The reality is I haven’t been in business long enough to have any clout to reveal the secret to a successful business, BUT there are some things I’m noticing right out of the gate. AND I’ve been talking to other people who have been in business way longer than me. The following is what I/we found.
The secret is. . .
I thought people would want to use my freelance content marketing services because I convinced them of its value. After all, research shows the importance of having a blog so surely everyone wants what I’m offering, right? Because they understand it will help their business thrive and boost visibility on search engines? Well, no. It surprised me to learn my rational explanations mean diddly if there’s not an emotional component as well.
We like to think of ourselves as logical, reasonable creatures, but actually the majority of our decisions are made by the subconscious part of our brains, sometimes referred to as our reptilian brain. That includes purchasing decisions as well and why storytelling in business is so important. Research on advertising shows the emotional response to an ad influences a person’s intention to buy much greater than the ad’s content itself. Why is that? Because emotionally charged storytelling creates a rush of dopamine in the brain, particularly in the amygdala, which is responsible for memory, according to the Ted talk “Storytelling, Psychology, and Neuroscience” by Amanda D’Annucci.
For instance, if you think about the toxic masculinity ad from Gillette, it got people talking and also created brand loyalty because people vibed with the ad. We want to support businesses that are in alignment with our values and one of the best ways to show a value is through storytelling and emotion. However, I’m not selling razors, so how does this apply to me? The emotional component comes down to this: People are more likely to hire their friends.
“[E]mployers really want people who they will bond with, who they will feel good around, who will be their friend,” according to Dr. Lauren Rivera at Northwestern University who examined 120 interviews and published her results in the American Sociological Review. We all want to work with people we like, and yes, I’m an Oakland freelance writer and not an employee, but the premise still applies. “Employers” in my case are clients and clients want to work with friends. Thus far that’s proving to be true. My current clients and potential clients are friends or we have a friend in common. This makes sense, right? It’s essentially a form of word-of-mouth advertising, which is the most trusted form with 86% of consumers trusting word-of-mouth.
We trust our friends and we care about what they think. In fact, Mark Zuckerberg said: “People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.”
I am asking my friends and family to refer me out of course (hey, can you refer me out?), but I’m also approaching potential clients as if they were friends. I’m doing my best to establish a friendly rapport because the reality is business comes down to relationships. We are in relationship with one another trading a good or service. In my case, I’m trading blogposts for money but it could also be trading water bottles or razors or widgets. We want to do business with people we like and what I’m finding is that starts from the very first point of contact.
Do you want to connect with me and be my new business friend? Get in touch.