Content Marketing, Evolved

By Michael Herman

The following is a guest post by Michael Herman, co-founder of Real Python and author of Real Python for the Web. Cheers!

What happens when blogging, social media, webinars, and other forms of inbound marketing are no longer working for your business? How do you combat information overload when there are simply too many competing voices, all vying for your customers’ attention?

If you truly want to gain support and gain customers you need to make sure they are included in your process. Your potential customers do not want to just hear about your offers, they want to be a part of your offers, they want to be a part of your conversations. And you want that, too; involvement will give a potential customer a new outlook.

The more involved your customer feels in your company and in your process, the more they begin to trust you. And gaining their trust changes everything. In order to gain their trust they need to feel special. This means you need to show your customers more individual attention.

This takes marketing to the next level. You need to block out space in your calendar and in your brain in order to focus on making one-on-one connections with your potential customers. Doing so will turn these potential customers into long-term customers who will be more than willing to spread the word about how your company really takes the time to talk and understand their customers.

Companies are moving in on this trend rapidly, using things such as one-on-one Skype sessions providing advice and other incentives to draw in and get to know their new customers. Other options could be Google+ Hangouts for a smaller group, short phone calls, anything to make a customer feel like they are receiving something of value. If a customer feels worth your time, the chances of them making you worth theirs are much higher.

Now the difficult part of this marketing technique is making the time. You are giving away your time for free - or are you? You need to always keep in mind that doing this will lead to more customers, and more profit! So you NEED to make the time and the effort. Promote the fact that you will offer one-on-one’s prior to any commitments to the company. This will surely make you stand out amongst the competition. To make it as simple as possible, link to some kind of scheduling app straight from your site and connect it with your calendar. Eliminate the back and forth on what time works or where a good location may be, make the process quick and easy. By making it more easily accessible to schedule and such, you are taking the strain off of you and your customers.

Remember, this is your time to hook them in. Come into the meeting prepared, you will find out if they are a good fit for what you do and vice versa. This meeting is like an appetizer to a great meal: Give them a small taste of the delicious dinner that will come afterwards. Make them leave the meeting wanting to know more, and wanting to choose your company. And most importantly, make them leave inspired or compelled enough to share their experience as true evangelists, ultimately leaving as another form of marketing for your company.

You need to look at this not as a hassle, but as a growing opportunity. Speaking with your potential customer can teach you a lot about your business. You can learn what it was that drew them to your product or service in the first place. Where did they hear about you? What similar companies have they already been through? These are the questions that marketing strategist are constantly trying to figure out, so why not go right to the source. This one-on-one attention will change how your customers view your company and how they view you. You will not just be the person behind the contact form--you will be someone they trust and feel good about investing in.

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