Content Marketing Is Not Direct Marketing’s Ugly Step Sister
We’ve all met the client that has no idea what the difference is between copywriting and content marketing. Or, the client who wants it all, done his way, with no regard for the nuances and subtleties of the marketing asset that is content. And, there’s always the do more and faster client, who heard the rumors of other businesses that experienced exponential growth from their content marketing efforts. So how can we help to illuminate the compound benefits of a well thought out content marketing strategy to those who have no idea what the value potential is or how to appreciate the complexity of using content for relationship building.
To make the case for content marketing, we tend to approach it in this manner, as presented by Robert Rose of Content Marketing Institute, “Give us permission and budget to create content, and we’ll produce awesome stuff that will be more successful than advertising at driving top-of-the-funnel results.” And while there is no doubt that content applied properly and consistently can bring said results, we certainly would be missing the true benefits of this marketing model if we don’t learn the value of content outside of sales funnels. We must understand the longterm benefits of this asset and learn how to deliver useful, valuable material out of our desire to truly serve those who depend on us. So let’s discuss each of these points and then tie them together in a way our clients can come to see the real advantage of implementing a clear content strategy.
Relationship Building: Content’s True Superpower
I will admit, I didn’t always understand the merit of creating relevant relatable content. I was of the more-more mentality, so my strategy was often to flood them with words and they will come. But, here’s the problem with the more-more approach, people are already swamped with useless information. How many emails are currently sitting in your inbox unopened because you opted for a piece of content that didn’t solve your problem?
To be able to communicate the power of content marketing done right, we must first learn the value of this business building asset which is relationship building. But you also must delve deeper and realize that marketing, just like dating, means being selective of who you build these relationships with. No marketer wants to spend his or her time investing in people who never take the next step with them. So you must take the time to understand, listen to and focus on your “love interest.” Your prospects have a love language and if you listen, you will hear what they need, how they need it and in what format. Of course, just like a dating relationship, time invested must be mutually beneficial, so ensure you have clearly outlined what your marketing goals and missions are and determine how this plan will suit both your needs. With your tactical plays lined up, you can go on to woo the object of your affection ( you do love your customers, right?) with the most useful information that inspires them to take action.
Don’t Be A Premature Publisher
So now you have your audience’s attention, and you know they like you, what must you do to ensure they aren’t turned off by your tendency to rush to the goal? Well, you must practice the discipline of appreciating the subtle yet long-term benefits of the relationship you are building. Since you are playing for keeps, you want to ensure the prospects you are investing in is the best for your business and not just a one-hit wonder. (I know you expected me to say one night stand here lol). Either way, your content assets can make your customers or clients way better, in terms of loyalty and lifetime value. Once your prospects see the value in what you have to offer and become willing to pay you for it, you can continue to nurture them past the honeymoon phase straight to a lifetime commitment.
Aside from building better prospects, content, when done from a place of service becomes a two-way communication tool. Not only will you be interested in starting the conversations that expand your clients and customers minds, but you will also become keenly interested in what they have to say, after all, you guys are building a life together. When you listen to your customers’ feedback, concerns, pain points, and celebrations, you show them that you genuinely care for their growth and future. And additionally, you get to walk a mile in their shoes, so to speak, so you get a more intimate understanding of their problems and potential and provide better solutions. It’s truly a win-win approach when you take your time and create from a place of loving servitude, instead of just word vomiting on the people who are learning to trust you. Think before you hit publish, is this going to fulfill and satisfy my audience and will this serve my end goal of being a part of their lives forever? If no, practice some restraint and go the distance, you’ll be rewarded for your efforts.
Let Them Gush About How Impressive You Are
Here you are, you’ve put in the effort, won their hearts and now you’re staring out the window of your life, smoking the proverbial victory cigar, wondering what will happen now. How do you top yesterday’s performance so they can brag about you to others and start the true attraction cycle? Well, you can do this in 3 ways:
- Give them something to talk about- Emotions drive everything we do, and not just women. Connect with your prospects on such an emotional level, they just have to share it or tell someone about what it meant to them. Often we separate business from emotions as if people buy from a logical point. This is a dangerous and costly assumption because people buy to placate their desires. A man with erectile dysfunction does not care about the color of the pill, he cares about soothing his ego and feeling pride in his manhood. Apply this to your content production and watch the engagement and inquiries about your business poor in.
- Give them for free although they’d easily pay for it- I love Marie Forleo so much I want to marry her and have her babies. Everything she creates rocks my entire world. And yet, some of the most crucial content that has changed my perspective on marketing I got for free. We all love it when our marketing funnels convert, but we often miss the opportunities available in the relationship funnel. Expand your strategies to include conversions that go beyond the ROI metrics. Nurture the new signups and retain the old by being consistent with the understandable and actionable information you offer for free. Think about it like getting a partner a gift for no other reason than you think they deserve it. How much longer do you think that relationship would last compared to the partner who forgets anniversaries and just remembers birthdays because of social media reminders. Also, don’t be that guy/gal, nobody likes them.
- Wow them with your consistent effort to improve their lives- I expect by now you’re starting to see a pattern here. This relationship building is continuous, you don’t get to catch them and then fall off or neglect them. Content Marketing Institute has a whole segment on using “How To” posts to answer core questions about your business and to help your customers before and after they purchase, you can read that article here. You could consider going even further and doing what most businesses neglect to do, personalized services. Send a birthday greeting, create a customer story video or case study to feature them( think Facebook stories), or simply offer the best possible customer service they have experienced, think Chick Fil A versus Taco Hell. These things can be incorporated into your marketing systems so though they are personalized, they are still automated and do not require much extra time or resources. If you don’t yet have systems in place, this blog discusses a good place to start, so you have a foundation on which to build for future growth.
I hope by now you see that by learning the value of content marketing and the strong relationships it builds you can increase the potential and profit of your own business over time. And that you will become passionate about developing a strategic content marketing plan that focuses on creating an environment of love, trust, and knowledge that makes your audience yearn for what you have to tell them. As to how to convince your clients that content has more worth than just being another tactic to get seen, you will have developed so much regard for the shift that content created in your business that you will have no problems putting some respect on this asset’s name. Essentially, once you have made the case for content in your own business, convincing others is light work. I leave you with this quote from Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer of Marketing Profs, “Make your customers the her of your stories.”
Want more posts about creating content from a place of love and service? Join my Facebook Group, Sassy Content Marketing and stay tuned for the 30 Days of Content tips and advice, geared toward securing customers and clients and growing your business.