If you’re building your network marketing business online, you might feel a bit unwelcome when advertising on most of today’s social media platforms.
…like you’ve got to keep the nature of your business a secret, else risk getting kicked to the curb for promoting a so-called “get-rich-quick scheme.”
Well, you’re right to be concerned.
It’s not easy to walk the line of making compelling claims while still flying under the “compliance police” radar.
And yet, despite the temptation to assume that emphasizing bold benefits is the only way to get clicks…
History teaches us that we can still powerfully connect with our prospects…
…without using overt, explicit, in-your-face, or, dare I say it, “sexy” copy.
Yup, subtlety can work too—sometimes even more so.
Case in point…
Back in the ’90s, what was considered “controversial” was night and day different to what might ruffle our feathers today
And so companies had to tread lightly when it came to targeting certain demographics—
Such as the LGBTQ community.
At the risk of avoiding controversy, brands had to find subtle ways to communicate the “insider” language of their prospects.
And in the midst of this heated environment, one car company managed to save themselves from financial ruin and find a position as a major player in the auto industry, all through becoming a champion of the lesbian community.
And by doing so, they reinforced one of the most important lessons in marketing that rings as true back then as it does to network marketers today…
You can signal your potential customers without “outsiders” being any the wiser.
You’ll soon see how this works and how you can use the same techniques in your ads to bypass unwanted scrutiny.
Oh, and the company in question that managed to go from near-extinction to billions in annual revenue and millions of vehicles sold?
Subaru’s Major Marketing Dilemma of the ’90s
To understand what exactly Subaru did to appeal to lesbians and kickstart their business, let’s put things into context.
First of all, it was the ’90s.
And while many of us might have fond memories of Nirvana or the boy band craze, we often forget that society wasn’t quite as accepting of the LGBTQ community as they are today.
As a result, advertisers steered clear of overtly marketing to the LGBTQ community.
Those that did were instantly on the receiving end of some serious backlash.
Take IKEA for example.
The Swedish furniture giant is responsible for one of the first television spots featuring an openly gay couple.
You can check out the “controversy” for yourself below…
No big deal in 2018, right?
Well, this same ad was met with everything from widespread boycotts to bomb threats back in the day!
Okay, so that’s the climate of the time.
During this period, Subaru was suffering from poor sales.
They had no sense of positioning versus the likes of Toyota and Honda who were crushing it.
Things were looking grim, as…
Subaru struggled to find its niche in market crammed with competitors
But after doing their homework, the execs at they made a surprising discovery.
Their cars were really, really popular with lesbians.
Like, five or six times more popular than any other of their closest competitors.
Beyond the lesbian community, the brand was also found to a hit with outdoorsy types and medical workers.
Basically people who needed to get from Point A to Point B regardless of the conditions outside.
Heck, I’ve owned Subarus for over a decade and can attest to their capabilities.
Their cars can handle extreme conditions, black ice, you name it.
Anyhow, Subaru’s discovery of their ideal demographic put them in a bit of a bind.
Sure, they understood who their target audience should be, but they were facing an uphill battle in terms of their messaging.
Based on the backlash aimed at brands like IKEA, they knew they were playing with fire in the era of, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Meanwhile, Subaru also didn’t want to come across as condescending or exploitative of their target audience.
So what exactly did they do to position themselves as the go-to brand for lesbian drivers?
Subaru’s Subtle Ad Revolution
Well for starters, they didn’t go the IKEA route.
In fact, they actually tested the waters running ads featuring lesbian couples driving Subarus.
Focus groups didn’t dig them at all.
So rather than beat audiences over the head with the notion that, “Hey, we’re the lesbian car company,” they were incredibly subtle about how they approached their ads.
Like, their ads were almost inside jokes and winks that you’d really only pick up on if you were looking for them.
For example, Subaru would run commercials and print ads where their cars would feature small rainbow stickers on the back bumper.
This little nod spoke directly to the lesbian audience while going over the heads of everyone else.
That wasn’t all, though.
There’s a famous Subaru print ad featuring a license plate that read “XENA,” the titular warrior princess of the incredibly popular TV series of the same name that was likewise a hit with lesbians.
Oh, and don’t forget taglines like…
“Get out. And stay out.”
To cement their commitment to their target audience, Subaru went a step further by donating to LGBTQ causes, supporting gay athletes in competitions and providing benefits to same-sex couples.
This style of advertising was wickedly effective and was supported by the LGBTQ community.
It likewise wasn’t in-your-face and didn’t isolate anyone else.
As a result, these ads were winners with the outdoorsy types and medical professionals, too.
But it was the lesbian ads that really killed it, though.
The ads felt exclusive.
The audience was being spoken to by a brand directly with a sort of “nod and wink.”
Hopefully your marketing wheels are spinning at this point, because we’re going to dive into how exactly you can create these same sort of super-effective, “in-the-know” marketing messages yourself.
The Untapped Power of Positioning
Okay, so what does Subaru’s story mean for you as a marketer?
For starters, it puts the power of positioning on display.
The reason Subaru’s sales suffered in the first place is that they had no clear sense of positioning in the market.
Think about it.
What’s really the difference between a Honda or Toyota or a Subaru?
At the end of the day, unless you’re a total gearhead, cars are essentially identical in terms of what they offer.
If you find yourself disagreeing with that statement, you’re simply illustrating my point regarding how effective positioning can be.
People latch onto brands, products, and services they can identify with.
Think Apple is better than Android, or vice versa?
Yeah, that’s positioning again.
Think about it, if you somehow gave the most popular smartphones on the market to someone with a Nokia “brick” in the 1990s…you think they’d form a strong opinion as to which was one better?
Nah, they’d be amazed at the tech and would tell you the differences were objectively negligible.
Positioning is largely based on the concept of identity.
This was especially true for cars back in the day.
- Volvo has traditionally taken a sort of “safety” angle for their vehicles
- BMW markets itself as “the ultimate driving machine”
If you’re a new parent looking to protect your family on the road, you opt for the Volvo.
If you’re a twentysomething that wants to turn heads on the strip, you go for the BMW.
See how that works?
You need that sense of positioning not only to stand out from your competitors, but to attract prospects that identify with your business’ vision and what you’re selling.
But how do you make it happen?
Just do what Subaru did.
How to Speak Your Prospects’ Language
Much like the auto industry, the network marketing space is crowded with competition.
It’s brimming with marketers running loud Facebook ads, too.
And rightfully so.
Facebook is easily one of the most effective platforms for reaching your prospects,
But, especially with the recent changes to their algorithm, you basically need to be consistently running ads if you want your posts to get any sort of traction.
Now, you probably see a ton of fellow marketers’ ads pop up in your Facebook feed on a day-to-day basis, don’t you?
If you notice, you likely see a lot of the same great ads again and again.
That means what those marketers are doing is working.
(As a side note, you should totally clip thoseads in Evernote so you have your own swipe file of top-performing ads you can use for reference.)
Here’s the deal, though: you can’t just copycat what everyone else is doing.
You need your own flavor to set yourself apart.
So ask yourself: what is the sort of language you can include in your ads that make your target audience realize that you’re “in the know?”
Let’s break it down.
The Art of “Insider Terms” and Problem-Solving Statements
Think about your ideal prospects and their personas.
Maybe they hate their jobs and are left feeling unfulfilled, day after day.
Perhaps they’re stuck in a cubicle all day and are at their wit’s end.
In that case, making mention of overbearing bosses, tedious TPS reports, and sitting in standstill traffic during their daily commute would all speak to their pain points.
When your prospects encounter these sorts of terms and concepts, they’re going to start nodding their heads.
“Yeah, this person gets me.”
Now, consider specific terms and concepts relevant to fellow network marketers…
- Lead gen
- Rank advancing
- Home/hotel meetings
- “Mall Shark”
- “Triple Diamond”
- Inventory loading
- “OMG it’s a ground floor opportunity that basically sells itself!!!”
- “It’s not selling, it’s sharing!”
- “You’re in business for yourself, not by yourself!”
Again, these concepts set off the proverbial “light bulb” in people’s heads.
The more “insider” terms you can inject into your copy, the better!
This is true for Facebook ads, emails, blog posts and even one-on-one conversations with prospects.
It’s sort of like when you read about nutrition trends such as “keto” or “paleo” diets.
Stuff like “slow carbs” and “ketones” totally go over my head, but if you’re into fitness it totally speaks to you.
Touching on insider terms isn’t enough on its own, though.
Anybody can do that.
What truly seals the deal with your ads is when you signal yourself as a problem-solver.
One of the most effective ways to do that which you’ve probably seen tons of is through “how-to” headlines.
In fact, we’ve discussed these sorts of headlines as part of writing killer Facebook ads.
You can follow the template of…
“How to _____ without _____”
…and hey, you already have the makings of a high-performing ads.
- “How to find more prospects without rejection.”
- “How to prospect without chasing your friends and family or haunting the aisles of Barnes & Noble.”
- “How to rank advance without doing home parties.”
If you’re a network marketer, you know from the word “go” this is speaking your language.
Nailing Down Your Niche
Here’s the big picture takeaway: you can’t target everybody.
It pays to get specific.
That’s exactly what Subaru did and look how it worked out for them.
Niche down now, branch out later.
The good news?
Just about anyone can craft laser-focused, rapport-building, lead-getting ads in the era of Facebook.
If you know how, that is.
So if you’re ready to learn the proven tactics we’ve been using for the past couple of years without fail, we’ve put together a step-by-step tutorial that reveals our exact advertising process in a 100% FREE online workshop, hosted by none other than Tim Erway, co-founder and CEO of Elite Marketing Pro.
You’ll discover how you can put together an effective ad campaign in just 10 minutes a day with as little as $10 in initial ad spend.
That’s the beauty of laser-targeted advertising, though:
You can drill down to specific people who are going to totally “get” your message, no questions asked.
So if you haven’t registered yet, what are you waiting for?
Here’s to your success!
Director of Content
Elite Marketing Pro
Latest posts by Andrew T Draughon (see all)
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