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.