Me again! Happy 2018! How are those New Year’s Resolutions going? I’m sure that by now, for many of you, any grand plans to get through a whole dry January / run a marathon / learn Spanish are but distant memories… but here’s something I do want you to stick to: overhauling your marketing strategy to start pulling in your perfect customer.

Today, I’m going to show you how to do just that, with a smart and incredibly effective approach called Content Marketing.

Grabbing Audience Attention

But first — let’s quickly recap where we got to last month. Remember Mike? Our Airport Maintenance Manager? We established this guy as a great example of a perfect buyer persona, and I asked you to step into his shoes, feel his pain points and figure out what problems he faces.

This month, we’re going a step further. We’re going to look at how you take all this information and insight you have about your “Mike” and turn that into top-notch content that attracts, educates and retains people like Mike.

In other words, we’re going to delve into the world of content marketing.

“Oh no!” You’re thinking. “Not more marketing mumbo jumbo!” … but worry not, this isn’t a big pile of jargon; it’s a pretty straightforward idea. As the Content Marketing Institute explains:

“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

In other words, if you’re struggling to figure out how to get your perfect prospects to come to you, content marketing is your tool.

Commercial Insight

In today’s crazy, competitive world, you have to be more than just a provider of information. You have to aim for true thought leadership. Yeah, I know, another annoying marketing term… but an important one.

So what’s that when it’s at home, eh? Well, as the authors of The Challenger Customer, explain:

“Thought Leadership is newsworthy content that your customers can’t easily find for themselves.”

Yes, despite the fancy term, thought leadership really just means interesting, newsworthy content that your customers cannot easily find for themselves, helping to position you as an expert in your field.

It sounds simple — but it’s hard to get right. The companies that do get it right see incredible results, though (which is why I’ve been preaching this approach for years).

Don’t believe me? Take it from Forbes:

“It’s a truism that thought leaders tend to be the most successful individuals or firms in their respective fields.”

Offer a New Perspective

The point of the content you create is to offer your audience (i.e. potential new clients) a new, insightful perspective on their business — something they can really use to make changes for the better. In turn, it helps you build your brand reputation and establish yourself as a trusted source of information.

The problem is this: turning those happy, grateful readers into actual leads.

Because that’s where many ‘thought leaders’ go wrong. They give people great content that makes people think, “Wow, this is good stuff. They know what they’re talking about” … and then they wave goodbye and hope those people will eventually come back and buy from them.

Uh-uh. Doesn’t work like that. Once you’ve got them, you have to work a bit harder to usher them into your funnel, I’m afraid.

To go back to The Challenger Customer (great book, by the way), you need to push for what we call “frame breaking”. i.e. you need to find a way to channel your new reader toward your business and the solutions you offer.

Put another way, you don’t want to offer any old kind of thought leadership. You want to offer something very specific: Insight — and then, Commercial Insight.

By that, I mean that you present yourself as authority on the issues that relate to the kind of problems your company can solve, encouraging the onlooker to take action with you.

Take a look at the thought leadership chart below to see how each stage of content marketing takes you further and further towards a sale.

Commercial Insight chart

Be More Than Newsworthy

As surveyors, we need to be more than just newsworthy.

We need to share with our potential customers (like Mike and his team) our unique insight. You don’t want to just repeat something that the client already knows. That doesn’t help them. Instead, you want to introduce something new... something he has not thought about before. You want to intrigue your Mikes of the world, make them see how they might do things differently (without pushing them over the risk barrier).

You don’t just want them to say, “Wow, this person is smart”. You want them to think “Wow, I’ve been doing it all wrong!” In doing so, you educate Mike and his team on:

  • Why they need you
  • Why they are doing it wrong (i.e. getting them to think differently)
  • How to do it right
  • Why they should do this with YOU (not your competitor)

And crucially, you have to do all of this without ever insulting your potential audience. Hmm, a delicate situation, right? Your tone should be clear, professional and authoritative, yet helpful and approachable, throughout your content creation.

What You Need To Do

In summary, you need to:

Get your client thinking about new ways to solve his problem (remember to keep your content focused on market segments or common needs and problems).

Get across that YOU are the best — or only — person/company for the job, without directly preaching how amazing you are… or rubbishing your competitors!

Before you get stuck, here are three questions you must answer:

What are we GOOD at? Don’t just list vague bullet points, really drill down to details and look at how you fit into the bigger picture, to help Mike get a really good sense of what to expect from working with you.

What are we UNIQUELY good at? i.e. Your unique selling point (USP). What do you offer that absolutely no one else does? This is how you help Mike choose you over your closest rival. Note that if you can’t answer this, you’re going down the route of “price wars”, which is a disaster. Your USP could relate to:

  • Your personality
  • Your reliability as a surveyor
  • Your reputation and deep-level experience understanding the ins and outs of a job
  • Your team and company culture — i.e. the way we do things around here
  • Your support hub
  • Your network of suppliers, which you can draw on to advise your client
  • The technology you use.

Finally, which of your unique capabilities is sustainable? As in, what do you have that doesn’t have an expiration date, or that a competitor can’t steal or replicate? Ouch… hard one, right? Especially as this MUST be unique and true to you and your business!

Only when you’ve answered these questions are you ready to start creating compelling content for your target market. Next month I will share some examples.