STRATEGY

WHAT ARE YOU REALLY SELLING?

Human beings have an attention span that is one second less than your average goldfish’s. In today’s interconnected and digital world, consumers are under a constant barrage of advertisements. Sometimes, they don’t even realize that what they are seeing is an ad, especially if it's carefully disguised as a narrative blog post. So, what can you do to increase your sales, and turn cold or warm leads into paying, loyal customers?
 
First off, you must know what you're selling, and it’s not the features you’re selling, but the benefits of your offering and why your brand exists to add value. For instance...

Starbucks does not sell coffee that comes in any flavor you could want. Starbucks sells a community. And what are the benefits of a community? It fosters connection, camaraderie, and the benefit of being seen and heard as part of a group of like-minded coffee-lovers.
 
Disney does not sell entertainment. They sell magic and unforgettable experiences. Sure, they sell movies and toys to entertain. But so do thousands of other companies. What is it that makes Disney’s toys and movies so special? The brand is positioned to sell magic and enable customers to create new, cherished memories with their loved ones.
 
So, what is it that you’re selling?
Factual statements don’t compel someone to buy. The benefits do. Why does your product exist, and what value does its existence add to the customer’s experience?
 
It’s the customer’s emotions that drive them to make a purchase. While listing factual information is important so the customer knows how the product or service operates, that’s not what gets them to convert.
 
What are some examples of features versus benefits?
You want to communicate to your audience what the more profound, emotional benefits are that you’re selling, and position your brand to connect with them through those benefits, for example:

  • Accessibility vs 24-hour limo service 

  • Convenience vs One-click buy 

  • Trustworthiness vs Doing business since 1950

Once you understand what the benefits are, you can begin to craft content around those benefits that utilize a narrative structure that hits those emotional notes for your target audience. The latest and the most fabulous features don’t mean much to your customer unless those features translate into benefits that bring them a specific value. What you’re selling needs to answer these vital questions for the customer:

  • What’s in it for me?

  • Will this improve my current situation?

  • Will the product or service make me happier, healthier, smarter, or richer?

Understanding your target audience’s demographics can certainly help you figure out what your offering’s most relevant features are that you want to list. However, knowing the psychographics of your customer, as in what motivates them or what gives them value, can help you position your brand’s benefits and the reason why it exists to serve the customer. Doing this will enable you to move whatever product or service it is that you’re selling.
 
For better conversions and increased customer loyalty, know exactly what you’re selling, and communicate how it benefits your target customer on an emotional level.

The end.

DOES YOUR BRAND NEED BOOT CAMP?

Online content and marketing strategies are continuously evolving and changing. In today’s competitive environment, remaining still can cause your brand to get swept away in the current. Just treading water isn’t a viable strategy, either. Stagnancy and complacency in business are productivity killers. Is your brand strategy feeling a bit stale lately? Then you may need a brand boot camp.


1. Positioning
Understanding and capitalizing on what makes your brand unique can breathe new life into your marketing strategies. Unless you have an incredibly, remarkably, earth-shatteringly different product or service never seen before, you have to position your brand.

What does this look like? Well, for starters, you want to differentiate your product or service from your main competitors. Why should a customer choose your offering over the other company’s offering?

On the flipside, you want to see what your competitors have that you don’t. Do they have something that you need? One of the easiest ways to gain new customers and increase your audience base is to target your main competitor’s following. But, your brand will need to be more appealing than the targeted competitor.

2. Reach
How are you currently reaching your ideal customers? If you’ve noticed that new follower acquisition has stagnated, it’s time to fish in deeper, different waters. To find new places to reach people, you want to fully understand the different mediums where your brand messaging is most effectively conveyed to viewers. Look around for a popular, new platform where you could start communicating your message. Where are your competitors finding new viewers?

3. Experience

One of the most effective ways to increase your customer base and conversions is through improved customer experience. It’s crucial that you ensure a positive experience throughout the buyer’s journey. Remember, you want it to be pleasant, efficient, and offer real, valuable utility to the user. Customer experience though is not something that can be quickly or easily manipulated.  Providing valuable, useful services and products will help increase and also maintain your brand’s positive reputation.

It’s not enough to send your brand to boot camp and develop improvements for your company if you aren’t sure of your goals. Make sure you have a plan and a strategy involved when you give your brand a makeover. What experience do you want to give your customers? What end goal are each of your new developments supporting? When you have a set of clear, concrete objectives, your plans will be much easier to implement, and it will keep your team focused on the end goal.

Don’t let stagnancy and complacency sink your brand. With better positioning, improvements to the customer experience, and increased reach, you’ll breathe new life into your company with brand boot camp.

INPUT VS OUTPUT: WHAT'S MORE IMPORTANT TO CLIENTS?

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You’ve probably heard that “content is king,” but recent studies suggest that strategy is the supreme ruler when it comes to marketing and business growth. Studies from B2C Benchmark Report shows that 47% of the most successful content marketers utilize a documented and researched strategy for content marketing. Only 5% of the least effective content marketers don’t.
 
So, is input, or research and strategy, more important than content, assets, and overall output? Yes.
 
Emphasizing content and assets over research and strategy is like putting the cart before the horse. A documented, well-researched plan is the secret of success behind the most effective content marketing campaigns. That’s not to say that output isn’t important, though. The output is the fruit of strategic input labor.
 
But how exactly should you build the strategy? And when should you emphasize and invest in the assets your strategy should produce for your clients?
 
How to Optimize Output for Clients
Your content strategy, or output, needs to be determined via research, and hard numbers, and data. Guess-work is not a strategy. Relying on measurable data will increase the likelihood of marketing success.
 
Research should include the who, what, where, and why to increase the campaign’s effectiveness — the who, what, when, and why will become the essential ingredients in your campaign - audience, trends, media, and competitor analysis.
 
Who is your audience?
Do you want to understand your client’s online prospects? Then you need to know who their audience is. How do they make purchases? What answers are they looking for? How do they make purchasing decisions, and how does the buyer’s journey look for them? Knowing your client’s target audience will help you develop anoutput, or content strategy, that is tailored to their specific needs and will resonate the most with them.
 
What are the trends?
Knowing the trends associated with your client's industry or niche will help you develop your future assets. Analyzing the most engaging content or assets in your client’s niche will give you the data you need to determine the trending content patterns that are most likely to engage your client’s target audience members.
 
Where is the media influence?
Assessing media will give you the opportunity to find out who the top online media members and influencers are for your client's industry. Evaluating media will provide you with a chance to maximize the amplification of your future content and other assets.
 
The Final Why
Gaining an edge over your client’s fiercest competitors is one of the reasons behind creating and implementing an effective content marketing strategy that is crucial for business success. A strategic competitor analysis will help you and your client find any opportunities at the bottom or in the middle of your funnel that your competitors may not be capitalizing on.
 
Having a comprehensive input strategy in place for your clients will ultimately maximize the effectiveness of your content marketing campaigns. Backing your content strategy with research, and hard data will also significantly increase the chances of the campaign becoming a success. While output is important, input requires more of your time and attention, because it is the ultimate foundation for marketing success.