Content Marketing


Don’t push – pull!

By David Tovey

The best marketing is ‘pull’ marketing. Like a magnet it attracts your potential clients and customers. Your marketing activities motivate the right people to come to you. They call you instead of you calling them, they want to meet you, and they want to discuss the potential of doing business with you. Forget about marketing and think motivating!

When you think motivating instead of marketing it helps you focus on what your customer wants to achieve and how you can help them. It is an authentic client focused way of building relationships and avoids the temptation of ever making claims in marketing messages that cannot be delivered on.

Motivating your target prospects to make enquiries and to meet with you involves activities that will build trust before you enter into face-to-face dialogue to discuss opportunities. From now on you will only ever meet decision makers who want to spend time with you, who trust you and who would make ideal clients and customers!

Content marketing is about building trust

Making business decisions involves risk. Risk comes in many forms and if you ask any good information risk consultant they will list the zillions of ways a company can be negatively affected by making the wrong decision. Depending on what a customer is buying, the consequences of making the wrong decision can range from minor irritation to extremely serious.

You might think buying photocopier paper carried little risk. On the surface if someone decided to go for a special offer from a new supplier to save money and then the paper that is delivered is poor quality and unusable you could be forgiven for thinking the cost is just that paid for the paper. However there could be more serious consequential losses.

The paper jams the photocopier in the office of the PA to the CEO just when an important document needs copying for a meeting with shareholders. A tender document for a prestigious and valuable contract goes out looking shabby risking a multimillion-dollar opportunity. Would you want to be explaining why, in your effort to shave a small amount from the stationery budget, you had caused serious embarrassment to the CEO or potentially cost your company millions of dollars? No? Nor would I!

That’s why most people buying photocopier paper go to the supplier they trust. The risk of something going wrong is minimal. Even if a 50% discount offer comes in from an unknown supplier, a risk assessment will be made.

The same thinking applies to all sorts of apparently minor decisions. ‘When the seafood comes in it’s perfect’, a Chef said to me recently when discussing a supplier. ‘It’s not worth the risk of going elsewhere to buy just to save money’.

Risk assessments are being made by us all the time when it comes to buying decisions. It used to be said that no one ever got fired for buying IBM. It is the same reason the FTSE 100 and Fortune 100 companies so often employ ‘magic circle’ law firms or top four accountancy firms. Financial Directors and General Counsels know they could get the same quality of legal advice and probably save money by going to the next tier of firms; but they don’t. They know there is little or no risk to working with the well-known names in law and accountancy.

Buyers at all levels know that some of their own credibility is on the line when they decide to purchase something for their organization. From minor decisions about stationery supplies to life or death decisions about health and safety equipment, transport systems or nuclear power stations; buyers think about risk.

Human beings like to have relationships with people they can trust. It’s a basic human need. Teams deliver high performance, and personal and business relationships thrive when they are built on trust.  Motivating someone in a target market or named prospect to make an enquiry and to meet you is easier when you build trust through your marketing.

Building trusted relationships through your marketing

The annual Edelman Barometer of Trust regulalry reports that, to get information they trust, people go to:

  • People similar to them
  • Their social networks (online and offline)
  • Micro-blogging sites (such as Twitter)
  • Websites which share valuable content.

This is great news for sellers who use contente marketing. Your target markets, prospects and contacts will trust your information if they feel you understand their world and their issues, when you are part of their wider network both online and offline and when you provide them with content that they value. The content they will value is called – Valuable Content!

 Valuable content – what is it?

You can buy attention (advertising)
You can beg for attention from the media (PR)
You can bug people one at a time to get attention (traditional sales)
Or you can earn attention by creating something interesting and valuable and then publishing it…
David Meerman Scott, New Rules of PR and Marketin

‘Content’ is the words you read in an article, a book, on a website or in a Tweet. It is the video and images you share; the slides you make available after a presentation. Content simply means words, knowledge and information.

Valuable Content is high performance content. It is high performance because it has a bigger purpose: to provide useful information for a particular audience. Valuable Content is the words, knowledge and information you shape and share with potential clients and customers that they will really appreciate because it is meaningful and right on target.

When you use Valuable Content in your inbound marketing activity you will start to build relationships within your chosen market sectors, with named prospects and with the specific contacts you have identified.

Too often marketing materials, brochures, websites and advertising are just not meaningful to potential customers and clients. They often boast about the supplier, telling the world how great they are. There is a time to tell a prospect how good you are – but that comes later in the business development process when you have earned the right to boast – not when you are starting out to build relationships.

Traditional marketing is often more about what motivates the seller not what motivates the potential buyer!

Content that is valuable and works is:

  • Focused – relevant and meaningful to your target audience
  • Useful – it informs, educates and sometimes entertains
  • Authentic – it reflects the real you and your company
  • High Quality – interesting, well produced and has substance
  • Clear and compelling – it tells a story that is understandable and motivates a response

Today’s marketer knows that the questions isn’t ‘will we do content marketing’ but ‘how well can we do content marketing’.

21 tips to motivate prospects 

By David Tovey

1. Begin with the end in mind – design your ideal client base of the future.

2. Decide on five or six criteria that will help you identify your ‘dream’ clients.

3. Focus all your business development effort and resources on building relationships with senior executives in your dream client base.

4. Don’t cold call. Build relationships with ‘target’ prospects by providing valuable content.

5. Think like a client to identify what content your target prospect will value.

6. Establish a trusted relationship through the content you provide.

7. Be absolutely sure that you can deliver on your sales and marketing promise

8. Focus on relationship building skills, not on techniques to manipulate a relationship.

9. Build trust before trying to win business; earn the right to tell your story.

10. Don’t be afraid to show vulnerability. It demonstrates you are human. Clients want you to be human.

11. Delivery on the small things is really important – it helps to establish trust.

12. There are no grey areas with honesty. There is no trust without honesty.

13. Important relationships need investment. Think about which relationships to invest in today.

14. The two most powerful selling skills are questioning and listening – practice both.

15. Insightful questions demonstrate your knowledge and understanding more than telling me what you know.

16. Principled selling involves congruency throughout the business development process.

17. The best way to demonstrate genuine interest is to listen – really listen.

18. To listen really effectively you can’t be thinking of the next question.

19. The question follows the answer as much as the answer follows the question.

20. The best way to demonstrate you understand is to summarise what the client said – and check back for accuracy.

21. You cannot fake genuine interest.