Every business is different, and the marketing techniques that work for one may not work for another. For businesses that deal with social stigma or shame around the pain points they resolve, marketing can be a challenge!  In this Marketing Tip of the Week, let’s look at how you can start to get traction when you’re marketing around stigma.

Marketing inherently works better when others are boosting your signal.  When you are marketing a business entrenched in a sensitive topic, it can be tough to get the momentum you need.  People may be reluctant to show that they identify with the pain point you are addressing. Those you have helped may be hesitant to offer testimonials or lend their voice in other ways if they choose not to be identified with your mission.  The social proof that may be a strength for another business may not be as simple an option for you!

When you are marketing a business entrenched in a sensitive topic, it can be tough to get the momentum you need. #business #smallbusiness #smallbiz #smb #biztips Click To Tweet

Leveraging pain points is an approach that works for many businesses (read more on this here). Leading with the problem can be a quick way to get your target market’s attention.  After all, it suggests that you are about to suggest a solution to the problem.  And this process gives your leads a reason to become your customers.  Walking them down this path helps them see the value you are offering them.

For many businesses, this approach works.  They can then get social feedback from the audience on their marketing message.  This upvoting creates the validation that allows new audience members to notice and feel comfortable with your business.

The tricky part for a business that markets around stigma is that – while your audience really does have the problem and really does need to know your solution – it can be more difficult to build momentum in the message with fewer people willing to validate it.

If this sounds like your business, what do you do?

For one thing, there could be a stigma reduction marketing strategy you could take.  You or a group of your fellow industry partners could tackle the issue head on and begin the long road of changing public perception.

I don’t discourage you from that approach, but the truth is that changing public perception is not an easy task.  There is a reality of how long-term the gains may be that most small businesses should consider.  Advocating to reduce stigma is a project that may require allies and likely won’t have the kind of immediate impact that you’re cash flow requires.  Even if you are leading the charge in an effort like this, you likely need a short-term solution, too.

There is an approach that you can start to consider immediately.  This comes down to how you are framing your message.  In most cases, the stigma that exists now is around the pain point, not the solution.  So, what if you focus on what it looks like to have relief from the problem?

In this scenario, you are asking your audience to imagine a world where they can live a healthy, safe, balanced lifestyle.  Depending on the industry that you are in, what does that look like?  What are the different brush strokes that make up the picture you are painting?  What do their relationships look like?  How do they feel in their daily activities?  Accentuate the positive, and you are able to show them what the end of their journey can look like.

In accentuating the positive, we are not forgetting the negative.  Your business still has the mission it has.  You can talk about a positive outcome and subtly link it back to your website, your business name, and your mission.  If the tone and overall message seem positive, you will likely get more feedback, and you can use that traction to boost your voice.  Although the audience is reacting to the positive message, your subtle call to action is still the binding thread that runs through it, getting more exposure.  Now it’s a matter of how you are redirecting that exposure.

There is a flip side of every message. #marketing #business #biztips #smallbusiness #smallbiz #smb Click To Tweet

There is a flip side of every message.  When a business is trying to wade the waters of stigma to get a message to resonate with the audience, it may be an easier path to try the flip side that doesn’t have a stigma attached.

Every business is different.  What works to market one may not work for another.  Don’t let it stop you from finding a path that will generate results for YOU!

Does this sounds like a struggle that you have in your business? You may find it helpful to read this series on selling without selling to get more ideas for how you can approach your marketing!