Shut Up While I Yell At You!

Why you’re possibly doing it wrong

Don’t you hate it when you’re interrupted while watching a great movie on TV or a game with your favourite team?  Usually by an ad from some company you could care less about.  It’s something we used to just put up with, but technology and markets have come to the rescue.

Pay TV was supposed to be the first way for us to escape the advertising barrage.  They too are taking the cash and not giving the users what they want.  Can’t blame them I guess – that captive audience couple with the opportunity to rake in some extra revenue sure is tempting.  It’s going to end up pushing people to find other ways to get the content they want without having to endure 20th century marketing.  There’s a bit of an arms race going on between the punters and the advertisers. Whole companies have been born out of our loathing for this type of marketing (Netflix, Hulu, etc.).

Has the penny dropped that this is how most of your target market feels when you try to get their attention as they go about their business?

Interrupting people from whatever they were doing so you can give them a “valuable message” about your product or service rarely works.  Our ability to filter out the marketing noise we encounter in our day to day activities has is stronger than ever.  It’s only getting sharpened from years of bombardment.  You might as well run up to people in the street and just yell at them!  The result will be just as effective as employing traditional marketing techniques.

Many small business owners are overwhelmed when they begin to look into how they can market effectively to their prospects. If they engage a consultant to figure out for them what they should be doing, they’ll often end up even more confused than when they started. Somtimes it seems the consultants job is to make things sound more difficult than they are so they can keep you paying those high fees.

Here’s the secret. Are you ready for it? Engage with people when they are actively looking for information about what it is you do. That’s what content/inbound marketing is. You make “stuff” about what you do, why you do it and why people should get their stuff from you, then you make sure it’s available to people. Blog posts, YouTube videos, white papers, “X secrets from an industry Insider”, etc. There’s some awesome resources out there on there on the internets that are freely available.

One I would particularly recommend is HubSpot’s Inbound marketing certification. It naturally leans to the the product they sell, bu it is also an excellent (free) introduction to anyone that wants to get started with inbound/content marketing. It takes a few hours to get through, so if you haven’t got the time here’s a quick summary:

  • Create buyer personas – these are fictional amalgamations of a group of clients that your business sells to. You might have one or ten. You want to come up with a story around your persona. Things such as demographics, buying motives, etc. Make sure you have it available to anyone that is producing content for your business.
  • The content you make should target your personas. Base your personas on actual research or your message could miss the mark. You’ll want to identify trends in your current and potential client base, then create your personas based on those.
  • Think of the road to the sale for your business – how do users educate themselves and make a decision? Make sure you create content that addresses this journey for your clients.
  • Create and leverage content:
    • You’ll want content that is going to attract leads (social media, website, blog, etc.)
    • You also need content that is going to help your buyer make a decision and close (web forms, landing pages, email, etc.)
    • You should have content that will knock their socks off after they become a client. Think of things such as welcoming them as a new client, fixing up problems if there are any, and getting referrals/upsells.

I’m sure there will be some debate about this, but I think you should also go light on the sales messages.  The majority of content you create should be helpful and informative.  Sprinkle some sales stuff in here and there.  Nobody wants a hounding with each time they read something with “Buy, buy, buy!”. Content and Inbound marketing is about building trust and adding value.  If you’re able to do this, prospects will most likely buy from you at some stage if you’ve been able to help them out.

Finally, you’ll want to look at automating as much of the process as you can.  Not the creation side of it – that going to need a bit of creativity, commitment and effort on a continual basis.  I’m talking about the back-end.

For example:

  • Gathering leads as they come in
  • Keeping prospects engaged with scheduled content
  • Making sure you follow up
  • Turning as many leads as you can into raving fans that not only buy from you but recommend you to their friends.

You can check out a demo of how I do that here with Infusionsoft.  That’s my weapon of choice, but there’s plenty of arms brokers out there. Feel free to reach out if you’d like to talk about any of the offerings you are considering to help you in your journey.  There’s no one-sized-fits all solution.

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