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A case for value-based content

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.

Getting Your Brand to Stick

I eyeballed the shirt. Bright orange. I just love orange! White logo. Looks snappy. Long sleeves. Perfect. It really will look great with my jeans. I must have it!!

Happily, I took the shirt to the counter and paid for it. It was only on my drive home that I really started thinking about why I had to have the shirt.

Now you might think it’s a big brand shirt. Nope. It’s for the gym I joined – Orangetheory®. Straight up, I’m not typically inclined to buy or wear branded shirts from businesses, since being a walking billboard isn’t my usual thing, even if I frequent them regularly. Case in point, I’d been a member of a few gyms over the years and never once felt inclined to buy any branded material from them. So what was going on here?

Brand attachment –  that’s what was going on.

Brand attachment is defined by JoAnn Sciarinno as “the emotional connection between humans and brands.” It’s what makes your brand stick, and it happens when you put together these three elements:

  1. Affection
  2. Connection
  3. Passion

So back to Orangetheory® and my drive home, furiously connecting the dots that made me want to buy their clothes. Team sports have always been my thing and that was the first reason it appealed to me. One coach leads up to 24 people through cardio and weight training exercises, cueing and coaching along the way. I hadn’t played sports in a long time and this made me feel like I belonged to a team again. I liked it.

The bud of affection starts to grow.

Top it off with the fact that I get greeted by name and a big smile each morning when I walk in, they remember my birthday (which as cool as this is, isn’t quite so cool when they tell you that you have to do birthday burpees – but they cheer me on as I wheeze through more of them than I would like to say, and I feel good that I can still stand after…which really is the point isn’t it?) I’m encouraged by name through the workout, and if I don’t show up for a couple of weeks I usually get a Facebook message from my coach asking if I’m doing ok. Makes me feel darn good.

Affection cinched.

Some of the workouts also include partner training. One of us does one exercise until our partner tags us out, or we have to do the exercises together. That starts putting faces and names together and the connection builds. And of course there are challenges. Nothing like a little bit of competition against the other teams to see who can go the farthest, or get through the most rounds, to get you and your partner working toward a common goal. And the feeling of connection doesn’t stop there, they go even bigger. Studio celebration events, fundraisers for various charities, supporting a family at Christmas at each location, entering teams into obstacle course races, and more! They build their ties within the membership and the community.

Connected? Give me a high five!

The passion for this gym starts with the coaches. I’ve heard hundreds of times that one of the coaches bleeds orange, she loves her job so much. That kind of passion is contagious, especially when they add in individual celebrations to really encourage you to do and share your best. Did you beat the distance of your last run? Awesome! Did you row farther than you did before? You rock! First time you’ve been that weight since high school? Holy snap that’s amazing!! Let’s take a picture and share it with the world!

I love checking the feeds to see what team member has done what this week and giving them my likes and encouraging comments. It makes me feel good that they feel good. Or proud when I’m the one that’s being celebrated. I just LOVE that place! Who do I tell about it? Just about everyone!

Passion solidified.

Put it all together and there I am at the counter paying for a bright orange shirt I can’t wait to wear.

Getting your brand to stick is all about developing those three factors that create that kind of brand attachment.

Need some help developing that kind of awesome for your business? We’re the impact agency that will do it.  Feel free to connect with us and book a complimentary consult today. We’d love to get your brand to stick like it never has before!

How to Get a Consistent Flow of Leads from Social Media

We all know that we should be doing something about our social media marketing, but many marketing managers and business owners wonder what, specifically, it is they should be doing to gain traction and get consistent leads from their social media efforts. Whether you’re in Calgary internet marketing or anywhere else in the world, these tips will give you actionable tools and steps to take, and ensure that your efforts are actually paying off. So let’s get started.

When you look at your marketing plan, it’s essential to know exactly who your target audience is, before you make any decisions about media vehicles and social media platforms. At BottomLine, we always start with proper market research and building an in-depth customer avatar.

To see how effective proper research can be, skip over to our post How We Found $76K for a Business Using Only Market Research.

This is where we recommend that you start too, but you can certainly get going with just the basics.

You want to really understand your customers from every level, working out the demographics and psychographics, so you can understand what will really motivate them to interact with you, and eventually purchase from you.

We’ve created a handy-dandy downloadable worksheet for you to fully build your customer avatar.

Customer Avatar Worksheet – Get yours here.

Print it out and follow along.  Building customer avatars is part of our market research process, because you can’t properly market to someone until you understand them.

We start with wants and values of your current and potential clients.

  • What does the customer really want in their life or their business?
  • Is there something that they’re trying to achieve?
  • Is there something that they really value?

Then we move onto their pain points.

  • What sort of challenges does your target have?
  • What are they frustrated with?
  • What are they tired of?

Next, it’s important to take a look at where they hang out, and what makes them tick.

  • Are there particular publications they would read?
  • Blogs they would follow?
  • Interests they have?
  • Places they go?

All of this information will help you with your targeting.

Now that you’ve built an avatar of who your customer is, you need to look at creating a strategy around it. We recommend creating content, not only your around your avatar, but also around a specific goal you want to meet. That way you have a clear direction for your posts.

Having an editorial calendar is key to success with social media. We all get caught up in the day to day of our businesses, and if you don’t have a plan to follow, it will be exceptionally difficult to execute on the specific plan you build. You can create an editorial calendar in something as simple as excel. Be sure you are posting on each social media platform daily.

We suggest writing a blog post a minimum of once per week, and then repurpose the content inside it. So select your blog topics first, write the blogs, then pluck out quotes from the blog that can be worked into posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. This will give you some quick and easy posts to start with. You can then fill in the rest of the month with quotes, articles that are from other sources, photos, questions, and so on. The idea is to create a really good mix of content.

The biggest factor is to make sure is that ALL your content adds value to your specific avatar.

I’ll say that again…content that adds VALUE.

This is probably the biggest mistake that’s made with social media. People think they need to broadcast “buy from me, buy from me” but what you really need to do is set yourself apart as an expert and a leader in your industry. Be someone they can turn to for help. Then once your customer trusts you, they’ll buy from you. So continue to add value wherever you can!

Your next step is to take a look at the keywords and hashtags related to your particular product or service. Is there a strategy you can build around the hashtags and/or keywords in your posts? Be sure to choose keywords that truly fit your business. For example, Advertising Agencies Calgary is one of our keywords. It is exactly what we are, so it makes sense to use it in our hashtags as well. Sometimes companies use other keywords or hashtags that don’t support their business, which won’t support a marketing and SEO strategy to create the consistency necessary to drive business leads.

Linking back to your blog or website with your social media posts is also important to your strategy because the backlinks will help with your website’s organic ranking. It also gives people new to you and your business a quick way to get to your website to learn more about what you do and how you might be able to help them.

The last thing to plan with your organic content is – how will you engage your users? Tagging people in your posts, running contests, chatting with people, is what social media is all about.You have to be SOCIAL. Remember that it’s a conversation and a way to build relationships, not a broadcast platform. The more that you reach out, connect, and engage with people, the stronger your relationship will be.

There are also paid ads on social media, which can definitely gain a lot of traction for your business when they are done well. But that’s a whole other blog post!

Good luck…and remember – be consistent.

Got something to share? We’d love to hear from you: 

How to Create Powerful Facebook Ads

We all know that Facebook has millions of users. Among those users are businesses trying to get noticed…just like you! So, how do you stand out and get the results you really want?

Aside from engaging content, powerful ads can really help boost your business’ presence on Facebook, but most businesses fall in the trap of simply creating ads without doing a careful study of their audience first. If you do that, you’ll never know if your ads are actually reaching the people you want to reach.

When you want to create powerful and effective ads on Facebook, you need to step up your game and study the facts.

  • What’s the demographics of your target market
  • Where are they located?
  • What are their interests?
  • What age group are they?
  • What content attracts them?
  • What’s the best day of the week to reach them?
  • What time should you send the post to reach more of your audience?
  • Where can you find all this information? In your Audience Insights.

Audience Insights is inside Ad Manager. Use it to get real data about your target audience. It will help you uncover information like age, gender, lifestyle, relationship status, educational level, and job title.

Once you get the full details about your ideal client, use the information to create a new target audience, set up split tests, or add them to your existing audience. This way, you can really zero in on your target and make sure the people who are seeing your ads are the right ones for your business, and you will know when they like what they see.

After you have that done, you can use your business page’s Facebook Insights to determine the best days and times to show your ad to your audience. Then you will know for sure that your target audience will be looking when you launch your Facebook ads.

Facebook is a truly powerful tool for marketing your business when you use it properly. If you would like to know more about how Facebook can help boost your sales, we can help you! Simply contact us at 403-464-7554 or email us at info@bottomlinemarketing.ca.

Warm regards, Lisa Genovese President & CEO, BottomLine Marketing Inc.