Archives for March 2013

Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Out Looking Elsewhere

The president of a design firm in our building recently shared with me that they were “open” to exploring an alternative source for their printing needs. He explained that despite purchasing over $100,000 in print annually, they no longer felt the same level of appreciation that they did when their relationship began a year ago. He said that they rarely hear from the printer, are always the ones who have to initiate contact to check on job status, and that they never get thanked (printing it on the bottom of an invoice doesn’t count!). He further noted that the person who takes their calls, while providing accurate information, seemed to lack enthusiasm.

Undoubtedly, many of your competitors offer a quality product and service, with prices and delivery standards that are reasonable or excellent. Given this, how can you continuously attract and win new clients as well as prevent your current clients from being drawn away by competitors? All things being equal, your clients will naturally go where they consistently feel well treated and appreciated.

Sure you care about your clients, but what happens if you’re too busy to show it? The answer is to do a little more planning and be more thoughtful, attentive and creative about the quality of your communication. Set up a series of “nurturing” mailers throughout the year — a continuous client contact program that will demonstrate at regular, pre-planned intervals that you honestly and sincerely care about their well-being.

Start growing the relationship. Offer useful tips, stop by occasionally in person, engage them with social media and website content. Mail (and email) case studies, newsletters and other greetings that remind clients of your commitment to service, value, quality, innovation and loyalty. After all, it’s a lot easier (and less expensive) to keep clients than it is to find new ones. Your growth depends on it!

How to Become ConTENT with Your CONtent

Guest post by Dick Rossman
rossmanconsulting.com

I couldn’t resist this play on words to introduce the subject of Content Marketing, which has quickly become one of the most vital parts of any online marketing strategy. Businesses are discovering that they can generate significant returns on their marketing efforts by creating their own blogs, videos, newsletters, white papers and other content.

What is Content Marketing?
“Content Marketing is turning your insight and advice into campaigns that change people’s minds and incite action. Traditional marketing talks at people. Content marketing talks with them.”
Doug Kessler, co-founder of Velocity Partners, a world-renowned B2B marketing firm

Content Marketing is discovering what your customers and prospects are interested in knowing, learning, reading, and interacting with you about, and then communicating about it so you position yourself as an expert. Start by understanding your customers and their businesses so you understand their issues, challenges, needs and concerns. Make sure to tell your customers what they need to know, not what you need to say.

Why should I use Content Marketing?
Here are seven reasons, any one of which should get you started. Content Marketing can:

  • Position your company as an expert and set you apart from your competition
  • Give your customers and prospects a reason to communicate with you
  • Generate new leads and build your database
  • Raise awareness of your company and products
  • Build trust and credibility with your customers and prospects
  • Give your sales team a reason to engage and add value to their customers and prospects
  • Boost your search engine performance, your SEO

How do I create my Content Brand?
As you build a brand for your company, so too do you want to create one for your content.

  • Build your content around your customers, and write from their point of view
  • Write about what you are an expert in – stick to your sweet spot
  • Be consistent and persistent – one and done doesn’t cut it
  • Write with passion and confidence – have attitude and energy
  • Provide high quality content or none at all
  • Make your writing worth your readers’ time. Fewer pieces of value and quality beat many lightweight pieces.

Make sure to ask for opinions and thoughts, and acknowledge all that you receive. Also, check your spelling and grammar – people are turned off quickly by writing errors.

More tips for successful Content Marketing
Patrick Whelan, president of Great Reach Communications, suggests that content marketing is a great way to differentiate your company from your competitors, but you need to write about what is new and relevant. He also warns not to let Search Engine Optimization be the tail that wags the dog. By writing valued and quality content, your brand will be enhanced and an improved SEO will follow. And finally Whelan says not to send out content just because your calendar says you are supposed to – take your time and make it worthy of your brand.

How to get it going
Identify content creators in your company – it doesn’t have to be just you. Your employees who have a flair for writing can be perfect contributors, but you will want to oversee their content for accuracy and appropriateness. A 20-something may be able to manage your content and social media distribution but not without oversight. Remember your company brand is on display here. Brainstorm and create a list of topics, and develop a content plan so there is always something in the pipeline – you need to be consistent and persistent. And if you are already wearing 12 hats and can’t wear one more, hire an expert part-time to be in charge of the process.

One more word – mobile
Today 50% of emails are read on a mobile device, so your content must be mobile-friendly or you will lose your audience. Don’t modify your content for mobile – use a mobile solution like iflymobi from InterlinkOne that displays your content properly.

A final thought about Content Marketing
“Content marketing is exploiting your unique position in your markets to generate valuable insight and advice on issues your customers and prospects care most about. It is so much more than creating text. Your blog is so much more powerful than a static brochure for your company. Incorporate video, images, interviews, audio, and more. If you can think of it, create it. Your audiences will be glad you did.” Velocity Partners