Just as you think you understand one social media platform, there’s something new, hot on its tail. Or worse, a major change to the algorithm…whatever that means.

We live in a time like no other, but the constant influx of technology and the relentless promotion of new business trends is overwhelming. Every single day, consultants publish hundreds of articles with quick fixes like: “5 Steps to Get More Likes” or “8 Ways You are Doing Social Media Wrong”. And on and on it goes.

But quick fixes and cheap tricks usually lead to one thing: more noise. And what do people do with noise? They turn it off! Or, try their darnedest to tune it out.

Do you ever wonder if your marketing efforts are part of the problem?

Are you just making noise?

If your company, brand or product has a Facebook page, Instagram, or website, you’ve likely found yourself in the “rat race” for customer attention. When do you post? What do you say? How do you say it? What links should you include? What in the world is a hashtag?

Usually, the core question is really this: What do I have to do to stand out in the marketplace and create sustained growth for my business? All too many answer that question by trying to produce more content, as frequently as possible, regardless of how useful it is to their customer.

Again, noise.

This is one reason Facebook changed the way the Newsfeed works, cracking down on the number of business page posts that appear. Why? People complained that their newsfeed was… you guessed it: noisy. They wanted to connect with people they know and subjects that matter to them. Instead, Facebook felt cluttered and chaotic. This change has frightened many business owners, who are worried about “reaching” an audience.

But consumers don’t enjoy noise any more than you do. Why subject them to it?

Having worked in the music business for years, we love a good musical metaphor. If you think about it, this algorithm change is an opportunity to learn how to stop making noise – and make music instead.

What do I mean?

Well, to quote one physicist:

“Anyone can make noise, but making noise that is enjoyable and invokes emotion is something completely different…both (music and noise) are mixtures of sound waves at different frequencies, (but) music is considered to be ordered sound, while noise is disordered sound. For example, the mixture of sound waves that produce music can be easily separated into individual frequencies, with some being more dominant than others. On the other hand, noise contains all possible frequencies of sound with no dominant frequency present .”

Much like in your marketing efforts, the same elements go into noise as music. Yet one repels, and the other attracts and enriches. And when it comes to marketing, the difference between making music and noise is a game-changer.

  1. Noise is chaotic, random and disordered. It has no design, and its purpose is unclear. Music is melodic and ordered. It has a purpose and a vision.

Create order with your messaging – not chaos. Communicate a clear message, an even clearer process, and a bold vision.

We’ve found that many small businesses look to “more traffic” to solve what is ultimately a messaging problem.  Of course, every business wants an audience. But, the real problem is often a confused customer. Even if they had traffic, their product, service, and path-to-purchase are unclear. Throwing a lot of money at traffic alone might cause a small percentage of people to buy what you sell, but it’s a strategy few can afford.

Instead, a clear message and strategy could have a monumental impact. It could increase the effectiveness of referrals and improve your sales efforts. It could also greatly reduce the cost of promoting your business – your audience will feel understood and much more likely to buy! This brings me to my second point.

  1. Noise interrupts – demanding attention for the wrong reasons. Music relates to its audience, it finds common ground and builds trust.

One person’s music is another person’s noise. Know your audience and speak their language.

Great musical artists know and understand their audience intimately. They know that their music is made for specific people who appreciate particular things about what they do.

In other words, don’t be the business equivalent of “Bro/Pop/Rap/Country.”

Whether you like it or not, no product is for everyone. Do your homework! Get to know your unique audience and all the people involved in the decision-making processes that impact your business.

  1. Noise is communicating everything at once with no clear destination. Music takes you on an emotionally and intellectually stimulating journey. It has a beginning and an end.

Be consistent across platforms – including (and maybe especially!) sales and business development.

Now, repeat after me: I can’t do all the things, all the time.

I can’t do all the things, all the time.

I can’t do all the things, all the time.

But you can do each thing, and each at the right time for each customer. In many ways, this is easier than ever to do.

The true magic of today’s digital marketing tools is the ability to track a customer from exposure through purchase and beyond, and optimize their experience throughout. Each customer interaction is an element differentiating music from noise. You’re playing “notes” with messaging, blog or social media posts, your website, video, and so on.

The sum of all of that is what most consider to be your brand. Your sales material and online content have to be purposeful and in harmony, with a clear message, clear steps, and a clear destination. It is up to you to make sure that those different facets of your business “sing” like a choir. This isn’t hard – but it does require intentional effort.

  1. Noise is unwanted, loud, and meaningless. Music is desired, timely, and meaningful.

You can’t avoid the fact that sales requires a certain amount of interruption, but that doesn’t mean you can’t strike a chord with your prospect. Respecting your customer and creating more value means talking to the right people, in the right way, at the right time. With consumer data and marketing automation tools being what they are, this is no longer the private playground of big corporations.

Sometimes steps are missing, and you need to help your prospects see that what you offer meets desires they already have. But wherever they are in the process, consider your customer and their experience in your messaging and communications. Write the email, post or copy you’d want to read in their shoes–not the one you want to send in yours.

  1. Most of all: Music attracts. Noise repels.

When it comes to your business, which would you rather do?