One of the lessons I’m reminded of again and again when marketing is that
no one cares about you; it’s our job to make them.
This is the first in a series of posts I’m doing as I sort through (in my head) issues around inbound. I’ve called it The Cheeky Guide to Content Marketing (#CGTCM). I think I picked up “cheeky” from the MIL, who uses the word a lot.
I have had grand designs to even turn this into an ebook at some point. There are plenty of inbound ebooks on strategy and what you should do. Many of them aren’t very down and dirty though — or talk about the agony of creating something good that just doesn’t work.
Cuz that sucks.
Anyway, this (and many others in this series) will be somewhat thoughtful, but often stream of consciousness. Comments, criticisms, and witticisms are welcomed.
So back to the theme and the first half of it — no one gives a damn about your company.
No One Cares
This isn’t totally true. Loyal customers can come to care about you. I’ve been lusting after a Saddleback leather backpack for years and just joined their Facebook page, I’m starting to care about them because their CEO/founder is open and honest and produces a damn fine product (and funny videos, including one for the hacks who are ripping off his product).
Harley customers tattoo the logo on their bodies. That’s caring. Folks care way too much about the sports teams they follow (WHODAT!).
But no one cares at first.
And when you boil it down, the caring is often transactional:
- Sports = sense of belonging/tribe
- Harley = good product, also a bit of a tribe
- Saddleback = extraordinary product quality and a dedicated fan base (I’m discovering)
When it comes to B2B marketing, which is what I do, I think it’s even more of a transaction. You can develop friendships and care about your tech or copier provider, but the initial relationship is built on “what can you do for me?”
And that’s OK. Doesn’t make anyone a bad person. Makes the marketing frigging hard though because it’s hard to get your fingers into a reason why someone should give a damn about these companies.
They sell a commodity — copiers. Or they sell a service like managed networks. One of the least exciting purchases a company can make. Yet one that many companies need to make (or lease, of course!). All companies need an effective network, but, again, yawn.
So we try to personalize the companies and make them human. Copier dealers are often seen as equal to used car salesmen. How do we lift that relationship from that level? Do you focus on the service technicians — everyone loves those guys, they make the machines work.
We find the core of why people buy from them as opposed to someone else. After doing this for 3 years now in this industry, the funny thing is that it’s an old answer:
- Provide great service
- Don’t bullshit your customer.
- Give them the tools they need to run their business better. Even though they sell a cookie-cutter product, don’t take a cookie-cutter approach to how that product needs to work with different customers.
We’ve learned that this is also the best way to work with our customers — though the “don’t bullshit your customer” doesn’t always work. Consultants are always supposed to have an answer. Personally, I don’t like folks making shit up. I’ve discovered that many folks aren’t comfortable paying for someone who admits they don’t know everything.
It’s almost like they’d rather pay someone with the illusion of capability than someone who is actually capable. Anyway, i digress.
The principle of no one cares about you is hard for some to accept.
Many of the companies we provide services for are stuck in brochureware state of Web development and marketing. Their sites are a giant shit show of stuff they sell. Sometimes with some video case studies and even elements of something interesting. but there’s often no reason for anyone to choose them over the company across the street.
In many cases, if you took the logos off and just read the copy — we’ve often speculated that even the company owner/marketing person wouldn’t be able to tell their Web and marketing copy from their competitors.
The upshot of No one cares about you” is that you have to make them care. Which leads me to the second half of today’s theme, “it’s our job to make them (care).”
Making Them Care
You make them care by having a personality. You make them care by talking about them and not you (good salespeople know this intuitively, bad salespeople are just glorified order takers who get commission for no damn reason).
You make them care by putting them first.
From a content marketing standpoint this means:
- using simple language — no jargon (or explain any jargon you use)
- Case studies – non bullshit ones
- Anything that shows your company has a personality — show more than just your owner and VPs on the about us pages, have interviews with employees to provide personalities (especially customer-facing employees), don’t use “-ize” words, share fun stuff on social pages (have social pages!)
- Answering their questions in content — whether that’s a blog, video, whitepaper, checklist, whatever
- Dangling lots of bait in the waters — to attract new customers, do a lot of “stuff” which is usually a bunch of content, newsletter, social pushes, etc. and et cetera.
And then once you make them care — deliver on your promise of exception service and putting the customer first. But every good business knows that already (and it’s a lesson I have to tell myself when I’m tired and just want to knock off for the day).
If you have a website and you wouldn’t buy from you, you aren’t making anyone give a damn about you. That means that unless you’re competing on price (ug!) ain’t nobody gonna buy from you either based on your site.
The first step to making someone care about you is to entice them to come back again. Given most folks find you via your online storefront (that’d be your website — 24/7 and always open), you need to give them a reason to at least be interested in you. At least enough to come back and eventualy be contacted by a salesperson so that you can make them care by removing a business headache. Hmmm, need to add web info above and/or that’s another post!
I know this is a bit disjointed, but make sense? All three of you that sometimes read this 😉
(Man, I’ve not done a good job of making folks care about this blog! I think I’ll start trying from now on though!)