Demonstrating an understanding of your customers’ concerns isn’t just a way to retain the business of existing clients; it’s also a clever strategy for attracting new customers. This applies whether your core business is naturally content-based or not. It doesn’t require huge marketing investment but it does mean you need excellent customer insight , a good wordsmith and plenty of persistence. Here’s some tips to give you a start:
1. What are the unspoken questions?
People have concerns and worries about their lives distantly related to your product or service that they don’t usually voice. A manager browsing through professional training content may really be trying to future-proof their career. A woman looking at cosmetic surgery may be worried about how she will look in her daughter’s wedding photos, or building up her confidence to re-enter the workplace after a break for children. The more you can get into the heads of your prospective customers the easier it will be to find ways to help them solve their problems.
2. Craft a new and useful answer
Once you know the questions, take time to find out what other sources are out there, and do your best to be slightly different, more targeted, more relevant, more personal. You may be a natural wordsmith; but if you are not, seek out a freelance journalist to help you get the style and tone right.
3. Make it easily available
The simplest method is to use blogging software, as this ranks well on search engines, and allows for easy categorisation and for readers to comment. You can use simple analytics to find out which topics are most viewed, and update regularly. An alternative is to create an e-newsletter, or a podcast if you prefer to talk rather than type. If the topics are visual, then use video. Whatever your medium, make it easy to find, share, and put on social media. Good stuff will be passed on.
4. Keep the sell subtle
This is a slow seduction, not a quick win. Be patient and focus on building a reputation for useful advice with your target market. No problem with having a link to your contact page, or mentioning your product in passing, but make sure you keep it subtle. If you consistently deliver good value, the right people will come back, and when they are ready to buy, you are top of mind.
5. Test a range of approaches
It’s hard to get it right first time. Don’t bet the farm on one question or topic; test at least 5 and 10 if you can. Build just enough content to be reasonably authoritative, and then see what gets the best response before you invest more time.
I’m keen to hear from businesses that have successfully used content to acquire new customers. I’m currently advising small businesses on web content strategies for customer acquisition, so I’m thinking about these issues right now. Take a look at my main site, Penmaen Media, for more information about how I work, or contact me directly. Carolyn Morgan