Most business owners, experts and professionals understand the importance of providing non-promotional, educational content during the beginning of the relationship with a customer.
In essence, content marketing is information marketing, and information marketing is the new currency on the Internet. The challenge is how to translate your information into products with high perceived value.
It’s indicative that every business can now be called an information business because we all need some kind of information to make our decisions, learn how to solve our problems or to help us get what we want in life.
Simply put we want our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs met in order to take actions.
And getting people to take action through marketing is the most valuable skill anyone can learn and master. (Not to mention it’ll also improve your interpersonal relationships and communication skills.)
This is why great marketers focus on communicating the value and translating the utility of the information. Whether the goal is to get the prospect to click on your website link, sign up for your newsletter, join your coaching program or buy your information product, it requires meeting the right balance of Needs versus Wants from the prospect’s perspective.
Done right, you can leverage powerful internet tools to attract pre-interested and pre-motivated prospects that are ready to buy and start a business relationship with you.
Not only will you be perceived as an influential authority but you will gain credibility and trust without having to convince people to buy your product.
So what does it take to be an effective marketer today? Here are six traits of highly effective marketers:
1. Effective Marketers Make No Assumptions
People often don’t question their own assumptions about what will work.
Majority of the entrepreneurs, experts, marketers like to spill out their solution without asking what exactly their customers “think they want” that can solve their problems.
Imagine a doctor telling you what’s wrong with you by just looking at you from a distance. Even if the doctor has the correct diagnose, would you trust their advice? Great marketers know that they don’t know what they don’t know. They ask questions and dig deeper below the surface to identity the pain, urgency and frustration of their customers.
In addition to finding out what the problems are, it can also serve as your free market research.
Start talking to all your prospects and customers everyday and continue asking why until you get to the root cause, you may be surprise what’s going on inside their reality.
Take a look at this recent research insight provided by MarketingSherpa and IDG from surveying buyers and B2B marketers about specific factors that motivate recipients to opt-in, open and engage with vendor email.
Notice the difference between what marketer and buyer values. Buyers actually gave the highest rank to promotional content!
2. Effective Marketers Are Storytellers
Once you have identified your customer’s problems, help them make the logical connection between their needs and your solution (product or services) one step at a time.
This way they don’t have to work to figure out how to use your knowledge or expertise to solve their problem; instead you reverse engineer your solution from their problems.
Top marketers know how to connect the dots by using narrative to set the quickly get people’s attention. It’s one of the 3 most effective content marketing techniques you can use.
The idea is to ensure your solution sounds exactly like what’s going to solve their problem when you finally get to introduce it typically “at the end” so it’s easier to digest.
Keep in mind that you should never present your solution prematurely, it will only create disconnects which leads to distrust.
Maintaining the communication channel open is critical in facilitating the buying process because people don’t care about your products and services, they just care about themselves. So even with storytelling, guest who’s perspective and story do customers like to hear? (Hint: read the last sentence again.)
3. Effective Marketers Build Relationships
What is relationship and why important?
Everyone talks about relationship but what exactly is relationship?
Here is the definition of relationship from Wikipedia: “Relationships usually involve some level of interdependence. People in a relationship tend to influence each other, share their thoughts and feelings, and engage in activities together. Because of this interdependence, most things that change or impact one member of the relationship will have some level of impact on the other member.”
So a relationship can impact one another mentally, physically and emotionally.
This is why social media is a great way to relate with each other to see if the other person is like you, identify a common ground to connect via LinkedIn, follow on Twitter and “friend” on Facebook.
In fact, a relationship is a process to continue to relate until we feel related, full of emotions and thoughts of the other person.
A critical mistake many struggling experts, marketers and business owners make is thinking of their customers as “its” they can manipulate. Wrong!
Great marketers focus on building relationship to have trust, admiration and credibility that extends beyond business transactions not to mention people will buy more and refer to from those they like and trust.
4. Effective Marketers Are Givers
People often forget that trust is earned over time typically on a more intimate level. In order to introduce your great product or services, you need to earn the right to ask for the sell.
This is the framework of the “freemium” business model, where you offer so much value to your prospect that their respect for you goes up instantly.
This requires you to supply relevant content or information and ultimately give away your best stuff to show that you’ve got the goods! (Do you?)
This feels counter-intuitive to most experts and business owners because they feel like they’ve earn the right to charge for their expertise or services through years of experience or training.
The problem is they, the customers, don’t know and won’t believe that you’re in their best interest until they get to know you.
Effective marketers aren’t afraid to give away their best stuff because knowing how to drive a car doesn’t mean you’ll win a race even if you start with the fastest car.
Authors like Seth Godin, Yaro Starak, Brian Clark, Michael Steizner and Darren Rowse are great example of over-delivering their value so when it’s time to ask for a sale, readers usually come to expect and respect what they bring to the table.
5. Effective Marketers Know Everything Is A Test
Today, the market moves so fast that it’s important to understand the real goal of marketing is to focus on the long-term strategies to get customers.
There is no silver bullet that will bring you sustainable instant results. In fact, it’s vital to have the right mindset knowing that every action you take is to validate your ideas from fact gathering.
Great marketers do not hold their ego to their chest; they look for facts and data that enable them to make incremental improvements.
This is why direct response marketing delivers better results than institutional branding and advertising.
They have different appeals with different purpose but direct marketing is more effective in small to medium size business than branding or making logos and websites “look nice.”
Your investment in marketing efforts should always be measurable in some ways, think of it as making progress not perfection.
The best marketing ROI is about profiting from the time and money invested in your tests! You would test the water before you jump into the pool or drink a hot soup right?
6. Effective Marketers Are Laser Focused On A Niche
Successful marketer choose a niche and stick to it. They inject all the experience, knowledge, theories and ideas they have and consistently create content around it.
Everything is narrowly focused so it speaks to those that are looking for solutions in that topic.
They deliver bite size chunks of information to ensure that their audience learn and take actions. Ultimately it’s about delivering value that are solutions not just suggestions.
Since people aren’t good at valuing anything with out learning (more information again), top marketers knows to create techniques or systems that enable the prospects to understand the value of the solution.
Simply put, great niche marketing minimizes misunderstand and delivers high value information that pushes the buy button.
And to do that, it requires focusing on the needs of the customer without assumptions. (goes back to#1 above)
A great method to do that is to learn Neil Rackham’s SPIN Selling technique by focusing on asking the right Situational questions (find out what’s going on), Problem questions (challenges happening), Implication questions(what the challenge implies) and the Needs-payoff questions (the price tag on solving the challenge).
The take away: Marketing is a skill that you can learn and should be practiced everyday. In fact, thanks to the internet today there is very little barrier to entry for anyone to do marketing.
The information are all out there, you just need to follow some simple steps to start marketing your product, services or your personal brand.
The six traits are the building blocks to form powerful influence which is explained by Robert Cialdini’s book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion as ethical persuasion in reciprocity, scarcity, liking, authority, social proof, and commitment/consistency.
What do you think the most important trait of a marketer is? What worked well or not so well for you?
If you like to become a more effective marketer or learn more tips on how to market your business, sign up for my Profitable Knowledge FREE course below.
Powerful post, dude. I’m focusing on building relationships and giving away the opportunity to build backlinks through my social bookmarking tool, TGIF Links.
Prior to starting the bookmarking tool, I offered blog carnivals two or three times a week. The carnivals were well received by bloggers looking for a place to generate a link. We both benefitted. I prefer my new system – it’s still free, but the relationship building is more immediate because we can message and vote and social promote in real time. The previous method, with blog carnivals, was more distant.
At last, I’m feeling like I have a focus – backlinks. Something to write about and organize my blog walking around so I don’t go off on tangents. Next, is the product that provides the solution to the need.
You keep writing, I’ll keep reading
Don’t forget to have a value driven business model for your blog, tactics can be taught, strategy and execution is where it’s at.
I know I’m on the right track now!…
Just remember to take actions because everything is a test thanks
Loyal readers are hard to come by, but u have just converted me!
Fantastic post Eric! Very detailed and spot on!
We loved it so much that we mentioned your article with a link here from our own blog, check it out!:
Keep up the great work!
Good article. I would add that good marketers realize that while market research is great, there are limits to how effective it can be. People often don’t report what they are actually thinking. This is why the study of neuromarketing, the study of how people’s brains respond to advertising and other brand-related messages by monitoring brainwave activity, eye-tracking and skin response (which also has limits) has become popular.
Closely related to neuromarketing, effective marketers seek to understand the psychology of their audience so that they can tailor their message to them.
In addition, highly effective marketers look to see where their target audience can be found and go sell to them there. Without such information, you are wasting your time.
Last but not least, highly effective marketers understand that websites are a marketing tool and as such much be configured to promote, credibility, trust and efforts to tell their audience what they want them to do on their website with a strong call to action on each screen.
Excellent stuff. People often overlook the simple route: All you have to do is fish where fish are with the baits they love instead of thinking “smart fish should really like these kind of baits.”
You need to fix your site. I just entered a long post, had not signed in, then when I went to submit the post, my info. in boxes above appeared and my text disappeared. I’m not interested in rewriting all of this, but it is definitely something you need to get fixed.
Looks like it showed up, I approve comments when I can because I get too many spam comments and only want valuable ones to keep the conversation going, thanks.
Speaking of providing educational content – this post is incredibly informative and educational. No wonder you get so much attention on your blog via Twitter. I will definitely take heed to this advice in the future.
This post also proves that customers are more rational than we sometimes give them credit for.
What I’ve learned is that the biggest mistake marketers can make is thinking that everyone is the same or that everyone is different. Rational or not, most of us act on emotions even if we think we’re logical.
Love this post. You and I are on the same page. The best Online marketing is educating our audiences on skills we use in our businesses. ( That was the #1 2009 business prediction) And good for these days too.
I’ve been a content marketer as well as a book coach online for 11 years and growing. Today, I find my new blog on writing content for business and social media is responsible for a 57% increase in my target visitors–which we all would be smart to look at more deeply. Opt-ins are the key to profits so education + links to opt-in help our businesses grow.
I would say it comes down to giving away valuable information, tools and resources so people can make the decision on their own. And then provide actionable techniques to build trust and influence.
Great to hear your content marketing efforts are paying off!
Reading: The 6 Habits Of Highly Effective Marketers http://bit.ly/hatcO2
The 6 Habits of Highly Effective Marketers | http://bit.ly/bbcbQa #marketing #branding #followback #management
Good little read: The 6 Habits Of Highly Effective Marketers – http://www.designdamage.com/the-6-habits-of-highly-effective-marketers/
I love your article Eric. I like how you present each habit. This is truly helpful to marketers.
Repost: The 6 Habits Of Highly Effective Marketers http://t.co/OPE2gp7K
The 6 Habits Of Highly Effective Marketers via @designdamage http://t.co/CZ7HRSZE #marketing
Tell a story, build relationships. Definite pattern emerging here! < The 6 Habits Of Highly Effective Marketers http://t.co/EyeqQk5q
6 habits of effective marketers. Find out here: http://t.co/CMiZEbjRob #MarketingHabits #Marketers via ^EJ
6 Habits of Highly Effective Marketers
RT @theworkcrowd: 6 Habits of Highly Effective Marketers via @designdamage http://t.co/oES5xtKrs0 #marketing #businesstips #BeEffective
The 6 Habits Of Highly Effective Marketers via @designdamage http://t.co/ZPQS3jmFCL #Marketers
Real marketers know how to market to marketers – http://t.co/KAJbR8whpw
The 6 Habits Of Highly Effective Marketers via @designdamage http://t.co/vO42mcMqF2
The 6 Habits of Highly Effective Marketers: http://t.co/LSnGU7fpr6
The 6 Habits Of Highly Effective Marketers via @designdamage http://t.co/OyIYVfqLb5
The 6 Habits Of Highly Effective Marketers via @designdamage http://t.co/5g5s6dmk0Q