When Thanksgiving is around there are some questions we don’t look forward to: “When are you getting married?” “When do I have grandchildren?” “Did you moisturize?”
Yet none of these oh-so polite questions get close to explaining what you actually do for a living as an inbound marketer.
It’s not that inbound marketing requires a long, drawn-out answer – after all, it can easily be described in 44 words. However, to explain this requires a basic understanding of how technology, marketing, and the internet work. You know the things your grandparents may not grasp in one fell swoop.
Good news – all you really need are some storytelling strategies. We found five ways you can explain inbound marketing to your family. And sure, some of them are useful, others just sarcastic. But hey, family is family, right? They will still love you.
5 Ways To Teach Inbound Marketing To Your Family On This Thanksgiving Day
1. The food analogy
In the US, Thanksgiving is usually made up of a few staples: turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie, to name a few. And while it sounds strange, you can use this knowledge to your advantage by using food preparation as an analogy for various aspects of inbound marketing.
To explain lead care, you can use the pumpkin pie. Sending unhurt leads on sales is like giving an unbaked pumpkin pie to your guests. I suppose the pumpkin pie could be eaten raw, but … gross. Instead, you should bake the pumpkin pie – this ultimately makes it richer and tastier.
Cultivating leads before sales contact them works the same way. It warms them up to your brand and starts qualifying them with better information about what they might need. “Warm” leads, like the cooked cake, are already familiar with your business and close much faster than “cold” leads.
Use any analogy to describe inbound marketing – it clears up confusing problems by comparing them to something that is literally right in front of everyone.
2. The real scenario
When asked about inbound marketing, I like to use real-world examples of disruptions they’re likely to spot and explain how the inbound methodology goes with it. It usually sounds something like this:
Amanda: Hi Papa. Do you know how much you hate telemarketers calling you in the middle of dinner?
father: Yes. Hate it. Why? Do you do this for work?
Amanda: Not really. Inbound marketing is just the opposite. This is disruptive marketing. They are literally interrupting you. So annoying isn’t it?
father: Yes. I am surprised that they are not interrupting us right now.
Amanda: Well, in my job, I create marketing that doesn’t interrupt what people are doing. In fact, I am creating content that people are actively looking for because it’s helpful, fun, or informative. Instead of a telemarketer calling to sell you spoons, I’m creating things that someone looking for information about spoons could look for on the internet.
father: So would I find you instead of you calling to disturb me?
Amanda: Yes! I will provide you with the real value of my business, which will make you more interested in what my business is selling.
The keys here: 1) Identify what disruptive media your guests are familiar with at dinner time, and 2) play with their pain points in handling these media. Inbound marketing makes a lot more sense when you explain it this way – even if your family doesn’t work in marketing or communication.
3. The plays
If you’re feeling extra creative and have at least one Thanksgiving guest ready to participate, consider setting up an RPG. There are many scenarios that you can try, but a classic would be the telemarketer / dinner guest scenario.
Let’s use the above example for telemarketing – and be warned, it may take a few minutes for everyone to sit down for dinner. You play the role of telemarketer, and your dinner guest can also be the dinner guest. First, set the ringtone on his phone to the highest possible volume. As soon as someone asks you about your job, excuse themselves and go to a quiet area on your own phone.
Next, call the diner over dinner and have them answer the call while you pretend to be a telemarketer selling something completely unnecessary at the time: Halloween costumes.
Make sure your dinner guest has key phrases like “You interrupt me in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner with that irrelevant phone call” or “Don’t you think it’s a little late to call me about Halloween?” or, if you really want to go crazy, “I wish you had sent me targeted, personalized email about these costumes in October – I would have bought them.”
Then let her slam the phone down on the table. You can come back from your “bathroom break” and say, “See? Telemarketing or any kind of disruptive marketing like this is deeply annoying. In my job, I create marketing that helps people – doesn’t annoy them.”
Depending on your guest’s talent, you may be able to improve the whole thing. Otherwise, you may want to enter a script and email it to the guest beforehand. And if you really want to go overboard, stay in character throughout dinner. The sight of you dressed as a skeezy telemarketer with a headset will be too intense to forget … at least until your mother asks, “Please take your headset off the table.”
4. The puzzle pieces
Source: web node
This technique boils down to an ancient philosophical question: is the whole greater than the sum of its parts? Aristotle thought so, but if you’re describing inbound marketing to an unfamiliar audience, it’s probably okay to explain the three ways you can specifically apply inbound marketing: attract, engage, and excite.
Try to explain inbound marketing by breaking it down into these three aspects and explaining each one individually.
For example, you could say to Grandma: “Attract means attracting the right people with valuable content and conversations that will establish you as a trusted advisor to engage with. Engage means presenting insights and solutions that are tailored to their weak points and goals so that they are more likely to buy from you. And joy means providing help and support to enable your customers to succeed with their purchase. “
Of course, it’s easier said than done. And I’m ready to bet how the inbound methodology will serve as a strong foundation for the flywheel that creates momentum and eliminates friction in your business. This is another achievement.
5. The “I write articles on the Internet”
If the previous four all failed, you can always say, “I write articles on the internet to make a living.” I mean, it’s pretty much accurate – you get real business results with inbound marketing, and not only do you spit nonsense blogs about your feelings in order to get paid – it can get your family off your back, especially if you’re not sure are you would be interested to hear all the shebang. If you choose this route, be prepared for how easy it is to blog and how many of your family members wish they were paid to do it.
Then try to quickly switch the topic to something that everyone can relate to. “Hey, Uncle Eddie, I would love to have your great filling recipe.” Trust us … it works every time.
We are grateful for you
Good luck out there. And remember: there are so many people who want to know what you are doing – admittedly, that’s why we love to write about it every day.
We always thank you, our great readers. And to show our thanks, we put together a fun video that our families believe we are. Happy Thanksgiving!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published November 2013 and has been updated to ensure freshness, accuracy, and completeness.