Ever watch the viral video “The Thrill of Bookkeeping”?
No, you didn’t.
Because it doesn’t exist. And it probably never will.
Some businesses are just inherently interesting, like celebrity photographers, event planners and makeup artists.
Others are, well, less so.
But if you happen to have one of those “boring” businesses, does that mean your marketing has to be boring, same-old, stuck-in-the-doldrums?
Here’s your chance to wake up to your marketing potential.
1. Real people, real stories
We humans are wired to connect with other humans
Newborn babies – even those less than an hour old – prefer to look at faces than at any other object. And the fascination with other humans and their experiences only deepens as we grow older.
Putting real people front and center in your marketing will draw interest and sales, more so than any other marketing tactic.
How do you do that for your business? Get inspired by these examples:
Subway and Jared Fogle
While in college, Jared Fogle struggled with obesity and its ramifications ranging from sleep apnea to social isolation. He decided to change his eating habits and went on a diet of his own invention: one Subway 6-inch turkey sub for lunch and a Subway full-length veggie sub for dinner, both meals with a bag of baked chips and a diet soda. Within a year, he lost 245 pounds.
A college newspaper wrote about the story, and a forward-thinking marketer at Subway picked it up and ran with it. Jared Fogle was invited to film a commercial for Subway, and quickly became a popular Subway spokesperson, sharing his Subway story in ads and on national media.
In the 15 years since then, Subway’s sales have tripled, and they attribute one-third to one-half of that growth to Jared.
Marketing application: Do you have a customer who has achieved success through your product or service? Make them a feature of your marketing. Have them tell their story, sharing thier challenges and how your business changed their life. This customer doesn’t have to be a smooth and polished actor; the key is that they’re real and relatable.
2. PayPal and featured clients
Digital payment services? Zzzzzzzzz.
In 2013, PayPal was not only a boring company, but a boring, unliked company. Customers – or just naysayers – took it to task for being a big, faceless, unresponsive tech company.
In 2014, PayPal turned that all around.
They used social media to get personal with their customers, responding in real-time to their issues, complaints and concerns. In addition, they profiled real customers, demonstrating their care for the individual while displaying the variety of their user community.
Paypal now had a friendly, personal face to show its users – and they responded positively.
Marketing application: Even if you don’t have clients who achieved massive success through your service (like Subway and Jared Fogle above), you can pick a sampling of your clients and profile them. Who are they? What do they do? What do they stand for? That’s interesting stuff – and it will draw eyes and ears while reflecting positively on your business.
Nest sells home security cameras. Not exactly the stuff that dreams are made of.
But they won a prestigious Shorty Award in 2016 for their social media marketing campaign -#caughtonNestCam – featuring real customers and their real home security camera footage.
Throughout the year, Nest encouraged customers to send them interesting clips caught by their 24/7 NestCam cameras. Nest then took a sampling of the best clips and created a video showing everything from cat acrobatics gone wrong to break-ins to unusual animals prowling around the backyard.
caughtonNestCam caught a whole wave of interest, from the 4.3M+ views it generated on YouTube and Facebook, to 634% lift in user generated Nest Cam mentions (#caughtonNestCam) to a 275% lift in user generated Nest Cam submissions from fans year-over-year.
Marketing application: Leverage user-generated content. Ask your customers to share photos or videos highlighting what they now have because of your product or service. This works particularly well for visual niches, like beauty, fitness or home organization, but use your creativity for those niches that aren’t!
4. The WOW Company staff profiles
“The WOW Company” sounds like it does something thrilling, like paragliding instructor training or fashion show runway design.
Well, guess what? They offer accounting services for small businesses.
The WOW Company does a lot of things right in their marketing, and one thing they do to liven up the boring nature of their service is to introduce you to their team. Every single member of the team.
Now that you’re up close and personal with all the individuals that make up The WOW Company, they’re no longer boring.
Marketing application: You and every person on your team has a face, a personality and a story. Show that to your audience. Sometimes your business itself might have an interesting story. How and why was it founded? What challenges has it overcome? Make your business and people in it real – and you’ll never be boring.
5. You are what you believe: Values
When your services are “same old,” it’s your values that can make you stand out. Check out these businesses that live their values, display their values, and even let their values determine the direction of their business.
Chipotle and Food with Integrity
Fast food. It may be tasty; it may be convenient – but fast food businesses are a dime a dozen.
Chipotle has put their values front and center, transforming them from “just” a fast food company to an advocate of the sustainable food movement.
They are committed:
Their “Our Values” page has at least as much (and from the looks of it, probably more) thought and effort put into it as their revenue-focused Catering or Rewards pages.
Marketing application: Does your business have a set of values that drives what you do and the business decisions you make? Don’t keep that in the dark! Put it out on your website and in all your marketing materials for everyone to see. A value-driven bookkeeping company is going to stand out from all the other “boring” bookkeeping companies out there.
6. The Holstee Manifesto
Currently Holstee is a company offering you “Inspiration and tools to help you live a more meaningful life”.
But it wasn’t always that way.
Holstee started out as a run-of-the-mill t-shirt company. A dime a dozen, right?
They did one thing differently. In the early days of the company, the three founders sat down on the steps of Union Square in New York City and “defined what success would look like if they took the financials out of it.”
They threw the result up on their About page, called it the Holstee Manifesto… and the world went wild. Not over their t-shirts, mind you – over their values and clarity.
The Holstee Manifesto has been shared millions of times and translated into 14 languages. The founders kept fielding question after question about what it meant to live those values until… they dropped the t-shirts and made values their business.
Marketing application: sit down on the steps of Union Square in New York City and define what success would look like to you if you took the financials out of it.
The key element is defining what success is to you; it doesn’t matter if you do it in Union Square, in the Himalayas, or sitting in bed with a cup of tea.
Then let the world (and your potential customers) know about those values, and how your company is not just a way to make a buck, but a vehicle to reach true, deep, value-driven success.
7. We love to laugh, ha!: Humor
Laughter is the best medicine, said your grandma.
What your grandma (probably) didn’t say is that laughter is one of the best marketing tools around. Get your audience to chuckle or guffaw – especially at an officially “boring” topic – and you’ve got ‘em hooked.
How do you light up officially boring businesses with humor? Check out a few examples and get inspired:
BRSDental online patient registration
Dental office management software? Online patient registration forms? Hit the snooze button and wake us when it’s ove
If you feel that way (and who, aside from dental office managers, doesn’t?), a look at BRSDental’s patient registration feature demo (especially from 45 seconds and onwards) may, surprisingly, give you your laugh of the day.
Marketing application: Even how-to or demo videos can have humor injected into them – and you’re much more likely that way to have your viewer watch until the end.
Ojai Valley Taxidermy
Taxidermy? Like, stuffing dead animals and formaldehyde and stuff like that?
That’s not only boring; it’s kind of creepy.
So ‘coonskin caps off to Chuck Testa of Ojai Valley Taxidermy and his marketing team for making a commercial that has managed to attract 18 MILLION views.
Marketing application: The ridiculous scenarios in which the animals turned up, coupled with the deadpan delivery of Chuck Testa himself, made a perfect combo. But the humor here directly demonstrated the expertise of Ojai Valley Taxidermy: making the most lifelike dead animals possible. Don’t just make a funny video for the sake of making a funny video; think about how the humor can emphasize the real benefit you deliver to your clients.
Rise and Shine!
Now that you’re packing a toolbox full of ways to make your business as eye-opening as a triple shot of espresso, it’s time to get to work.
Go and promote your no-longer-boring business to all your potentially adoring fans.
And if you do create a viral video called “The Thrill of Bookkeeping,” we promise to be one of those adoring fans forever.