Content and the City: Cultivating Relationships Through Content
You need to build up to big commitments like demos and sales consultations with content that’s appropriate for the stage in the relationship – or you risk scaring your audience away. Let’s take a look at how to cultivate a relationship with your audience through content – along with a short list of what they’d love to see at every stage of your journey together.
Meet-Cute: First Impressions Matter
Remember that scene in Wedding Crashers when soon after meeting, Gloria Cleary (Isla Fisher) tells a panicked Jeremy Grey (Vince Vaughn): “Don’t ever leave me. ‘Cause I’ll find you.” Yikes, that’s the opposite impression you want your audience to have when they first encounter your brand.
Content at the top of the sales funnel is meant to create awareness. It’s here that you want to attract your audience with content that covers issues that are keeping them up at night or bring attention to great opportunities for their business. It’s important to be patient and keep the focus on topics your audience cares about rather than hard selling products and services. After all, first dates are for talking about interests and hobbies, not marriage and kids.
If your content is valuable enough, your audience just might leave you their number (and fill out the rest of your form fields, too).
Love List: Serve up some compelling thought leadership on a topic that ultimately aligns with your product/service. Take your audience on an adventure with a digital experience that entertains and informs, while helping them get to know you in a low-pressure way.
Keeping Things Casual
Click. Download. Your audience likes you – nice job! Now, they’re open to learning a little bit more. This is a great time to share some “how to” style content. Show them “how to” tackle that issue you covered in the report they downloaded. Share “how to” seize that excellent opportunity you just told them all about in your latest eBook.
To win over your audience, let them be the hero in this RomCom, with you as their trusted guide. In his book Building a StoryBrand, Donald Miller writes, “When we position our customer as the hero and ourselves as the guide, we will be recognized as a trusted resource to help them overcome their challenges.” High-quality “how to” content is a great way to become that trusted guide.
“When we position our customer as the hero and ourselves as the guide, we will be recognized as a trusted resource to help them overcome their challenges.”
You might be wondering: if we’re sharing “how to” solve their challenges, shouldn’t we sweep in and tell them all the amazing ways our products and services can help them do that? Not at full volume. Keep the relationship on the casual side for just a little bit longer. Toward the end of the asset, drop some light information on your products/ services to start nudging your audience in the right direction.
Love List: Go to the movies – in other words, provide a great video that shows your audience how to do something. Keep it short and sweet with an infographic that visualizes data or simplifies complex information.
Put a Label on It
At this point in the relationship, your audience trusts you. Your guidance and expertise on topics they care about has been second to none – and maybe they’re even starting to put some of it into practice. It’s time to put a label on this relationship – your brand label, that is.
At this stage, it wouldn’t be too forward of you to serve up some product content. Now is the time to tell your audience why your product, solution or service is the best one on the market to help them achieve their goals. Wow them with your benefits and differentiators, but always keep their needs at the heart of the narrative – even when talking about your offerings. The more your audience sees themselves in this story, the more effective the content will be.
Are they in love? There’s only one way to find out: now propose that demonstration or consultation. You’ve earned the right to see where this relationship stands.
Love List: Share a case study that shows your audience how your products and services have helped other businesses do amazing things. Serenade your prospect with a factsheet filled with your product or services’ greatest hits and differentiators.
Here’s to your happily ever after.
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