One of the biggest challenges for the blogger and online entrepreneur today is being heard above the noise aimed squarely at their target audience. Whether you are selling unique products, compelling services or great ideas, getting your message heard is critical.
Reaching your ideal customer through the mass of noise vying for their attention…
Blogs, newsletters, podcasts, YouTube channels and social sharing sites can all help you reach your audience, but your competitors are also using them as a media bullhorn right into your ideal prospect’s email inbox and social media streams.
Without huge budgets and professional marketing departments, long gone are the days small business owners can count on “interruption marketing” to gain the attention of potential clients. These days, a comprehensive marketing strategy MUST prioritize permission marketing.
Questioning traditional interruption marketing…
Permission marketing (also considered “attraction marketing” by some) brings you and your message to the attention of your audience at the right time and develops the “know-like-trust” factor that can lead to increased interest and sales. It boosts the likelihood of being “top of mind” when your product or service would be the ideal solution to someone’s problem.
Seth Godin is often called the “Godfather of Permission Marketing.” He states the following in his blog:
“Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.
It recognizes the new power of the best consumers to ignore marketing. It realizes that treating people with respect is the best way to earn their attention.”
Every human being craves honor and respect. When we forget that, or ignore it altogether, and treat our subscribers, followers and readers like numbers on our personal and professional scorecard, we lose their respect.
Internet marketing gurus of the worst kind have touted their philosophy of “throw it against the wall and see what sticks”, leading to unbelievable amounts of spam everywhere. In truth, somehow even traditional Madison Avenue advertisers have conditioned us to market that way…until it no longer works, now that the power of the remote…or mouse and delete button…is in consumers’ hands.
Now, we are seeing a backlash against offensive, intrusive advertising and promotion. Power has shifted to some degree and consumers have more choices. That has lead to significant deafness by consumers to the in-your-face interruption marketing approach.
Even mainstream services like Hulu are facing the reticence of consumers to both pay for content (through the Hulu Plus service) AND pay with their time by sitting through commercials…required even for those who paid for the premium service. That kind of “double-dipping” by content providers doesn’t sit well with viewers who have far more choices than ever.
Power to consumers…
The internet hasn’t just changed the way people read books and magazines and watch entertaining shows. It has changed the buying habits of hundreds of millions of people and will continue to change as market power shifts and marketing becomes more targeted to specific niche interests.
“The most interesting things in life happen just on the other side of your comfort zone.” – Michael Hyatt
Product and service providers who understand this cataclysmic shift and adapt quickly can gain huge market share. In fact, the internet is becoming the “great equalizer” for smaller companies and entrepreneurs. Large companies sometimes miss the symptoms of a dissatisfied customer base and frequently don’t have the ability to make quick corrections in their overall strategies.
That’s where you can shine.
5 ways to use content marketing as leverage to attract your ideal customer and gain market share…
- Produce useful, timely content. Spend time looking at trends in your market. Read blogs, industry articles and books and check out recent podcasts and web videos to find “what’s working now”.Do not neglect looking at relevant content outside your industry so that you can look at the issues from a fresh perspective. Then adapt those strategies to your market and create impactful content that will be useful to your ideal prospect.
- Produce content in multiple formats. The way people like to consume content these days is changing. Some people like to read; others like to listen to or watch your content.Consider providing reports in downloadable pdf format, in kindle ebooks, in video presentations, in podcasts, in live webinars and hangouts. Give people multiple ways to discover your value.
- Speak your ideal customer’s language. If your ideal customer base is concentrated in a particular industry, use that industry’s lingo. If your customers all have PhD degrees, avoid slang. On the other hand, if you are targeting pop culture, keep the reading level (vocabulary, sentence structure and length) and communication style accessible to the masses.
- Seek feedback and plan for course corrections. Periodically poll or question your current and prospective customers. Ask them questions about their needs and how your products or services meet (or don’t!) their expectations. Then LISTEN carefully to the answers. When needed, adjust and seek feedback again. Make this a planned, ongoing process in your business operations.
- Follow the 80/20 rule. [Tweet "You may find that you sell more by selling less."] You may find that you sell more by selling less. Focus on providing great value about 80% of the time, whether on your website, in emails, or in your social media posts. This positions you powerfully as the expert with your customers’ best interests in mind. content.When you provide great value that keeps you “top of mind” with potential clients, you will find a greater openness to your sales pitches when you DO make them. This is not disingenuous. It’s simply leading with value.
Your company, project or cause has advantages unknown to previous generations of entrepreneurs. The traditional gatekeepers of media, publishing and even business have lost considerable power to new content producers who have learned to leverage technology, new marketing opportunities and changing platforms. Follow these 5 strategies and you’ll stop chasing customers and find them chasing you.
Question: Do you use content marketing (via blog, podcast, video, etc…) to reach your customers and prospects? Which of the 5 strategies in the article will you add to your current strategy? Do you have any other suggestions for fellow readers?
I welcome your answers and relevant comments below! Feel free to add your website or most recent blog post URL to your comments. I love to know what projects my readers are passionate about! (Your comment will not be posted immediately as all comments are moderated to add value and not just promotional links.)