Here’s a nifty little trick if you ever find yourself getting talked over in a meeting: lower your voice.
When everyone’s shouting over each other, shouting even louder doesn’t get you heard, it just adds to the general din. But if you catch the eye of the person you want to listen to you, and speak confidently but quietly to them, they’ll lean toward you and strain to hear. One by one, everyone else stops their jabbering and leans in to listen.
The same is 100-percent true when it comes to producing great content to hook your ideal customer — the “Mikes” of the world, if you recall my last few articles on the topic!
Make it Stop!
...Because, Oh God, there is so much noise out there. I get sick of it. I’m sure you get sick of it. I guarantee your customers are sick of it too. Every time I open my inbox, there are 50 more spam emails in there. Every time an unknown number rings my phone, I think, “Please don’t let it be cold-call sales.”
But what is it, exactly, that makes these sales techniques so annoying?
Well, I’ll tell you: it’s that it’s all about them. The seller, I mean. They’re trying to get you to do something that’s good for them. They’re contacting you at a time and through a channel that suits them. I look at what they’re sending and I think, “Wow, they're all me, me, me!”
And let’s face it. When was the last time you felt inspired to buy something because you thought it would be in that company’s interests for you to hand over your money?
Make that your starting point. Write it on a Post-It note and stick it to your laptop. Heck, tattoo it on the back of your hand: MARKETING IS ABOUT WHAT THE CLIENT WANTS, NOT WHAT YOU WANT.
Giving Them What They Want
And what does your customer want?
They want to know you have a good idea for how to solve their problem.
They want to actually enjoy the experience of hearing about it.
In other words, give them something valuable and don’t bore them to tears with lackluster delivery. Your content needs to tell a story. It needs to get them thinking differently about their problem. It needs to spark excitement at how you are going to rock their world.
As Kieran Flanagan, VP of Marketing for HubSpot, wrote recently:
Marketing does not change as frequently as we think. A lot of change is because we saturate channels. People used to open their direct mail until it became nothing more than a mailbox filled with ads… Today people expect us to deliver exceptional content; they expect us to provide real-time interactions that answer questions and solve problems. They expect companies to deliver value throughout the entire customer lifecycle. Innovators change human behavior; once you experience the future, you’re not going to be happy with reverting to the past, and that’s why a lot of companies lose market share.
Wise words, people!
How Do I Do It?
Okay, let’s break it down. Here’s what I want you to do:
1. Start being strategic in your content creation.
Build your brand around your commercial insight. Think about a) how you can show off your company’s unique characteristics and methods, and b) how to do this in a way that reflects your personality, capturing their attention with wicked straplines, pictures, humor and all things YOU.
This applies to all the content you create, from blog posts that walk a customer through how to address a certain issue, to corporate PowerPoint presentations you deliver in person. There’s never any excuse to be bland.
Unsure where to start? Check out the super creative @StormGeomatics (Twitter), an English river survey company. They do some cracking campaigns and their Twitter feed is a blast.
Or, for a crazy, creative B2B marketer, follow Doug Kessler @dougkessler (Twitter) of Velocity Partners. His “CRAP” campaign is still going strong after 5 years, and it shows how you can jump completely out of your comfort zone to dazzle your audience.
Oh, and if you’re sitting there thinking, “Wait, what are the unique characteristics I should be focusing on?”, grab a pen and paper and scribble down some answers to these questions, from Gartner’s “Challenger Customers”:
- What are our sustainable, unique strengths?
- Of those unique strengths, which ones are currently underappreciated by our customers?
- What is it that the customer fails to fully understand about their business that leads them to underappreciate our unique, sustainable capability now?
- What would we have to teach that customer about their business that would lead them to value that capability more than they do now?
2. Use Social Platforms (But Be Smart)
Use LinkedIn to develop a following of potential customers, not other surveyors! Be personable and approachable. If you need some inspiration, check out these geospatialers, who have their Instagram nailed:
@TravelingSurveyor: I love his dry humor, which shows off his unique take on his surveying adventures! He’s unique, which in turn builds followers! Remember it doesn’t have to be about the job — people get interested in unique things that stand out!
@Productionsonpoint: Kellen McNally focuses on location scouting, surveying and layout for the entertainment industry. I love the use of his imagery to show off different angles — all telling a story! Great stuff.
Oh, and bear in mind that people tend to follow people, rather than companies. Publishing stuff as ‘you’ rather than your company is likely to get more engagement.
3. Set up Focused Campaigns
Don’t try to talk to everyone at once. Yelling into a megaphone is hardly the way to start a meaningful conversation!
Instead, go back to your buyer personas (remember we talked about this previously?) and be super specific about the kinds of problems and ideas you talk about in your content.
For example, you might create a series of blog posts aimed at people (like Mike — remember him?) who work in airports in low-lying regions, at risk of flooding. The more precise you can be, the more your target customer will think “Ooh, these guys get me!”
4. Make Your Copy Sparkle
Once you know what you want to say and how you want to say it, I’d recommend investing in a professional copywriter who can pull it all together and make it sound awesome.
Okay, so those are the core steps you need to take to start creating top-notch content to wow your audience. This applies to whatever method you’re using, from posts on social media, to blogs, whitepapers and videos, right through to trade show materials and presentations.
The important thing is that you focus on what your customer needs and demonstrate to them that you are the perfect company to tackle that requirement and make their jobs easier as a result. Keep sight of that and you’ll find people start responding positively to your marketing in no time!