The modern marketing machine is all about the customer. Each piece of content and every advertising campaign is designed to give customers exactly what tickles their fancy, and hopefully to convince them to pull out their wallets.
However, with so many brands vying for their audience’s attention, just giving your customers a generic version of what they’re likely to need may not be enough. The truth is that while many businesses think they know what consumers want, they are totally missing the mark. In fact, 55% of customers do not think that even the messaging that brands provide isn’t interesting or relevant to them.
Your customers want to be delighted and they want to have an extraordinary experience with your brand at each step of the sales journey. But, in order to give them what they want, you first have to know what they say they want and then start with what they need.
Let’s talk about how you can deliver this.
Pay attention to social chatter
With the number of social media now in the billions, brands have access to an insider’s view of users’ voice and opinions. People love to talk about brands and customer experiences online; over half of social users interact with or mention brands online several times every day.
Brands must pay closer attention to each and every mention or industry related post if they want their content to stay relevant. In-the-moment mention alerts is the best way to stay on top of each relevant social conversation. Google Alerts will notify you when a certain keyword is mentioned on a blog post or webpage, which is a great start. Talkwalker Alerts monitors these sites along with social media mentions for full-range brand monitoring. Additionally, it allows marketing teams to use Boolean operators to set up hyper-customized keyword alerts for more accurate industry monitoring.
Listening to these social conversations shows businesses exactly what their customers are looking for and what their pain points are. The internet is a place that has the answers to our burning questions, especially when it comes to finding the best price, product, or service, and it is often the first place consumers go to when they need something. By paying attention to and analyzing the questions and concerns that customers are sharing online, brands can try and formulate content that their audience will find helpful.
Educate your customers
In order for a visitor to turn into a customer, they have to trust the brand that they are doing business with. One of the best ways to establish this trust is by providing content that shows your company knows what they are talking about. In fact, when a brand puts out educational content, consumers are a shocking 131% more likely to purchase from them.
Many entrepreneurs and small brands have started selling online courses to share their expertise through “knowledge commerce” platforms like Kajabi, which allow experts in a given industry to design their own courses, and reach out to people looking to develop the skills they’re teaching.
While short video clips through social media or blog posts are a great starting point, providing actionable information in the same content formats but in an educational setting will go a lot further in terms of building interest and establishing thought leadership for brands. It’s a great way to connect with new audiences and share relevant, branded content in ways that actually benefits the customer in their current context.
Individuals or organizations that regularly produce high-value content like this can establish positive branding and reputation as an industry leader, a characteristic that heavily influences consumer behavior.
Make it free
Free is every customer’s favorite word. But, even if a product or service is free, it must provide value for both parties involved. Offering an introductory course, trial period, or free content like an e-book gives people the feeling that they are getting a good deal at the outset, and encourages them to try products they otherwise wouldn’t. Even better, offering a free trial tends to result in a 10% conversion rate at a very low cost for the vendor.
The key is to strategically use free content so you aren’t just giving away free products and getting nothing in return. Put a system in place that keeps customers interested and engaged. For example, you can give customers access to a free webinar in exchange for an email address for future marketing. Or, after the free trial period ends, send a follow up email with market research questions regarding their experience. Use the giveaway to grab their attention, then hang on to the opportunity to move them along the sales funnel.
The best way to give customers what they want is by observing their behavior and understanding their objectives. Metrics like clicks, comments, shares, etc. signal that your audience enjoyed the content you are putting out, and chances are, they want to see more. By recording and analyzing this data, marketers can better understand customer emotions and make more educated assumptions about what they need, want and like. Remember, your audience will gladly share personal data if they believe you’re ready to provide a valuable service in exchange.
Be sure that your marketing team is looking at the metrics that signal sentiment along with engagement. Monitor reactions and determine the types of content that are getting the most traction. Identify patterns and form strategies to include (or abandon) in the future. A ton of tools out there can collect the information you need on how people interact with your content. But it is ultimately up to you and your team to use that information in a way that benefits the customer and offers them a meaningful brand experience.
While this may sound obvious, giving your audience exactly what they are looking for is the best way to get people to convert and gain their loyalty. And don’t worry – understanding and engaging your customers is not as complex as they’re made out to be. Simply listen to what customers are saying and doing, up the ante on content quality, and base your strategy on analytical insights.