Conor McGregor: 10 Marketing Lessons We Can Learn From The UFC Superstar
Conor McGregor isn’t just a UFC superstar. He is a marketing machine that has decided to take his brand into his own hands, and has single handedly made himself a household name. He is well known within the UFC and fighting circle, but ask even the non-UFC fan who he is and they will most likely have heard his name in recent times.
Let’s just take a quick look at his social media presence:
You don’t acquire that kind of following unless you have successfully built a brand. He has more social media followers than professional athletes in major sports because he has taken the time to really build his brand. His sport is a bit under the radar when compared to the major stick and ball sports. Also, there are no huge guaranteed contracts when it comes to professional fighting. He earns money when he wins fights and from endorsement deals.
How do you get huge endorsement contracts? You must be popular and have a large audience following you. McGregor has nailed brand marketing, so I thought he would be a great example to look at and show how marketing is essentially the same, whether you are a huge company or a one man brand.
McGregor knows marketing. Want proof? He absolutely shredded the poster for his last fight during the press conference, saying:
“This is a super fight. I look upon that poster, I see myself tucked in the back there. That’s what I just noticed, where is my damn belt? Where are all these historic images? These are posters that will be looked back on long after it’s all said and done and you’ve got to look back on that absolute garbage. So you know, I think I might have to go into that department because they must be getting comfortable in that poster department. They wanna get their act together and start doing their damn job. He fought on free TV. He’s never brought a dime to the company, he’s never made a dime yet there he is sitting on the front of my poster.”
He isn’t afraid to speak his mind and every move he makes is calculated with one goal: to improve his personal brand. It’s responsible for all of his success, so he focuses on constantly building and enhancing it.
I’ve put together 10 lessons we can learn from the fighting superstar.
1. You need to have an image.
McGregor has a badass image, complete with tattoos and attitude. While many professional fighters have a similar image, McGregor takes it to the extreme and maintains this image across all of his social media. He posts pictures that portray the badass lifestyle and it is well received by his followers.
Pictures of him with his shirt off and tattoos exposed fill up his pages and then he likes to also post lifestyle pictures. What is going to attract more social media attention and exposure:
- A picture of McGregor eating a steak dinner
- A picture of McGregor in a $450,000 Lamborghini racing through the streets
Nobody is following him to see what he is eating for dinner. They want to see the badass and fast life style pictures. A 15 second video clip of McGregor ripping the streets in a white Lamborghini convertible currently has 151K likes and about 3k comments. This is the image that he has created for himself and his audience eats it up. They want more of it, and follow his every move on social media to witness the next set of antics.
Part of his success is that he doesn’t drift far away from his established image. Why? Because it’s authentic. He isn’t pretending to be someone or something that he’s not. He is a badass professional fighter and his image portrays that. Nobody will ever look at his social media presence and ask themselves, “What does this guy do and what does his brand stand for?”
His brand stands for kicking ass.
It doesn’t matter what kind of business you have; you need to create an authentic image and stick to it, and constantly work to widen your reach. Some tips to really come up with an image that works for your business:
- Make sure your image explains what you do without words. Social media is becoming the most powerful branding tool any business can put to use. It’s the place people turn to now, even more than websites. Everyone is connected on social media so they are going to search out a business that they are potentially interested in on social media first. Since social media is very visual (Instagram and Snapchat lead the way) it’s important that your image is understood just in images. Looking at McGregor’s social media pictures you know he is a fighter and a badass. The same needs to happen no matter what you sell or offer.
- Stay consistent. Once your image is defined you need to stick with that theme. If you start posting random images or random posts you will confuses your audience and they will question the reason for following you. Attract them with your image and then keep them engaged with consistency.
- Focus only on your core audience. A brand will NEVER attract everyone, so don’t worry about the segment of people that aren’t going to connect to your image. Focus on strengthening your image to attract your core audience, because those are the ones that are going to end up converting into sales and cash. You will never appeal to everyone.
2. You have to create a voice for your brand.
Want to see one of the biggest trash talkers in the history of sports? Look no further than McGregor. Since he is a one man brand, he is his brand’s sole voice. He is not shy and speaks his mind. He talks trash 24/7 and usually backs it up in the ring. While he lost his last fight, he isn’t going to change. He will continue to talk trash and that just continues to enhance his brand’s overall value.
It keeps his fan base engaged and interested. Even though he just lost a fight, there is definitely going to be a new fight soon and he will talk trash to build up the hype. This not only keeps his existing audience engaged, but it will continue to attract new followers and supporters. As his brand grows, so does his income. Merchandise sales and overall popularity make his stock rise. As his brand popularity grows, so does his endorsement value.
His voice has created a valuable brand that companies are paying millions of dollars for him to endorse. They all want a piece of his audience, which he built up because of his controversial brand voice. McGregor is not shy, nor will he ever be. He is a lunatic and part of the draw to him is that you never know what antics are around the corner. This creates pure value to any company linked to him. They get to play off his voice.
Look at Monster Energy. The energy drink company has completely dominated the extreme sports and alternative sports demographics and created its own “voice” through the sponsorship of over the top athletes and events. While McGregor is one person and his voice is his own, even large companies, like Monster, use the same approach. The only difference is theirs is a much larger scale.
A brand “voice” isn’t just a physical voice. Yes, a company like Monster benefits from its sponsored athletes doing press, media and interviews, but the “voice” is also established from actions. When you see the Monster claw logo on the helmets and apparel of extreme athletes you automatically connect Monster with badass athletes and events. They are helping to establish that voice without actually saying anything.
Don’t be afraid to let your true voice shine, no matter how controversial the message might be. Will your core audience relate? Will it help keep a core audience loyal? As I mentioned above, you will never appeal to everyone, so focus on just satisfying the audience that will actually benefit your brand.
3. You have to have results that back you up.
Imagine if Conor McGregor was a horrible fighter? What if he got his ass kicked every fight? Do you think he would still be this huge brand and popular fighter? Of course he wouldn’t! He has the results to back up all of his antics and trash talking.
The same applies for any business.
Let’s take SEO for example. If my agency didn’t deliver results would we continue to grow? No. We would lose clients and start to develop a bad name in the search engine optimization world. But, since we do deliver the results we claim, it has only helped us grow and receive more exposure. I’ve been asked to become a guest blogger for Ahrefs and mainstream media outlets such as Inc.com and Tech.co have interviewed me. Results are responsible for all of this, and it’s just further proof that you must back up any claim you make.
Any claims that you make in your marketing need to be backed up. So, for McGregor, all of his trash talking and the confidence (cocky) attitude he showcases on social media is only backed up by one thing: results.
His recent loss is probably eating him alive inside. The last thing he wanted to do was lose that fight. He talked so much trash, but even after that loss he didn’t skip a beat. He immediately demanded a rematch and will certainly continue to trash talk and build the hype up until one is granted. He knows a rematch (and a win) will be great for rebuilding the damage to his brand that the loss created.
McGregor’s loss is also a reminder that sometimes bad things will happen, but you can’t let them stop your progress. Negative press or opinions from people that don’t matter can impact you negatively if you let them. Rather than stress over them, you need to just focus on what is in front of you. McGregor isn’t dwelling on the loss. Instead, he is focused on getting a rematch ASAP. He knows that a win is going to be the best result for his personal brand.
One of the reasons my agency’s Logic Outreach product is so popular is because it gets our clients exposure on major websites. If your brand is mentioned on Forbes that is a “result” that you can use to really prove your business is the real deal. If you are a local company that can say, ”Hey, look at us.. we were featured on Forbes” it’s going to help you stand out from all of the competition. Results aren’t just wins in the ring. They can be business awards or simply a mention on a major website. Figure out how to showcase “results” that make your business stand out form all others.
4. Your brand needs to piss confidence.
Read some of McGregor’s press conference comments or interviews. You will quickly see that he oozes confidence. He thinks he is the best fighter in the world and has no problem letting you know that. One quick look at his social media will also give you that impression. Confidence isn’t lacking with this one, that’s for sure!
This is something that every brand and business must have coming out of its pores. Being confident and showing it gives your customers the confidence required to take a chance on you. Let’s face it; there are a lot of choices when it comes to business, so the average person is going to be drawn to those that are dripping with confidence.
When I write my content for my agency’s blog and for guest posts, I always make sure that I come across as extremely confident. I do this because I want potential clients to feel comfortable reaching out to me for advice and help. Imagine if I wasn’t confident and my writing made me appear to have zero confidence in my abilities as an SEO professional? Nobody would want to even entertain hiring my company if I didn’t create a very confident brand. I have worked hard to ensure that when people read about SerpLogic they see that we are very confident in our ability to deliver results for our clients.
The SEO industry is one that many reading this can relate to, so imagine an SEO agency that was managing SEO campaigns for hundreds of clients and delivers amazing results, including many top positions for competitive keywords. Wouldn’t they want to showcase their results to help portray that confidence? The ones that know what they are doing sure would!
There is a big difference between being confident and arrogant and cocky. Confidence always has supporting evidence to back it up. An SEO agency that just says “We are the top SEO agency” is blowing smoke and their claims are pure speculation. Now, if that agency has won awards in the past and can prove that they are responsible for amazing results and they can showcase those results to prospective clients it will help them stand out.
If McGregor was constantly losing and didn’t have any significant wins, his confidence would be seen as cockiness, because it was lacking supporting evidence that he is indeed a great fighter.
5. You have to have an ‘over the top’ element.
There are multiple companies and brands competing in ever space for attention. McGregor is fighting for attention from UFC fans the same way my agency, SerpLogic, is fighting for attention from business owners and other SEO agencies that want white label services to resell as their own.
It doesn’t matter what your business is, your brand must have a slight “over the top” element to it if you really want to capture the attention of your target audience. Commanding that attention is going to pull customers and supporters away from the other options out there.
Take a quick look at McGregor’s Instagram account and you will see what “over the top” personal branding looks like. His images showcase his fighting, tattoos, crazy sense of fashion and love for fast expensive super cars. He has done a great job of maintaining a very consistent social media presence, of which everything points to a very over the top personality. McGregor knows exactly what he is doing, as every post is calculated and well thought out. There isn’t any random postings, I can promise you that. Everything he posts has a purpose, and that’s to enhance and build his personal brand.
6. Your brand needs to be consistent on social media.
He posts across all of his social media profiles in a very consistent, but not spammy way. He isn’t jamming posts down the throats of his followers. His posts aren’t just plugging his sponsors. They are real and authentic.
It’s important that you not only have a strong presence on social media established, but you also need to make sure that you remain consistent and constantly put out new content for your followers to engage with. McGregor’s followers are going to be a bit different than your followers, but consistency is key for both situations.
- His followers: He is posting content to keep his name in front of his fans. This keeps them up to date on his training and upcoming fights. By staying relevant, this also increases the odds of his followers staying loyal to his sponsors.
- Your followers: You are posting content to either spark a store visit or a visit to your website. Either way, a sale is the goal. You want money to come out of the pockets of your followers and into your business.
His social posts are designed for brand relevancy, while yours can do the same, but your ultimate goal is to generate sales and revenue. Neither will be successful if you let too much time pass between posting. You can also push away followers by posting too often and only posting promotional deals.
If you look at his posts you will see some promotional posts, like a link to Reebok and other sponsors, but they are done so subtle and infrequent, that they don’t stand out as overly spammy.
If you are having trouble being consistent because of other daily business tasks, use a program like Hootsuite to schedule your social posts ahead of time. Spend an hour every month planning and scheduling to ensure that you never miss a day. It will take time to establish your strategy, so test several different approaches. McGregor found his sweet spot, and sticks to the winning combination. You can do the same.
7. You need to have the right team behind you to help take your brand to the top.
McGregor knows that he would be nothing without his team. His brand that he’s building is successful because of his work, but without his trainers, coaches and management he wouldn’t be where he is today.
The same applies to any business.
Your team is everything, and every single person fills an important role that contributes to the overall success. When building your business, give every single team member the same respect and value their contributions equally.
I have a lot of people that work behind the scenes at SerpLogic, from content writers, to infographic designers and outreach specialists. I also have virtual assistants that respond to support tickets. Each person serves a role that is responsible for keeping the business running as planned as well as constantly growing. I treat everyone with the same level of respect, and because of this we excel and grow as a team.
Just like a restaurant has a wide range of team members, from servers to cooks and dishwashers, every business is going to have multiple people with varying degrees of responsibility that all contribute to overall success.
Even though McGregor is the one training hard and putting in the physical work and taking the beatings in the ring, he knows it isn’t a one man show, even though he technically is the entire brand. There are several interviews out there in which he thanks his entire team and says that none of this would be possible without them.
Even if you are doing affiliate marketing, you still have a team. Who creates your landing pages? Who codes them? Who writes your content? Who develops your sales copy? Even if they aren’t direct employees, they are still part of your team and you need to value every person that contributes to your success. That’s the kind of thought process that leads to developing successful businesses in any industry.
Find ways to thank your team and make sure that they always know they are appreciated. This keeps them motivated and performing at their top level.
8. You need to always be unique.
Copying another brand or business isn’t going to get you anywhere. Look at the SEO industry. There are so many SEO companies popping up and so many of them look the same. They offer the same packages and there is nothing that sets them apart from each other.
I knew that I wanted my new agency to stand out, so I made myself the face of it. I started SerpLogic as a personal blog, where I wrote about a wide range of online marketing and SEO topics. I used the momentum I generated from this and SerpLogic evolved into a large SEO agency, offering a wide range of specialized services and we now cater to business owners as well as other digital agencies that resell our services.
When I write I let my personality shine. I don’t hold back and anyone that knows me (or has been reading my content for some time) knows that I say it like it is. I’m overly honest, which in this industry is a rarity. How many other SEO agencies would push clients away and not take their business? I’ve built a solid reputation because I stand out in this industry.
Conor McGregor is a very unique individual. His style and personality scream uniqueness and his character is often a focus point in media interviews and features. He has been with the same girl since the very beginning, when he was a nobody and had no fame or fortune. He has worked hard to get where he is, and all of the things that have helped him gain recognition and success are the things that also make him stand out as being unique, from his personality to his style.
I’ve mentioned the importance of having a USP (unique selling point) in previous posts. It’s what helps you to stand out in a crowded niche, where everyone might seem to be offering the same product or service. Be unique and give your customers a reason to choose you over the other options available to them.
9. You can create an entire brand using only social media.
If you Google “Conor McGregor” his own personal website doesn’t even come up on page one! His social media profiles do, but not his own official website. How crazy is that?
Social media profiles have instant authority, so they are going to naturally show up in the top results, but this also shows that most people that are looking for him are seeking his social media profiles. If they were looking for his personal website and the click through rate for that was high, it would start to show on the first page. That’s not the case though. His fans want to connect with him on social media and have little to no interest in his official website. For me, searching his name brings up his official website on page #4 of Google.
This proves one point: you can create a very powerful brand ONLY using social media. It’s where the people are, so with an intelligent strategy you can create a loyal following and then direct that following to destination pages and offers.
Social media is the future, and brands are already conducting their customer service almost exclusively on social media because that’s where their customers are hanging out and easily accessible. The days of focusing all of your content and SEO efforts on your main website are coming to an end. The brands that are focused on building a massive social media footprint are the ones that will dominate their niche in the coming years.
Having a solid social media presence is one thing, but understanding how and when to engage with your followers will play a major role in the success or failure of your social media efforts.
If you aren’t putting out a substantial social media effort, start to allocate some of your time and budget to it. Continuing to ignore it or not starting to aggressively build it up will put you in a very bad place shortly. The businesses that see its potential now are the ones that will be seeing the success in the coming years. Think if you learned to dominate SEO in the early days. This is the same opportunity, so don’t miss out.
10. Your brand can still thrive even after a loss.
Conor McGregor just suffered a big loss. It was a major punch to his ego and brand. He was supposed to win that fight. There were very few people who thought there was a chance he would lose that fight. it was a major upset to say the least. He was talking so much trash that it was apparent that he was 100% confident he would be victorious. That wasn’t the case and he lost the fight in what many called the biggest UFC upset in a long time.
But McGregor’s brand won’t suffer.
He didn’t go into hiding. he didn’t change his tune. He’s still the confident personality that he was before the fight. He’s just looking forward to preparing for his next battle.
You need to have the same attitude that he has. You might experience “losses” like a bad Yelp review or a BBB complaint. These things happen, but they aren’t the end of the world. You need to be able to let the losses be learning experiences and motivation to push even harder. If you let them cave you rather then keep pushing, you will have a very difficult time.
Marketing your brand means pushing forward and getting your name out there during the good and bad times. You can never slack or let a bad experience derail your progress.
Look at this snap, this is the first post McGregor put out after the recent loss:
I can promise that McGregor is even more confident and motivated now, after the loss, then he was prior to the fight.
As you can see, the same marketing principles apply for a single person brand that also apply to a huge corporation. This information will benefit you regardless of how large your business is. If you are a one person SEO company or if you run an agency with 30 employees; the same rules apply if you want to build a memorable brand.
McGregor knows that his window of opportunity as a fighter is very limited. Injuries and age are hard to avoid, so he is taking matters into his own hands to make sure that he maximizes his opportunity while he can.
Learn from the champ and start building your own powerful brand using the same blueprint that has obviously worked for him.
If you have any questions or feedback please leave it below and I will do my very best to get back to you ASAP. I love hearing feedback from my readers and I don’t mind answering questions pertaining to the content above. Thanks for reading!
PS: Conor if you happen to read this – Young Irish man (Derry) here, happy to get that website of yours from Page #4 up to Page #1.. not that you need it though 😉