“Traditional marketing talks at people. Content marketing talks with them.” – Doug Kessler
Does anyone really enjoy listening to a sales pitch? Personally, I find them rather annoying. When I go shopping with my human at our local pet supplies retailer (best store ever!), I like to sniff around until I locate something interesting. Sometimes my nose leads me to the rawhide aisle, and other times I find myself captivated by squeaky toys.
Meanwhile, my human has other interests. He’s there to pick up my food, as well as the evil-smelling flea medicine and, if I’m good (which I always am) a special treat. If he needs help finding something, he can ask a helpful salesperson.
We don’t want our bonding/shopping time interrupted by some long-winded sales pitch about the newest organic, limited-ingredient, all natural, hypo-allergenic, super-nutritious, vet-approved kibble. (Unless, of course, they’re providing free samples!) Being hounded (pun intended) by an overzealous salesperson just makes me want to snarl.
The same principle applies to content marketing.
Create Non-Salesy Content that Solves Problems
We all know that consumers and B2B customers don’t like being “sold to,” and yet a lot of online content still sounds like a barely concealed sales pitch. Hey, I know it’s a hard habit to break (and I also know how hard it is to break bad habits like shoe chewing). Naturally, you think your company/product/service is awesome and you want people to know that. So, you keep telling them, over and over and over…
But guess what? They will realize your awesomeness when you provide helpful content that encourages them to learn more about you. When developing content, ask yourself:
- What are our customers and their influencers most concerned about? (Example: I am most concerned about treats that taste good, while my human is more interested in nutrition.)
- What would make their lives easier? (Example: Flea and tick prevention that really works and doesn’t make me gag would make us both more comfortable!)
- What information would help them do their job better or make a better decision? (Example: My human could use a bigger, more effective pooper scooper – I do weigh in at 190, you know.)
Ease the Pain
Once you develop a list of your customers’ pain points, find the place where your product or services overlap and create messages around those topics.
In person, you could spend 20 minutes talking to me about how your brand of dog biscuits taste amazing and have nutritional value, but I would probably tune you out and start thinking about other things (squirrel!). It would be far more effective to just give me one to try. Trust me, I’ll let my human know whether I like it. That’s why product samples can so effective.
But, what about content? Well, let’s say my human is interested in making my coat healthier (although it’s hard to improve upon perfection). He looks up “treats that are good for a dog’s coat and skin” and finds your super helpful article about what ingredients are beneficial for a healthy coat. Maybe you also rate different treats based on these essential ingredients – and are dog approved. Bingo! You’ve just helped my human make an informed decision.
He’ll more than likely remember your brand, see you as a thought leader on the subject, and return to your site for more information.
Develop a Dialogue
As the opening quote states, it’s better to talk with people than to talk at them. Instead of making assumptions about what your customers want, try asking what’s important to them, what problems they’re trying to solve, or what information would be helpful. Encourage them to comment on your blog, leave questions on your website, respond to your social media posts and share their experiences with you. This type of dialogue increases engagement and helps boost your online presence. And, it won’t make your customers growl with frustration.
It can also give you great ideas for future content.
While I’m a big advocate of free samples, I realize that you can’t provide trials of certain products and services, and you don’t always have an opportunity to interact with customers nose-to-nose (I mean face-to-face). So, the next best thing is to offer tasty tidbits of helpful content that keeps your customers coming back for more.
Looking for ways to improve your content or develop a content strategy? The humans at Spry Ideas can help you create content that generates leads, nurtures customers and closes deals. Give Kevin Anger (our non-annoying sales guy) a call at 734-531-7421 or visit us at www.spryideas.com.