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“What do you do?” How common is that question when you’re networking, or in most conversations?
And what is your answer?
Take a pause here, because you can answer that question differently, in such a way that you make people take notice. This is about the power of storytelling and leaving a legacy that lingers in people’s minds.
This is what we explored in the most recent of our Marketing Challenge workshops, held at The St James’s Club, Manchester.
Contains No Nuts
Marketers will reiterate that when you promote a product or service you highlight the benefits, not the features. The features are not always what your prospects and customers need to know. What they need to know is how what you offer them will make a difference to their lives.
That is why marketing consumer goods is all about marketing lifestyles, aspirations and emotions.
Effective storytelling follows a similar principle. You miss out the nuts and bolts and focus on the stuff that resonates emotionally.
There are two key elements here: pain and legacy.
Pain and Legacy
Start with the pain:
- What problems do your customers and prospects have?
- What issues keep them awake at night?
- What could their long-term consequences be without your involvement?
Are they failing to maintain their profit margins, or suffering a high staff turnover? Are their energy bills too high, or their distribution channels too restricted?
Knowing and understanding these pains can be an initial attention-getter.
Then it’s about following it up with the legacy part:
- What changes have you enabled your customers, similar to the prospect you are addressing, to make?
- What are the long-term benefits of your involvement?
Boil this down to something concise and it is far more effective than simply telling people what you do.
While much marketing should be common sense, like all deceptively simple things, it can be hard to tell your stories well. It’s as much about developing a mindset as following guidelines or rules. This is what the first part of our recent Marketing Challenge event looked at.
Our Marketing Challenge events are informal and friendly, but focused. They are events with a purpose, enabling guests to attract, connect and educate their target audiences
Guest were given a storytelling structure, then we lead them through a dynamic, involving workshop where they developed their legacy stories.
Our aim is to ensure that guests leave with something that not only can they think about, but which they can use to improve their own marketing and engagement with customers and prospects.
That’s our legacy. What will be yours?
Is content marketing a dubious concept? Some might think so, because it shifts the emphasis away from selling. However, this is precisely why content marketing can be so effective.
Content marketing is an essential means of building trust and relationships with prospects, contacts and customers in a digital age.
Imagine the traditional corner shop. It’s reputation in a neighbourhood may now be something of a cliché, but it can still be a place where the shopkeeper knows his customers well, where he has built face-to-face relationships with them, and where they trust him or her.
Content marketing helps to capture the essence of this corner shop experience and use it to help businesses reach out and connect with their target audience.
It uses three special ingredients to do this: personalisation, customer-focus, and value.
Make Content Marketing Personal
The digital experience, as a customer, can feel very remote and impersonal. However, using online channels can personalise what a business can offer, providing they use them in the right way.
Social media provides the perfect, organic marketing platform, providing you have the kind of content that can tap into your audience’s likes, needs and concerns.
Just like the shopkeeper talking to customers over the counter, ensure that your content makes your audience feel like you’re talking to them, directly and personally.
Concentrate on the Customer
Rather than attempting to sell something to your audience, your content should be empathetic, offers something of value and sees things from their perspective.
By making your audience know that you understand them, this allows them to build trust in you.
Good shopkeepers ask customers how they are, what ails them, what they’re interested in. It’s about the customer, first and foremost.
Give Good Value
If you give something extra, freely, people appreciate this. It’s a proven part of customer service and it works for content.
Content adds value because it addresses issues and recognises problems, and you can offer it as free advice to your prospects and customers. What do you want in return? Enough to be able to build a dialogue with your audience.
Using certain tools and analytics, we know exactly who is taking an interest in us and, in some instances, know what their pains are before they have spoken to us. This enables us to have a much focused dialogue.
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