Marketing & Small Business

How To (Easily) Make Your Customers Appreciate Your Work

September 12, 2021


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Article by Colette Nichol, Solo Filmmaker and Story Strategist

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

I’m lying on a yoga mat doing nothing.

Sound washes over me. Soothing crystal bowl sound waves penetrate my mind and take me into a profoundly peaceful state.

I have one addiction. Okay, maybe two. 

Sound baths. 

And probably life experiments. But let’s talk about sound baths.

Since last summer, I’ve had the incredible good fortune to be able to attend sound baths regularly. A good friend of mine, Faye Mallett, is a musician who also does live sound bath experiences in Vancouver (my hometown). 

Faye has been playing instruments practically since she escaped the womb. Her mother was a music teacher, and so, of course, Faye played nearly every instrument known to humanity. I exaggerate slightly. But she plays percussion, piano, bells, vibraphone, sings, and probably does other musical stuff I’ve never even heard of. And, yes, she also plays crystal singing bowls.

But what does this have to do with your business? Wait for it, it’s coming!

Every time I go to a sound bath, I’m filled with appreciation. 

Appreciation! That’s what we want. 

That’s how you want your customers to feel when they get to work with you or buy your products. Appreciation. 

But how do you help them get there? How do you cultivate your customers’ appreciation?

It all comes down to this one single question: “How hard can it be?”

How Hard Can It Be

That’s something we love to say to ourselves as we smugly watch people do things that, in reality, we can’t do (at all!) but like to think that we could.

It’s especially prevalent in the arts, but you’ll see it everywhere. A former boss of mine used to do his own restaurant plumbing and mini-renovations (not well, I might add). He did this because, well, how hard could it be? In fact, pretty hard. Because most of the repairs did not end well.

If you’ve ever tried to cut your own bangs, you’ve suffered from the how-hard-could-it-be syndrome.

The alternative side of this weird DIY thought process is our fascination with behind-the-scenes footage and stories. Whether you have a secret fetish for reading People Magazine, or an interest in True-Crime Podcasts, or you’re just an avid autobiography-reader, there’s probably some part of you that loves learning what really goes on behind the scenes.

The thing is, we don’t actually want to believe that everything’s easy. 

We don’t want to think that we could totally do it. I like hearing about people who climbed Everest without oxygen because it sounds excruciating. 

I don’t just want to watch Olympic skaters blow my mind on the ice, I want to know about how they train 7 hours a day for 10 months a year. The reason I watched a 5-episode Netflix doc series about cheerleading is that in every episode I got to see people struggle their butts off trying to do something they loved. That’s satisfying. I have a whole new appreciation for cheerleading. 

(Seriously, it should be an Olympic sport!)

When it comes to pulling out our wallets, we love knowing the behind-the-scenes details because it helps us justify the sticker-price.

It makes us APPRECIATE what we’ve purchased. 

People love Lush body care products because they know they’ve been made by hand. People spend $20,000 on a dress because it’s couture. They know someone labored over it for 100+ hours. And they know that person is a master craftsperson.

Where in your business do people have no clue about how hard what you do actually is?

Do they know you’ve been honing your craft as a painter for 4o years? Do they know that you have a degree in philosophy? Do they know that it takes extreme precision to make a custom cabinet? Do they know that it took two years to develop your flagship course? Do they know that you trained for two years in Germany and six years in Canada? Do they know that you bring strange, incredible, and highly specific skills to your work that most other service providers don’t? 

If you’re even reasonably modest, then bragging about yourself is probably a tough thing to pull off doing without feeling silly.

But when it comes to helping your customers appreciate your work, you’ve got to put on your promoter hat and relegate the modest artist to the corner. (At least, when you’re writing your website copy.)

What’s the thing that you bring to your work that’s different from most people who do the same craft?

—> For me, it’s a background in acting, storytelling, and theatre. Most online solo filmmakers haven’t spent over 20 years obsessed with breaking down story structure. (They’re usually more tech-oriented than story-oriented.) Neither have most online marketers. This, combined with a natural talent for strategic thinking and a lot of empathy, are what makes working with me different from working with any other video producer, mentor, or marketing strategist. 

For your website copy think about what’s unique about you as it relates to your experiences in life (not just in your profession). Share the following:

  • past experiences that add to your work
  • degrees or training, even if it’s not related (it colours your work!)
  • your natural talents! (take the Cliftons Strengths Test if you’re not sure or not comfortable telling people)
  • time-consuming parts of your process
  • how you think about things differently than others in your field
  • any obsession that informs your work

What are details about your work or process that would help your customers understand how hard it actually is? 

—> When it comes to video or working with a client, I get obsessed. I prefer to just do big projects because once a client gets into my head, I can’t really turn it off. I get ideas in the shower. I wake up thinking about them. Helping people isn’t a casual thing for me. My creative brain goes into overdrive and solutions start coming out of the woodwork like long-lost cousins after you’ve just won the lottery. 

For your website copy think about what part of your work or process is any of the following:

  • unique
  • weird
  • takes super long
  • highly detail oriented
  • completely hidden
  • surprisingly expensive (like special materials)
  • rare (is something in the process hard to find?)

One of the reasons I appreciate Faye’s extraordinary sound bath immersions is because I know the behind-the-scenes. 

I was the first person who ever got to experience a Faye Mallett Sound Immersion. I’ve seen the evolution of the bowls. (She started with just three and then the creative obsession took over and now she has a beautiful circle of bowls—and a gong, because, well, why not?) I also know about my friend’s backstory. I know what an incredible musician she is and what it took for her to cultivate her skills.

I’ve also done some cursory online searching. And most people who play crystal bowls are not great. Probably because most people who play them aren’t lifelong musicians. But, anyway…

When it comes to helping your customers appreciate your work (and subsequently whip out their wallets), you need to release your humility for a quick second.

And paint a picture of how hard your work actually is. 

Because unless you’re drawing stick figures for a living, the work you do is probably damn difficult.

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About the Author

Hi! I’m Colette Nichol. I’m a solo filmmaker and story strategist based out of rainy Vancouver, Canada. I’ve been making videos and micro films for small businesses and global brands since 2014.

Plus, I LOVE to help aspiring filmmakers pursue their dreams and start making films. This blog is designed to help you gain the knowledge you need to become a filmmaker.

If you want more, get on the waitlist for the Story Envelope Academy Solo Filmmaking Mentorship Program. It opens up one time per year and is the best way to become a filmmaking or video pro fast!

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