Small Business and “The Oprah Factor”

When marketing a product to women, there’s one thing you simply have to try to do if you want to hit a grand slam home run: Get yourself or your product on Oprah.

The reason is simple and I hope, obvious: Oprah’s viewers trust her.

They gain weight with her, they lose weight with her. They struggle with her as she tries to get that darned man of hers to commit. They cry when she tells a sad story about an audience member or a guest on the show. If they see her on the street, they act like they know her personally.

Why? That too is simple. She’s real.

She has built her show and many of the things she does in a way that makes you feel like she’s talking just to you. Everything about the show is carefully orchestrated to make sure you feel that way.

It isn’t “cheating”, it’s simply a choice in deciding how to communicate with your viewers. The same choice that Leno or Letterman make, but they make it differently. In her case, the conversation is personal. It’s as if she is sharing her story with each individual viewer. rather than standing on a podium speaking to a crowd.

That’s the kind of relationship you should have with your clients. It’s the kind of conversation you should be having with your clients and prospects.

Oprah would likely never send USPS Bulk Mail with an indicia. An envelope from her would be pretty, and have a flower stamp on it (or at least feminine) and would be hand addressed, even if it meant that grandmothers all over Chicago had been hired to hand address them (and yes, there are services that do that very thing).

Why? Because a friend would never send you a bulk mail piece with an indicia.

Likewise, Oprah would likely never send bulk email with “Dear special friend” in it. An email from her would probably be HTML (kinda hard to make text emails ladylike, don’t you think?) and would certainly be addressed directly to you by name. Without your first name, she might not send one at all.

Same reason: A friend would never send you bulk email addressed to “Dear Special Friend”.

That’s the same kind of consideration you should have for your prospects and clients. If you have to address a piece of mail – email or otherwise – as “Dear Special Friend”, should you even be sending it?

When Oprah recommends a sponsor’s product, they assume that she is using it at home (and she may tell them so). They trust her not to sell them an empty promise. When she points at a product on the shelf, it disappears from shelves all over the country. Do you generate that same level of trust with your clients?

Even if you sell custom truck bumpers or .50 caliber elephant rifles, you can learn from the way Oprah grooms her relationship with viewers.

How can you use the Oprah Factor to improve your relationship with your clients?

If a lifelong friend was your customer, how would you treat them when they came to your business? I don’t mean reminiscing about the college or high school years, I mean how would you speak to them? How would you care for them? How would you position your advice to them?

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