Right now, EVERY business is wondering how to reach customers to grow their business. And how to build and attract an audience of loyal customers and fans online? It has become the biggest marketing problem every business is dealing with.
One of the greatest challenges we all face today is our ability to stay relevant to the audience we want to reach. If we’re not relevant, our customers will ultimately find a business that is. In the digital age, creating a strategy to build an audience and engage customers online has become the core business challenge. What’s worse, is that most of us are failing at it.
To become the leading voice in our fields, we’re being told to create content and marketing assets to get our message out: pay for ads, write books, start podcasts, become speakers, publish blogs, create videos, blast email campaigns, create social accounts and YouTube channels. So we are, but the truth is, so far, according to recent reports, it isn’t working that well.
- 94% of B2B businesses claim to be doing content marketing
- only 9% rate their efforts as highly effective
While we’ve all been taking steps in the right direction, our marketing efforts over the past decade have been more reactionary attempts that lack a clear approach to attract the audience we really need. Until now…
Up until the digital age, competition consisted of only three differentials:
Where Was This in the SWOT Analysis?
But now, that’s all changed. Business leaders today have the added pressure of answering not only why a customer should simply buy from them versus their competitor, but also why people should like and follow them to consume their content.
Businesses today are not just brick-and-mortar stores anymore. We’re digital networks focused on common goals, values, and beliefs.
Today, the primary currency in business is our ability to create awareness for the problems we solve for customers. The question is “How?”
Produce Content THEY Actually Want
As trivial as it may sound it’s surprising how many businesses produce content that lacks focus on the customer’s interests.
Whether we like it or not, we’re all part of the media landscape which makes us media companies. Even if you don’t want to accept the responsibility, the writing is on the wall.
“The customer comes first.” How many times have you heard that? But when was the last time you applied this “rule” to your marketing? When you think more like a media company rather than an advertiser, you give your customers the content they want.
Put your customer at the heart of your strategy by creating an inbound audience that comes to you by providing quality content that adds value to the situation they face.
The Customer Is in Control. Not You!
Mike Volpe was the original CMO of HubSpot, a leading tech platform for marketers. He had been with HubSpot since he was their fifth employee. Volpe helped scale the company from 12 beta users to 1,000 employees generating $150M in revenue with a successful IPO leading to a $1.78 market cap. Today, they’re valued at over $500M.
How did they do it?
In part, they created content to attract and add value to their ideal client marketing companies. Mike focused on creating content to help other marketers be successful. By teaching potential customers how to be impactful in their messaging and marketing strategies, HubSpot became a tool, or resource, for best marketing practices taught by HubSpot.
“You don’t want to interrupt the content that people are trying to consume but be that content they want to consume. The buyer is in control, but you’re still marketing as if that’s not true.” – Mike Volpe
Another way of thinking about Mike’s lesson is to stop creating content that is less about promoting a product and more about respecting your audience by finding out what their interests are and acknowledging them
Buyers Consume Information. Give it to Them!
If you weren’t reading this right now, you’d be consuming information somewhere else. Do you know how much time the average person is consuming information online today?
Over 11 hours each day — that’s how much time. US adults are spending more than 11 hours a day on average, or about two-thirds of their waking time, consuming media information.
Customers now have a new level of control over how, when, and where we’re permitted to attract their attention.
Companies that put out 16 or more posts a month receive 3.5 times more traffic to their website than companies that post four or fewer posts per month. According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing attracts three times the number of leads than outbound marketing and costs 62% less. Small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than businesses without them.
Help Them Reach Their Goals Faster
The truth is marketers have become more fixated on HOW to promote than WHAT consumers actually want or care about.
Ask most people what they think about marketing, and they will tell you it’s an ad or some form of promotion. Marketing has a marketing problem. In the real world, marketing is just the process of building relationships and satisfying customers. Customers who understand their buying power know they have many options.
The brands that win more customers are the ones who put their customers ahead of their desire to sell more stuff.
The core of the human experience is looking for solutions we need and those in which we feel we belong. People want to feel that they’re getting closer to the goals they have set out to achieve on their journey.
Which passion are you sharing with them in this journey? What journey or goal are you ultimately looking to connect and achieve with your audience?
Bring People Together
We join tribes to surround ourselves with people who share the same journey and want the same outcomes. Our tribes bring us together around a common goal. So, build one. Whether it’s politics, religion, national identity or a brand, people are hungry to define who they are and what they want.
We join communities and clubs to find other people who are like us.
We do business with brands that “get us” and who understand what really drives us forward. This is why the largest, most successful brands think of themselves and communicate as “movements” instead of products and services.
Isn’t There Already Too Much Content Out There?
A surprising 84% of people actually expect and want brands to create more content for them!
Unfortunately, our attempts are letting consumers down in a big way, especially considering 60% of branded content is reported as poor, irrelevant, and fails to deliver. That’s a massive gap in consumer expectations and what we’re delivering against so far!
Most businesses produce content to fill sales quotas rather than produce content designed to inform, delight, or entertain audiences.
Instead of promoting and floundering like every other business, we now have the opportunity to publish information people actually look forward to learning and enjoying. Whether through articles, videos, or podcasts, we can publish content designed to help our audience achieve the results they desire.
Today, business leaders are learning that most businesses fail because they fail to capture the attention of the customers they really want.
Grow your results faster with a few of these tips to avoid the same marketing problems your competitors do.
PS. If you found this article helpful, you may want to learn why Content Marketing is the Only Skill You Really Need!