When we first heard about attraction marketing we were skeptical. It’s historically a fringe marketing technique, associated with people putting on a front to lure others into the same pyramid scheme trap they fell into. Case in point:
We couldn’t decide whether it was a nonsensical made-up term, inbound marketing but kind of different, influencer marketing, or plain old fashioned brand marketing.
We wanted answers.
So, after reading way too many articles about attraction marketing and getting lost in multi-level marketing threads on Reddit, we emerged with a clear understanding.
Attraction marketing is a first-person narrative that aims to show the positive impact of a product or service in a credible way.
It’s a well-respected marathon runner selling you his running shoes. It’s a popular YouTube make-up artist launching a brand new line of eye shadow. It’s about using personal experience to tell your brand’s story.
Attraction marketing has a clear and obvious value––and it’s not to string people along on some fantasy about buying a Porsche. And even if you don’t sell direct-to-consumer or have a massive social media following, there’s value in applying the approach to your business.
If you’re still skeptical about attraction marketing, we understand where you’re coming from. To better illustrate it’s potential value, let’s look at a B2B example of attraction marketing in-practice.
There sometimes seems to be just Gary Vaynerchuk skeptics or die-hard fans. Divisiveness aside, he has a net worth in the hundreds of millions and a growing audience. You can’t dismiss his marketing chops entirely.
One of Vaynerchuk’s key pitches is that marketers should focus on Facebook and Instagram ads. He writes articles about Instagram advertising strategies with enticing headlines like, “The $1.80 Instagram Strategy to Grow Your Business or Brand.” He speaks routinely about how social ads helped him grow his family’s wine business to $60M.
Vaynerchuk doesn’t do this because he wants to line Mark Zuckerberg’s pockets. The digital marketing agency he owns has a paid media division. When someone thinks about Gary Vaynerchuk, they think about growing a business with online advertising.
It’s not a gigantic leap to assume they’ll also consider partnering with his agency. After all, he’s someone who used these advertising channels effectively. As Vaynerchuk promotes the value of social ads, interest in his business builds:
In a world full of overblown product claims, attention marketing provides a credible way to communicate. It’s a “show and not tell” method of communicating the value of your product or service.
At its core, attraction marketing is about storytelling. It’s about telling the story of your brand in a way that connects with an audience by referencing your own experience. It definitely shouldn’t feel like another ad. Here is a broad attraction marketing formula that business owners can apply to their online marketing.
Hubspot uses this graphic to depict inbound marketing:
We’d argue that it’s missing one crucial element. You need to take the time to understand what kind of “Strangers” you want to attract. Lack of target audience research explains the fact that 72 percent of marketers can’t find their target audience online.
We’re not talking about slapping a cute alliterative name like “Business Brian” above a stock photo. We’re talking about really understanding your buyers. The fact that “Business Brian” works as a marketing manager and is in his thirties lacks actionable insight.
Instead, ask yourself what his daily struggles are? What does he find frustrating about modern-day marketing? What motivates him not to quit his job and fulfill his dream of becoming a lumberjack in Alaska?
These details will help you create a compelling story that resonates with Brian. As John Steinbeck wrote, “The strange and foreign is not interesting—only the deeply personal and familiar.”
Research shows that your brain loves good storytelling. It also underpins attraction marketing. Try to resist making a story only about your brand. Instead, focus on producing a good story and let the word get out organically. Here’s an example of someone communicating with Brian in mind:
Brian feels a little guilty that so much of his activities are focused on marketing metrics he knows don’t drive real business value (MQLs for example). He’s watched enough Mad Men to believe brand-building is important. But he doesn’t know how to go from A to B though and here’s someone explaining the process in a way that references their experience.
Emotions are the fire of human motivation––the force that secretly drives most decisions to buy. When your marketing harnesses those forces, you’ll generate more interest.
Before you get your story out there, it’s worth testing it out to see if it resonates with your audience. What works for one industry might not work for another, so there are no hard or fast rules here.
GT’s kombucha founder Dave walked into health food stores across Los Angeles and pitched his product face-to-face. He used his mother’s story of recovering from cancer to extoll the benefits of Kombucha with both skeptics and followers. The big breakthrough came when Whole Foods started stocking GT’s kombucha. At that point, the story was refined and ready for mass marketing.
Source: GT’s Living Foods
Testing the brand’s story in-person paid off. Soon after, celebrities like Gweneth Paltrow and Naomi Campbell praised GT’s kombucha in interviews.
Once you know your narrative resonates, it’s time to start promoting it. Every single tweet, video, or story shared online can influence the opinions and beliefs of your audience. While social media is a popular channel, people could also promote their stories using:
Attraction marketing is a crucial part of a marketing strategy, but you shouldn’t just be spinning any old yarn to hoodwink people. Crafting a broader narrative around your product or service is vital. But it often requires having your brand take a back seat to the larger story.
While you’re more likely to notice the upswing in your marketing ROI, your audience will find your marketing material more relatable.