While writing this article I had reason to check my Yahoo email at intervals and, annoyingly, the nine (9) messages at the top of my inbox at one point were, you guessed it, promotional junk.
“Earn double points” blah, blah, blah. “Wow! $9.99 dress shirts!” “Up to 25% off ends tonight”. “60% off contemporary looks”. “Last chance to get $30 off your purchase of $100 or more”. “75% off all clearance items”. “50% off all dresses”. “You don’t want to miss this deal”. And the list went on.
And you may wonder if I even opened those messages. The answer is ‘no’… well except for the ‘75% off all clearance items’ bait that came from a children’s store at a time when my little one is overdue a wardrobe upgrade.
I must admit, however, that a number of these messages are from apparel retailers to whom I had willingly, but naively, given my email address in exchange for “exclusive” savings and other offerings — a major regret I might add.
Except for the occasional hard-to-resist snare, these messages end up somewhere in the cyber dump as every other weekend or so I find myself hosting a grand ‘block’ party — trashing promotional emails that Yahoo hasn’t yet marked as spam and attempting to bar their senders from cluttering my inbox further with unwanted content.
I take pleasure in undertaking these mass deletions as the messages offer very little value — all screaming “sell, sell, sell”. Except for the truly compulsive buyer, I hardly feel that I am alone in viewing these messages as more invasive than beneficial.
We can all agree that selling features and benefits is the nexus of product differentiation. According to marketing textbooks, attention-grabbing content is key to lead generation as per modern-day strategies. But is the content embedded in your marketing collateral what your target audience really wants?
Take a step back to the email examples above: what if, at least, one offered something of value… like tips on how to care for and extend the life of the items I bought? Content offering solutions to a problem I am faced with, perhaps? Most likely my reaction would have been different.
To borrow a quote from United States-based marketing guru, Joe Chernov, “your top of the funnel content must be intellectually divorced from your product but emotionally wed to it.” In other words, the goal of your content should be more about creating value for your customers. Sell, but subtly.
Creating content that offers value
If you are a boss interior decorator or a skilled makeup artist who can magically transform spaces and faces from the cliched ‘drab to fab’ within minutes, consider how many more prospects you could pull to your website if your inbound marketing content focused on space improvement and makeup application tips for the ‘Average Jane’.
That’s the genesis of value-based content. The goal is not to give away all your expert knowledge for free, but to create value, you need to exchange places with that of your target audience for a moment and put deep thought into what sort of content they might be searching for.
Here are some tips for your next content marketing assignment:
- Join the discussion. With the Internet and social media, it’s easy to find out what the main topics of discussion around your industry are and align your content with what’s ‘trending’.
- Offering guidance through your content can build trust in your brand.
- Ensure that whatever content you put out conforms with branding guidelines as even third-party content that you curate will be viewed as an endorsement by your brand.
- Offer quality content. Always keep on top of the mind how much damage less than stellar content can do to the reputation of your brand.
- Engage. Engage. Engage. Making your content engaging is so much easier these days as social media and other Internet tracking tools can help you determine quickly if your content is a hit or miss.
- Make it interactive. Always ensure that your content-sharing platform is interactive and allows you to interact with people who respond to your call to action.
The truth is, content that is value-based will most likely get the right clients interested in your product or service and thus push the growth of your business. As marketing speaker Andrew Davis puts it: “Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.”
As an IMPACT agency, we have helped countless clients to develop content that offers value. We are ready and willing to do the same for you. Book a free consultation now and start taking your marketing activities to the next level.