Do you suck at building relationships with your prospects?
How about building them through a strategic content marketing strategy?
And if you're wondering what the heck content marketing is and why you need to use it to build a relationship with your prospects, I got you covered!
First things first, let's tackle what content marketing is. According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
In other words, it is content that is original to you, meaning it's not shared from another industry expert, and it uniquely highlights your strengths to establish you, your business, and your brand.
There is a misconception that content marketing is really supposed to be for you to pitch your products and services. However, that really couldn't be further from the truth. Content marketing is a strategic approach to building a relationship online with your prospects. Think of your content marketing strategy like dating. What? I know, it's a little weird to think about it like that, but here's why this is a great analogy.
If you were on a blind date and the gentleman popped the question to marry him, would you say yes? No! You'd likely be calling your BFF telling her it's a 9-1-1 situation and to get you the heck outta there, right? Therefore, when you pitch your products or services to a prospect the moment you meet them, do you think they're going to buy? Likely not!
Now don't get me wrong, there are some circumstances where there will be a unicorn client that'll buy a high-end product or service with little to no interaction but it's rare. The point is, more often than not, if you pitch your product or service to someone without ever getting to know them first through relationship building, then the answer will be NO. This is the spammy and lazy way to approach sales. And trust me it does NOT work. The only thing it does is damage your reputation, credibility, and brand.
Now, look at it the other way. Had you gone on a blind date, the gentleman nurtured and courted you for months before he popped the question, would you say yes? Probably, right? Why? Because he took his time to get to know you, nurture the relationship and fall in love with you. Makes sense right? It's the same thing you're doing with your content marketing strategy. The more original content that you put out for your prospects, the more that you're nurturing the relationship so that you can eventually pop the question!
Here's the thing, relationship building really doesn't have to be difficult and neither does sales. I have no idea why so many make it so complicated. It really is quite simple. Nurture a relationship and ask for the sale. It's not rocket science.
Alright, I'll step off of my soapbox for a bit because I want to give you 5 key points to building a relationship through content marketing. Content marketing is vital to the success of your business if you're an online entrepreneur. Without it, your business will not get the exposure and growth that you desire. More importantly, that means you will likely not hit your goals, will struggle to have consistent sales and may even need to close up shop at some point. Ouch! And we don't want that! Without further ado, here are your five key points to building a relationship through content marketing:
KNOW YOUR IDEAL CLIENT (ICA)
Knowing your ICA really can make or break your business. It's not good enough to say that you work with women or that your products or services are for "everyone". In short, there is absolutely NO WAY that your products or services are for EVERYONE. Sorry, it's impossible. Here's why your vibe will attract your tribe, your products or services, the price point, branding, results, and benefits are all special to a particular type of person. Your dream client.
I know you want to believe that your products or services could help anyone and everyone, but the bottom line is they won't. I hate to be burst your bubble but it's the truth. You won't be everyone's cup of tea and neither will your products or services. Which brings me back to my point, there's no way that you can serve everyone.
Therefore, knowing to the core who your ICA is will be imperative for the success of your business. You want to attract the right ICA so that you can nurture them in order to build a solid foundation to a loyal relationship that will eventually convert to a paying client. Knowing what they like, dislike, dream about, desire, struggle with and need are all important to the relationship building process and how you'll be able to nail your marketing with your content.
ESTABLISH YOUR VOICE
Establishing your voice is equally important as knowing your ICA. Your voice is the very thing that helps set you apart from everyone else online. The tone, the words you use, the way you write, it all matters. All of these elements will attract your dream clients. When you try to sound like someone else or not like you're usual self then your message becomes a watered down whiskey version of you. It's inauthentic. It's not YOU.
I have had a prospect in the past question my education because I apparently didn't write in a way that indicated that I was highly educated. While this remark stung a little bit, it was also a blessing. She was NOT my ICA. Thankfully my "lack of professionalism" repelled her and we didn't waste each other's time.
But here's the thing, had I wrote like a professional woman that was prim and proper I likely would have worked with her and it would have been miserable. Working with anyone that is less than ideal is not fun. I learned the hard way. Which is why it is important to just be yourself.
The way you talk, write, the words you use, your personality and your background all impact your writing and who you'll attract.
To find your voice, you can do these 3 things:
1. Determine 3 adjectives that represent you and your brand voice. When you determine your 3 adjectives, then break them down further into 3-5 more keywords. Use these adjectives in your writing to help emulate your voice.
2. Freely write and then read it our loud to listen to the way you're speaking in your writing. Determine if it sounds like you and if it's the way you normally speak. If not, tweak as needed.
3. Determine the tone of your voice that you'd like to have. Is the tone you use authoritarian, spunky, professional, sassy, playful, etc? Your tone that you choose should reflect your personality. This will need to be consistent throughout your writing.
Keep in mind that finding your authentic voice takes time, practice, and patience. It's a disciple. However, once you identify your unique and authentic voice make sure you stay consistent in your writing.
BE AUTHENTIC AND UNAPOLOGETICALLY YOU
Being authentically you is one of those crucial elements to your uniqueness. No one can be YOU better than YOU. And when you try to be someone you're not or when you dim your light so that others can shine brighter then you're really doing a disservice to you and your tribe. It's fake. Let's be honest, no one wants to be hanging around someone that is fake.
"Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!" - Dr. Seuss
Be YOU, authentically and unapologetically. If you curse like a sailor, then embrace it. If you are Team Jesus, own it! If you are quirky and love Harry Potter and Twilight, then share it! Be who you are without any ifs and or buts about it. Just be YOU! Stop worrying about being perfect. Quit freaking out about what others will think or say about what you say or do. Just stop.
Les Brown said, "Other people's opinion of you does not have to become your reality." In other words, what other's think about you is not your business. When you make it your business you're allowing them to determine your reality. Don't do it!
Here's the thing, the more you show others the REAL you the better off you'll be. You'll attract your true tribe of people. You'll ironically feel extremely FREE! You'll enjoy what you do a lot more and be happier about it. And that's just to name a few.
People buy from those that they know, like, and trust. If you give them a fake or watered down whiskey version of yourself do you really think that is building trust? Nope!
Can the real you please stand up? Show your readers and your tribe the REAL you and you'll see them flocking to you.
USE YOUR STORY
"Effective content marketing is about mastering the art of storytelling. Facts tell, but stories sell." - Brian Eisenberg
What do you think about that quote? Believe it to be true? I 110% believe that facts tell and stories sell. I'm all about the facts and figures but what always gets me to determine whether or not I'll hire someone is their story. What is it about them that connects us? Yes, I need to be confident that what they're selling can solve my problem and that I believe they can help but if I don't feel a personal connection to the seller then I don't buy. It's simple as that.
People really do buy from those that they know, like, and trust. And there's no better way to build a relationship with trust than through storytelling. It is the #1 way to connect. Before you even think that you can't share a story or that you have nothing to write about, I'm going to call B.S. Every little aspect of your life is an opportunity for you to share it with your tribe. You can share as much or as little as you want, but the point is you have things in your everyday life that you could talk about and turn them into a story.
Don't believe me? Here are a couple of examples for you:
- I struggled with infertility for 9 years before I was able to conceive. Sharing this story separate from the business is really inspirational. However, linking it back to my business about how my son is my WHY. He's the reason I keep going on the days I want to give up makes it more relatable to my tribe. They LOVE when I share this story.
- My Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer in June 2016, I have been at his side for every appointment for the last year. I could share my story separate and I am sure people would be able to relate and have sympathy for us. However, I chose to link it back to my business and talk about how me being the CEO of Me allows me to be with my Dad for his appointments, help my parents out, have the freedom to work around my priorities. This makes it more relatable and they can see how I balance my priorities.
Does this make sense? Sharing your story makes you more relatable and then by weaving it into what you do make it more purposeful for your tribe.
Alright, so when you're trying to write your story it is important to ask yourself these questions so that you can make an IMPACT with your story:
- Who is this story for?
- How does this story relate to my ideal client avatar (ICA)?
- Why will my ICA care?
- What's the purpose of this story?
- to entertain
- to solve a problem
- to educate
- to inspire
- to spark engagement
- What impact will this story have on my ICA?
- How does this story tie into my business/purpose/vision/mission?
Once you work through these questions, sharing your story becomes easier and more impactful. The greater the impact, the better the response you'll have for your tribe.
FORGET THE PITCH
Alright, there is a misconception that content marketing is for pitching. However, that really couldn't be further from the truth. Content marketing is all about relationship building. Now don't get me wrong, you do need to pitch your products and services; however, it can be done in a non-sleazy, salesy or spammy way.
Focus on the relationship first and see where it goes. When the opportunity is right, ask if they're open to hearing your feedback, offering support or to know more about your products or services. Never pitch without asking first when you are building a relationship with a prospect. Therefore, avoid the shoot of the hip pitch and you'll never be seen as a sleazy car salesman. Rather you'll be seen as a respected business owner that has their prospects interests at heart.
An expert tip for you is to always as the prospect they'd like to hear about your products or services. It puts them in control to have the option to say yes or no. If they say no, just move on. And if they say yes, then share what you have to offer them with confidence.
Pretty simple but so many want to use their content marketing to pitch and run like they just robbed a bank. Don't be that person! Really take the time to nurture your prospects through your content marketing. The more relationship building that you do, the better the connection, the more loyal the tribe will be.
I would be thrilled if you would share in the comments below: What is your biggest struggle when it comes to building a relationship with your content marketing?