I have a marketing friend, a smart guy named Bill Doerr, who describes his target market as biz owners whose greatest assets are ”between their ears and above their shoulder blades.”
How’s that for a definition of your pool of prospects?
Immediately I get a picture of his clients. Business coaches. Sales consultants. Mortgage brokers. Accountants.
He works with professionals from many different fields, helping them find the best ways to market their services. But his clients have one thing in common.
They all sell their expertise.
And the smart ones have figured something out.
They know that it can be scary choosing a marketing firm or graphic designer or real estate agent from a Google search.
They know that a website alone won’t convince most people to hire you.
They know that, before a prospect picks up the phone, they want to know that you can solve their problem. That you know what you are doing, And that their hard-earned dollars will not be sucked into a swirling vortex.
That disconnect can be a huge problem.
Because if people don’t know anything about you, how can they trust you with their taxes or home purchase or marketing copy?
The smart ones have figured it out. They have discovered content marketing.
They are feeding their prospects fresh, helpful, content-rich tips in snack-sized bites. In e-newsletters. In blogs. In Internet article directories.
And, yes, they are giving it away.
“But how can you make a living giving stuff away?”
I got a sweet email last week from a subscriber to Marketing Hotspots, our free weekly e-tip. He said:
I have been enjoying Marketing Hotspots from the very first issue. What has me stumped is I can’t figure out how you can be making a living on this. I don’t remember sending any money or seeing anything that says anyone who gets Hotspots has to pay for it.
I guess I am just dense.
I was struck by his honesty. And the fact that he wondered why I wasn’t charging for the content.
That one made me smile.
Because free content is only remarkable when it adds value.
This subscriber I happened to know well. He leans toward the old school marketing side. You provide a service. Your customer pays. You get to buy groceries. Or pay your electric bill. Or your mortgage.
The content marketing piggy bank
I answered my friend’s question in an email something like this:
You are right. We do not charge for Marketing Hotspots. It’s free, useful content. But you know what? I can’t count the number of times we have gotten a call on a Tuesday (the day Hotspots comes out) from someone who is having just the kind of problem that particular issue focused on.
And they say:
“You hit me at just the right time. I need help with just this thing. Can you help me?”
Other times, I’ll get emails like:
“Wow. This e-tip seems to have been written just for me this week. Thanks!”
“This e-tip was particularly helpful. I’m going to take your advice.”
So it all goes into the content marketing piggy bank. The good will. The increased trust. The credibility building. And when the time is right, you open the piggy bank.
And you know what happens next.
Used right, content marketing helps you:
- Build trust. As your prospects get to know you, they also come to trust you. They know you will not take advantage of them because you are always so darned helpful. Giving while asking for nothing in return builds trust. And eventually they trust you enough to ask if you can solve a problem for them. And you get a new client.
- Show how much you know. Your blog, your newsletter, your articles, that free report, are perfect for positioning yourself as the one who understands your clients’ problems and can show them how to solve them—or how you can solve them. On places like biznik.com, even at the free membership level, you can write content-rich articles that are rated by others for their helpfulness, on a scale from 1 to 10. I publish articles there regularly. Because it builds my credibility as an expert.
- Strengthen relationships. Every email you get, ”Thank you for the social media profile copywriting tips. I’m going to my LinkedIn profile right now to make some changes!”, every comment on your blog post or article, brings you closer to your clients and prospective customers. They get to know you better, you get to know them better. And you have a deeper understanding of their issues and problems.
It’s true that people may run with your advice in a do-it-yourself kind of way. Sometimes, though, they have one of two problems: They don’t have the skills or they don’t have the time. In both cases, they will probably pick up the phone and call you. Or they might forward the issue to a friend who is having just this kind of problem.
If they trust you, if they see you as an expert and if they feel that you have taken the time to
develop a relationship with them.
What do you think?
Does content marketing make sense for your business?
Are you using it as a strategy?
Are you considering it?