2 Questions Every Marketer Needs to Ask

By Doug Sandler

By human nature, we are all people pleasers. We want others to like us and that extends into our professional world too.

As marketing professionals we want the world to hear our message, love our brand and buy our products and services. All too often, however, we try to be too many things to too many people. A shotgun approach to marketing usually leaves us with too broad a brush stroke and poor results.

Having 100,000 Twitter followers, 25,000 LinkedIn connections and 5,000 Facebook friends is worthless if none of them “get” your message. I’d much rather have 1,000 Twitter followers that can actually buy my products than 99,000 others that can’t or won’t. But let’s take it even one step further, how many of the 1,000 have you actually built a relationship with?

So the questions that I bring to the table are this:

1) Is your message focused enough for your market?

2) Are you connecting with the market you are focused on?

As a guy that has spent most of his career analyzing why people buy, I can assure you that people buy from people they like. You want them to like you. Before they will like you, however, we have to get their attention and engage with them throughout the funnel.

As a content marketer, I am constantly working on a creative way to get the attention of an individual rather than working on pleasing the masses. People don’t make buying decisions as a group, they make buying decisions as an individual, based upon how they perceive your service will fix their specific problems.

Build Your Buyer Persona

Your mission is to build the perfect customer for your perfect product, so ask yourself:

  • What do they do for a living and what makes them happy?

  • What do they eat for lunch and what books are they probably reading?

  • Do they read the tabloids or Time magazine?

  • Do they belong to any outside organizations?

  • Do they volunteer?

  • Are they a Mac or PC user?

  • Who do they prefer as the front man to Van Halen – David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar?

Once you’ve built the ideal customer, think about how you would approach them. Would you meet them at a networking event, on social media, in an art gallery or at their mom’s house fixing a broken lamp?

Now that we have the perfect customer and we understand what is in their head, all we need to do now is fill in the blank and start providing content. If you are not an expert on the content you’re writing about, find someone else that is and start building facts and figures.

There is nothing wrong with being a narrator for your content and allowing someone else to be the expert. Credibility is easy to provide to someone else but comes across as egotistical if perceived as self-serving. Invite experts to help you provide your ideal customer with your ideal service.

Social Media Specifics for Content

When it comes to content promotion, on Twitter I am a big user of #hashtags. Hashtags allow you to funnel your message to a specific set of receivers. I’ve written hundreds of pieces of content over the last couple of years and have found the hashtag to be the best tool to promote my content.

For example, I wrote a blog recently and to promote it to people within customer service I put the #custserv hashtag on the teaser. On LinkedIn, I build most of my content around the discussion groups, working hard to find the right content to fit the right discussion.

On Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram I use links with pictures to get my content in the hands of the right market. Regardless of which social media channel you use, consistency is key. Don’t bombard your market with 27 posts on Tuesday and then go silent for 5 days. Keep a good pace without being too obnoxious with your promotion.

Build Connections

Start building connections, one at a time. Use all of your tools and your brain to build your list. Networking events, face-to-face work very well to develop your people skills. Social media will have a broader reach, but nothing beats personal connections.

Mix it up and develop a program of personal networking, social media, and content marketing on Twitter Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, SnapChat. Pick your channel and stay consistent. Utilize services like Express Pigeon, Hootsuite and ManageFlitter when you are just getting started so that you can build the all-important list. Most importantly, help people understand the connection between the content you are writing about and the product or service your company provides.

Just like dating, the connections you make will start to develop into relationships. Those same relationships will connect you with others who will see you as the expert. People will start to drive others to your content, expertise and eventually your products and services.

Relationship building 101 — Shut up and listen.

When you get feedback, listen to what the feedback is, make adjustments and provide more content. Relationships are two way and content marketing should follow that strategy as well.

Let your creative energy flow, make people smile, make them think and help them like you. Ultimately, if they like you and the message you are broadcasting, they will fall in love with you.

Along with love comes trust, engagement and the best possible “happily ever after moment” — they will invest in you. A perfect union is now in place, and if things go as well as you’ve planned, I’ll see you at the cake table.

What’s your strategy for building relationships? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

There is more where this came from…

The best articles from this blog are available all in one place – our book. Now on it’s 6th edition.

Content Chemistry, The Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing, is packed with practical tips, real-world examples, and expert insights. A must-read for anyone looking to build a content strategy that drives real business impact. Check out the reviews on Amazon.

Buy now direct $29.95