When you delight customers (and prospects), you’ll gain an audience who’s willing to listen!
The gist of this article is a list of 10 concrete content marketing ideas that you can adapt to your own needs.
If you’re in a hurry, go straight there. But if you have a few minutes spare, read the next few paragraphs (recommended).
Do you know how to be helpful?
When was the last time you did something really helpful for your customers and prospects? I mean something that you didn’t charge for, something you generously offered to make her life easier, a piece of advice that gives him a definite advantage?
Mmh… (I hear you thinking)
- Yes – you say! We sent out our latest products catalogue last week…
- Yes – you say! We just emailed our newsletter, announcing all sorts of sales events
- Yeah – you say! Our latest… Our best… Our next…
Have you ever considered that your interactions with your customers are just a little too self-centered?
In an information saturated world, organisations who think too much about themselves and not enough about the needs of their customers are quickly downgraded as a nuisance.
Of course, no company wants to bear a reputation of being a nuisance! This is why it pays to set aside a quiet 5 minutes every now and then, to put yourself into your customer’s shoes.
Imagine what his life is like (professionally and personally). Pinpoint what makes his day difficult – it’s often the little things that lead to stress and frustration.
Then figure out how you (your service, your product) can help, in an honest, positive and concrete way, right now.
Figuring out what’s truly helpful to our customers and prospects is not so easy. This is why I like working with Customer (Buyer) Personas. These provide a playful and yet powerful framework to describe my target audience.
I am so convinced by Customer Personas that I have written not one but two articles on this topic: one on this blog Customer Personas @SoYouWantAChange and one as a guest blogger at Customer Personas @Versio2.
Once we’ve found how to be helpful, delivering our useful advice to customers is easier today than it ever was, thanks to online technology.
For example, you could:
- Write a short text and publish it on your website.
- Write a blog post and deliver it via a personalized email.
- Create a Facebook post if your business is active there.
- Write an update on your LinkedIn page.
- Publish a video on your website and on YouTube, as well as other video platforms. This certainly works for me, my YouTube channel has +222’000 views!
- Organise a webinar for a select group of customers and prospects.
- Or even send out a hand-written note – by snail mail – to your best and most loyal clients!
10 concrete ideas about how to delight your customers.
Hope you’ll find them useful. If you do, please share this blog post freely on your favourite social media platforms. (Navigate to top of page for social media sharing icons).
Also, please use the Comments section to complete my 10 point list with your own ideas. By doing so, you delight me and this blog’s readers. Thank you.
1. If you’re a tax advisor
Your customer’s pain: Pay tax.
Your contribution: Identify an element in this year’s tax declaration form that is easily overlooked but – if filled in correctly – yields a substantial tax reduction. Make sure you inform your customers by dropping a personalised email to their Inbox.
2. If you’re a coach
Your customer’s pain: A bad patch in his personal life or an important career change.
Your contribution: You’ve listened to a radio interview with a well known expert. She describes – in an eloquent way – the pain your clients might feel. Publish the audio file on your website and make it easy for visitors to download it; or send a personalised, kindly worded email to your clients with the link to the radio station’s relevant web page, or burn the audio file to a CD and dispatch it together with a nice card.
3. If you’re a bank(er)
Your customer’s pain: She feels vulnerable about her investment choices and looming retirement.
Your contribution: Send an up-to-date report (by email or snail mail) which provides important background information that relates directly to your client’s investments. Examples: statistics about a country, a well-written summary of a political situation, an easy to read overview of economic reality, a news-breaking development in the field of alternative energy production. By doing so, you show that you care and you reassure your client.
4. If you own a garden shop
Your customer’s pain: A lack of gardening skills and time, and yet the ambition to own (and boast) about a beautiful garden.
Your contribution: Everything to do with nature is time sensitive. There’re unlimited occasions to encourage your cliens to take action. In February you send a personalised email reminder, or a tweet, entitled “It’s time to plant your Delphinium seeds”. Give advice on how to do it and don’t forget to add a few links about where to buy high quality seeds. If you’ve time – add an image of Delphinium in full bloom (Summer). Gardeners might well hang out on Facebook too, so don’t forget to post an article there. Rinse and repeat each month!
5. If you’re a web master
Your customer’s pain: Fear of a website no longer functioning.
Your contribution: Create a series of short How To videos which adress 3 recurrent pains: 1. How to back up a website 2. How to install simple software updates as a novice (rather than paying an expensive expert) 3. How to efficiently manage Domain Names, Web Hosting and Email Accounts. Publish the videos on your website – but also on YouTube and other video platforms. Make sure you provide visible links on these platforms to drive casual viewers back to your own website and the services you offer. (You might want to check out my own blogpost on this subject Web Owners Emergency Checklist).
6. If you run a book shop
Your customer’s pain: Curious and knowledgeable about books, he just doesn’t have enough time to browse.
Your contribution: Invite a journalist friend to do a book review, exclusively for your customers. Publish the audio file on your blog and invite clients to download it so that they can listen to the interview whilst driving to work.
7. If you own a travel agency
Your customer’s pain: High income professionals are bored with mass travel but don’t have time (and imagination) to search for alternatives.
Your contribution: Organise a 15 minute webinar that presents your exclusive programs. Invite your sales staff (with photo) and encourage them to express (in their own words) their passion for travel. Let your staff bond with the webinar’s participants. A desired result will be for clients to contact specific staff members directly. For example, with a request to prepare/customize their next voyage.
8. If you sell luxury watches and other branded items
Your customer’s pain: Build a reputation, impress professional partners and friends.
Your contribution: Every quarter, send out a list or a chart of the most popular luxury items in the client’s country or town. Validate the list by providing relevant sales statistics. By doing so, you not only keep in touch with your target audience but you also help a customer preserve and enhance his reputation as a person with taste, as a well informed and competent buyer.
9. If you sell beautiful lingerie…
Your (man) customer’s pain: Many men would love to buy beautiful lingerie for their lady friends, but lack the confidence to do so.
Your contribution: Write a tongue-in-cheek eBooklet with useful Hints & Tips. Make sure it’s available on mobile devices such as iPhone and iPad. For example what are bra sizes all about and how to choose the right size for a lady friend. And, of course, you include links to sales points in your area that provide personalised and competent service.
10. If you sell excellent wine
Your customer’s pain: Moves in circles where being knowledgeable about wine is a status symbol. Your client is insecure. Wants to do the right thing but lacks the cultural background relating to wine.
Your contribution: Create a series of Hints & Tips around social pains your insecure client will have to overcome. Reinforce your advice with funny and yet targeted titles such as “How to impress your mother in law with an exclusive bottle of wine” or “The art of choosing the right bottle on a first date” – see what I mean? Publish your Hints & Tips on your website’s blog, together with amusing images (perhaps you know an amateur cartoonist who’d love to see his work published). Publish regularly over 6 months and then repackage your Hints & Tips in a Newsletter or eBook.
Content Marketing feeds on the power of Reciprocity
According to behavioral psychologists – (positive) reciprocity is ingrained in human behaviour and is apparently one of the reasons why humans survived and evolved. But there is no need to read all these learned books. This illustration says it all.
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