You know that expression “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime”? Well, the same is true for marketing: If you sell something, you make a customer today; if you help someone, you make a customer for life.
Think about this principle in your own life, when a customer service person is particularly helpful you remember the experience and it creates, what I call, a positive brand experience, which means, you are more likely to shop there based on your previous experience.
Now more than ever, your company is forced to compete for your customers’ attention, but if you’re useful enough and if you commit to inform rather than promote, customers will reward you with trust and loyalty.
There are several marketing tools that can be used to provide some useful information for free to help you build long-term trust and kinship between your company and your customers, including chats, webinars and newsletters, but nothing is more powerful than a professionally written blog.
Although a company blog requires a the largest time commitment, the benefits to your business cannot be denied:
- Businesses that blog have 55% more web visitors.
- B2C businesses that blog generate 88% more leads per month.
- B2B businesses that blog generate 67% more leads per month.
Facts and my own experience all lead me to the same conclusion that businesses should consider providing a blog for their customers. In order to give it the attention it requires, ensure that your blog:
- Is professionally written
- Provides useful industry insights that your audience wants to know more about
- Maintains frequency (I suggest 1 a week or a minimum of 2 a month)
- Is published on the same day and time each week
- Engages your audience with tips and questions
- Provides visuals
- Has relevant and topical subject matter
- Avoids shameless self promotion (no selling or references to your products or services)
- Is open and honest
- Written in first person
- Written (or ghost written) by an owner or very least senior executive (not the marketing VP – see point 8
- Is correctly tagged and posted
- Posted on a company-branded and formatted blog with tracking capabilities (e.g. WordPress or Blogger)
The difference between “helping” and “selling” is just two letters in terms of spelling, but those two letters can make all the difference to the way your audience perceives your brand.
What ways have you positioned your marketing to provide free advice to your customers? Do you have an online chat, webinars or a blog? If not, why not? It’s never too late to give your audience a positive brand experience and leave them asking for more!