One of the most fundamental frameworks I always share with clients is the one pictured above. It’s straightforward and illustrates the essence of what flows through a marketing automation solution. It typically serves as a nice starting basis for discussion and discovery.
Here’s how it usually goes:
- People always jump on the Conversation
Right on! That’s exactly why we’re implementing a marketing automation solution! We can’t wait to start blasting out emails and firing up webinars! This is just what we need to empower our small marketing team to get 10 times as much done!
- People always look forward to the Conversion
We desperately need data! We don’t know what’s working and what’s not. Analytics, analytics, analytics! Can’t wait to have real numbers on which to base decisions. And with all those new highly qualified leads, our sales people are going to love us!
- Unfortunately, people often downplay the Content
I think we have some old white papers in here somewhere, maybe a tutorial or something. Lots of PowerPoints. Definitely got installation and instructional videos, those should be good, some demos too. So, when do you think we can get our first email blast out there?
And therein lies the challenge. It’s hard to have an ongoing conversation, and certainly hard to nurture that toward conversion, if all you’re doing is flinging product info out there. A key ingredient is missing.
You Need to Say Something!
I can’t begin to tell you how many times clients give a playfully guilty yet knowing laugh when I say that. Like getting their fingers caught in the cookie jar. “Yep, you got me there.” Intuitively they know something’s missing. It’s just hard to put a finger on it.
Content is tricky business. It requires great writing skills, of course. But it also requires insight, acumen, street savvy and a thorough understanding of the line of business. Nobody said it was easy.
So here’s some food for thought:
1. It’s the why, not the how
Try to convey the reason why the prospect will be better off with your products. And be mindful of who you’re addressing. This goes to the heart of specific value propositions that are targeted to specific segments.
2. Nobody cares about you, they care about themselves
Sorry, they’re looking out for their own welfare, not yours. So what can you do to advance that? Get inside their shoes. What are their business challenges? Show that (a) you viscerally understand those challenges, and (b) you’re in a position to solve them.
3. Your job is to get them promoted
Consider this a rule of thumb. Anything you can say to improve their day-to-day job performance is fair game. Think of your content as their “consigliere.” It’s a means to become their trusted advisor. If it helps advance their career, they will actively seek you out.
4. Educate and inform
Content should be instructive and fresh. What’s new in the industry? What trends are shaping up? Again, from their perspective: industries and trends they are likely to follow, not you.
5. Convey thought leadership
This is perhaps the most difficult one, because it entails a sustained, consistent stream of content. Ironically, this is the one area of content that is actually more about you and less about them. They’re looking for assurance that they’re hitching their wagon to a product that solves their problems, gets them promoted – and that will continue to do so into the future. Convey an aura of “we’re on top of it, we’re at the forefront.” Show them you’re doing your homework, so that they won’t have to. Offer a point of view.
6. Deliver substance & frequency over polish
A last point, and a critical one: don’t let polish stand in the way. It’s about saying something substantial, not about packaging it up all nice and pretty. Creatives, glossies, rich production…that’s treacherous. It’s a wall standing between you and content glory. Don’t fall into that trap. It’s paralysis.