blog post, email, sales page, or any other method of communicating with your prospect or customer…

Ask yourself these three questions: 

  1. Would I take the time to (read, watch, click on, buy, etc.) this if someone else had created it?
  2. Does it offer something useful to my reader? (a great product, an actionable exercise, information she needs, etc.)
  3. Have I given the reader a reason to DO something with it? (like it, share it, click here, buy now, etc.)

If you can’t answer ‘Yes’ to all three of these questions, think seriously before sending it off.

You have important work to do in the world. Like, REALLY big stuff.

Don’t waste any time working on getting a few polite ‘likes’ when you could be changing the world.