Tag Archive | "customers"

Customers as Value-Creating Partners, Not Just Value-Extraction Targets

How do customers add value? Everything from providing feedback, to word-of-mouth marketing, to being early adopters for new products. However, I would argue that customers must first be satisfied before they are willing to engage in any of these activities.
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Copywriting: Listen to customers so you can speak their language

Words are subtle indicators to tell a potential customer “we understand you specifically” and “this offer is meant for people like you.” To truly speak our customers’ language, we must listen to them because our customers may be very different from us.
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They Won’t Bite: How talking to customers helped Dell EMC turn its content strategy around

Taking the time to pause production and speak with our customers about the kind of content they want to see is one of those “why didn’t we do this sooner?” moments we talk about so much in marketing.
The Dell EMC had just such a moment. It stopped producing content that was seeing absolutely no traction and began not only focusing on content that customers actually wanted but also getting it in front of them.
Watch this Media Center interview with Lindsay Lyons, Director of Global Content Strategy, Dell EMC, to gain insights into how her team was able to transform their internal processes to produce effective, customer-first content.

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Avoid This Rookie Marketing Habit to Get New Customers Faster

A component of my publishing philosophy is: “Wanting to write something does not guarantee that someone will want to read it.” And it comes into play when you write the first marketing materials for your business — many new marketers get excited about a type of writing that doesn’t turn out to be engaging. The
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Using call and SMS data to drive new customers

Voice search now accounts for 20% of queries on Google’s mobile app and Android devices. Inbound call volume is continuing to increase even as messaging apps and chatbots become more popular. Facebook expects 37 billion call conversions by 2019, as social media’s share of mobile calls to…



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8 Calls to Action that Initiate New Relationships with Customers and Collaborators

"Viral content may feed your ego, but it doesn’t necessarily feed your business." – Stefanie Flaxman

I know. I know. I know.

“Viral” is an actual term people use to describe wildly popular content that has spread across a variety of distribution channels, landing in our Twitter feeds, Apple News updates, text messages, and emails from Uncle Sue.

But I still don’t like the word.

When “going viral” is a goal for a piece of content, it puts me a little on edge.

Viral content may feed your ego, but it doesn’t necessarily feed your business.

Business success without “going viral”

I understand it’s frustrating if no one knows about your products or services. That’s why you want a lot of people to see your work.

But sustainable success stems from your dedication to produce one great line at a time and consistently publish your content. One article/podcast episode/video is not going to change everything.

Plus:

Many smart content moves have nothing to do with a piece of content “going viral” and don’t depend on a massive amount of views.

So, stop putting pressure on yourself. “Viral” doesn’t need to be your goal.

Let’s talk about what you can do right now to initiate new relationships with the customers and collaborators who will help build your business.

1. Ask for comments and suggestions

I always talk about crafting a thoughtful presentation, but individual pieces of content are not definitive articles on a topic — nor should they be.

While you want to thoroughly express your message, an exhaustive guide that tries to tackle the subject from every angle is tedious to read. It’s also futile — there’s always going to be some other point of view you didn’t consider.

Instead, publish your useful material and invite your audience to contribute their thoughts.

For example, my article last week about proofreading pointers didn’t explain every possible proofreading technique. I provided the top three tips I frequently use, and then readers added the methods that work for them in the comments.

The content opened up a discussion that encouraged people to participate. Readers, viewers, and listeners who become personally invested in your content are the ones who stick around and want to hear more from you over time.

2. Spark new social media conversations

When you optimize your content for social media sites, you don’t just increase your chances of getting clicks to your website from your existing followers.

Interesting conversations about your content on social media will attract people who have never come across your work before.

This is good, old-fashioned word of mouth that happens organically after you’ve done something remarkable.

And rather than just blatantly promoting a piece of content, see how you can initiate meaningful interactions that draw people back to your website to find out more.

For example, an intriguing photo on Instagram could spark comments, shares, and likes, as well as prompt viewers to read the blog post or listen to the podcast episode that gives the photo context.

3. Pull in audiences from different platforms

I regularly drool over the short and entertaining food-preparation videos on the AnarchistKitchen YouTube channel.

But do you know what the videos don’t provide?

The recipes for the mouth-watering food.

To get the recipes, you have to go to their blog. The videos capture the attention of people who may have not otherwise known about their website (like me).

Next week, Jerod is going to talk more about ways to distribute your best ideas on different platforms.

4. Offer a shareable summary

No one wants to be that person who bores all their friends with their latest obsession — whether it’s a blog, book, or beverage.

But the desire to share something new that you love is understandable.

So, how do we convert our friends in a non-pushy way?

It’s a lot easier if you have a sample of a blog, book, or beverage recipe that others can browse on their own terms rather than hearing all the benefits from you.

Content marketers can create mini packages for their audience members to share with their friends.

For example, you could offer a beautiful PDF as a free download that summarizes who your site is for and how you help them, with some snippets of particularly useful advice. You’d then encourage your visitors to share the PDF rather than just share your website link.

It’s a more direct way to show what you’re all about, rather than hope a first-time visitor immediately clicks on the most engaging parts of your website.

5. Take the first step

Let’s say you meet someone in person, talk about a potential business collaboration, and exchange contact information.

What if you took the first step needed to make that collaboration happen before you contact them?

You could write the guest blog post for their site that you mentioned, outline a podcast interview, or draft the budget for the video series you discussed.

The work that you perform upfront could be the push the project needs to get off the ground faster, so consider initiating it rather than merely sending a follow-up email with pleasantries or questions.

6. Build your email list when you host live events

Live events don’t have to be elaborate, expensive productions.

I’m talking about having a booth at a local fair, giving a seminar at a bookstore, or teaching a workshop at a community center.

Or maybe live events, such as yoga classes, are your business.

People who have terrific experiences will want to know how to keep in contact with you so they don’t miss anything else you offer.

Encourage your guests, visitors, or students to sign up for your email list.

I’m very (very, very) picky about where I share my email address. The only time I have signed up to be on an email list in recent history was after I had such a great time at an event that I wanted to keep in touch with the organizer.

7. Describe your products or services

If you’re not sure when to mention your business in a piece of content, ask yourself:

Would someone who benefits from this free content get even more help with one of my products or services?

Then you can find ways to show how your paid solution would be a good fit for your reader.

For example, a locksmith might write an article about what to do if your key breaks off in your lock.

The content could outline steps to fix the problem, but many people who find it are going to need immediate help. The company should include a call to action so local searchers know how to get in contact with a locksmith who can help them.

You won’t necessarily mention your products or services in every piece of content you create, but you also can’t assume your audience knows you offer something they need. Potential customers need to be absolutely clear how they can move forward with what you have to offer.

8. Provide a special recipe

Content that makes an impact on someone’s life is the type that gets shared.

As Sonia has said:

“Make your advertising too valuable to throw away.”

Use tutorial content to educate your prospects about specific ways to use your product. They’ll be empowered to apply what they learn to get the results they desire.

I was recently reminded of this technique when I bought a package of rosemary that said “Try the recipe inside!”

If I make the rosemary roasted potatoes from the package and share the food with dinner guests, they could potentially ask for the recipe and buy that brand of rosemary as well.

What do you think about viral content?

Let us know how you form individual connections with potential customers or collaborators.

Is “going viral” a major goal (or secret wish) every time you publish content?

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Get Engaged to Your Audience and Customers

Get Engaged to Your Audience and Customers

Roses are Red

Violets are Blue

Valentine’s Day is Tuesday

Why is content marketing so hard?

Welcome to the week before Valentine’s Day! As it happens, it’s connection and engagement week at Copyblogger — and the content this week is all about how you can create a more profound bond with your audience.

On Monday we had a fun day, because we got to finally let you know about something cool we’ve been working on behind the scenes — StudioPress Sites. This new product was conceived and shaped based on our in-depth conversations with customers, and we’re super proud of it. If you’re looking to launch a new site with all the flexibility of WordPress — and without the irritating parts — check it out.

On Tuesday, Brian gave us an in-depth post about how to create content that deeply engages your audience. This is a meaty post, so plan on giving it your full attention and spending some time with it (and your caffeinated beverage of choice, if you choose).

And on Wednesday, Jerod talked about cognitive biases — how your brain is wired to work, whether or not you’re aware of it. He explained ethical ways we can use these biases to shape content to work with our natural tendencies, instead of against them.

Finally, a little earlier today we announced our Content Excellence Challenge prompts for February. These are community challenges we do together every month. This month, I’m giving away five copies of Jonah Sachs’s fascinating book Winning the Story Wars, which is stuffed with ideas about how to connect more closely with your audience … and persuade them to take action.

You can learn more about Winning the Story Wars on the Copyblogger FM podcast this week.

Hope your weekend is an excellent one, and I’ll catch you next week!

— Sonia Simone

Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital


Catch up on this week’s content


not just another wordpress siteIntroducing StudioPress Sites: WordPress Made Easy … Without Sacrificing Power or Flexibility

by Brian Clark


What you say is crucial. But how you say it can make all the difference.How to Create Content that Deeply Engages Your Audience

by Brian Clark


we tend to search for and interpret information in a way that confirms our preconceptions.5 Cognitive Biases You Need to Put to Work … Without Being Evil

by Jerod Morris


2017 Content Excellence Challenge: The February Prompts2017 Content Excellence Challenge: The February Prompts

by Sonia Simone


Copyblogger Book Club: Winning the Story WarsCopyblogger Book Club: Winning the Story Wars

by Sonia Simone


Creating a Productized Service, with Dan NorrisCreating a Productized Service, with Dan Norris

by Brian Clark


How Screenwriter and 'All Our Wrong Todays' Author Elan Mastai Writes: Part TwoHow Screenwriter and ‘All Our Wrong Todays’ Author Elan Mastai Writes: Part Two

by Kelton Reid


[Guest] Expert Tips for Conducting Better Interviews, with Krys Boyd[Guest] Expert Tips for Conducting Better Interviews, with Krys Boyd

by Jerod Morris & Jon Nastor


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Action Content: Turn Fans into Customers [Plus a Free Bonus for You]

4 Essential Content Types - Action Content

This article is part of our series on the 4 Essential Types of Content Every Marketing Strategy Needs. Make sure to get your special free bonus at the end of the article.

So far, we’ve covered Attraction, Authority, and Affinity content. Now it’s time to turn your fans into customers with Action content.

And this is where all the work you’ve done as a content marketer starts translating into revenue for yourself, your clients, or your organization.

The good news is that Action content is probably the easiest type of content to understand. But the bad news is that it can also be some of the most difficult to produce.

We’ll dig into the reasons why shortly, but since we are in the habit of defining each term before we get started, let’s do that here for Action content:

Action content is content designed to get somebody to take an action.

How about that for easy?

The marriage of copywriting and content marketing

Content marketing is a new kid on the block in some ways, surging in popularity in the last five years.

In other ways, content marketing has been paired with advertising for quite some time. Take John Deere’s 118-year-old magazine, The Furrow, as an example.

The Michelin Guide, first published in 1900, is another great example of classic content marketing.

However, what I’m talking about here is the marriage between copywriting and content marketing.

A marriage between copywriting and content marketing helps you attract attention, increase engagement, and then ultimately, persuade someone to take action.

Types of actions

When you create content, you should have an action in mind that you’d like the reader to take. Actions could include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Asking your readers to comment on a blog post
  • Asking your readers to share an article or podcast
  • Asking people to participate in a poll or survey
  • Encouraging people to download a free video training course
  • Persuading people to subscribe to your email newsletter
  • Convincing people to follow you on social media
  • Enticing people to hire you
  • Getting people to buy your product

Naturally, you’ll want to start off with small requests. Get people used to taking your advice and following your instructions.

You first want people to say, “Hey, I want to pay attention to this person (or this company, or this brand) because it’s really relevant to my current challenge and the journey I’m on.”

You get people to warm up to you and trust you — step by step — until the sale, and then the repeat sale or the recurring sale.

Let’s look at some successful pieces of Action content.

Examples of Action content

The most obvious piece of Action content you will create is promotional — sales copy that you publish and run for the duration of the offer. After the sale is over, we recommend you remove the post from your site.

Action content also includes landing pages, like this one on content marketing that encourages visitors to register for Copyblogger’s content library.

In addition to those two cases, your best content will combine all four types of “A” content. Here’s a stellar example: What’s the Difference Between Content Marketing and Copywriting?

What makes it so great?

  • It’s useful. The headline suggests you are about to learn something important. The question-style headline also helps attract attention. People wonder whether or not they do indeed know the answer. They think, “This might be too important to miss.”
  • It’s authoritative. Sonia Simone’s years of working in the copywriting and content marketing world turned what could have been a shallow answer into an extended clinic in effective writing.
  • It takes a stand. The content exposes people to one of our core philosophies at Copyblogger: Really good content is unsurpassed at building rapport, delivering a sales message without feeling “salesy,” and getting potential customers to stick around.
  • It’s laced with action. You might not see it at first blush, but this piece of content motivates readers to check out the educational resources Copyblogger has to offer — from the My.Copyblogger free membership site to the paid offers like Authority and Content Marketing Certification.

The success of this content wasn’t accidental. There was a plan: the content primes people for when we actually do make an offer.

How to write Action content

Writing something interesting to fill space and keep people reading won’t cut it here.

You need to pair your content with a business goal.

That’s not as complicated as it might seem, because all you have to do is ask yourself this simple question before you write each piece of content:

What is the action I want my audience to take?

Now, getting people to actually take that action requires some skill. Like I said above, this is the hardest type of content to master. It takes time to learn copywriting skills, and it also takes time to master them.

The following resources can help you:

Once you’ve worked through that list, the next best thing you can do is to practice. Write. Then write some more.

And on that note, let me close with a little encouragement.

Keep your chin up

When I first got into copywriting, I threw myself into it whole hog.

I devoured every book I could get my hands on. Tore through successful promotional pieces. Listened to a legion of cassette tapes on the art of direct response copywriting, human psychology, and negotiations — yeah, this was way before podcasts. Wrote a mountain of sales letters, emails, and text ads (and then watched mentors tear them apart).

This went on for years. I thought I knew my stuff. However, it wasn’t until about Year Five when things clicked … when I turned the corner and all that head knowledge became heart knowledge.

The moral of this short story is that if I can learn how to write Action content, so can you. But it’s going to take time. Don’t expect too much of yourself too soon. Just start learning, publishing content, measuring results, adjusting, asking for feedback, and so on.

You can do it.

Get your free ebook: 4 Essential Types of Content Every Marketing Strategy Needs

Build a content strategy based on the four content types in this series! Get your free ebook, 4 Essential Types of Content Every Marketing Strategy Needs.

4-essential-content-types-cover-500

Click to get the free ebook

Over to you …

What’s your favorite example of Action content?

Drop us a note in the comments section below to share your thoughts.

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How New & Existing Customers Interact With Your Paid Search Ads Differently

Columnist Andy Taylor shares data from Merkle|RKG that illustrates how users behave when clicking on ads and how they evaluate ad choices on a SERP.

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Should You Write for Fans or Customers?

tough choice: admirers or buyers

Mickey Spillane did not suffer from delusions of grandeur.

He didn’t expect his novels — featuring private eye Mike Hammer — to be regarded as great works of literature.

What he wanted was for them to sell.

I have no fans. You know what I got? Customers. And customers are your friends. – Mickey Spillane

His books have sold more than 225 million copies, so this approach served him well.

As we build an online presence with our content marketing, we have to answer this essential question:

Should we develop fans or customers?

The answer isn’t as straightforward as it may seem.

Why develop fans?

Your content marketing may have fans — people who love everything you write, contribute ideas in your comment section on a regular basis, and support your business by participating in any free offer you make.

Not all fans become customers, but some fans may become second customers.

Second customers are people who help you spread the word about your business. They faithfully share all the content you create.

They may not give you money, but they give you something equally valuable: referrals that bring you more customers over time.

Fans are important, and fans who become second customers are critical for your business.

Second customers help your business expand across the web. They do some of your promotional heavy lifting for you, so spend time cultivating them.

How to cultivate second customers

The most valuable second customers have large audiences — every share from them causes your traffic to spike.

To give your second customers the type of content they love to share, spend time thinking about how your content can meet their needs.

What is it about your content that they find useful? Does it:

  • Appeal to their audience?
  • Teach something they want their readers to learn?
  • Expand on a topic they already cover, but show it in a new light or explain it in greater depth?

If you can, try to have a short conversation with a few of your most valuable second customers to find out why they enjoy sharing your content.

Their answers will help you create more of the type of content they find useful — which will result in more shares for you.

Customers start out as fans

As a Copyblogger reader, content marketing is probably the primary technique you use to promote your business.

If that’s the case, most customers will start out as fans and readers. As you continue to deliver useful, interesting information to them over time, a percentage of your fans will become customers — those people Mickey Spillane refers to as friends.

I’m 82 years old, wherever I go everybody knows me, but here’s why … I’m a merchandiser. I’m not just a writer. I stay in every avenue you can think of. – Mickey Spillane

Content marketing helps develop and maintain healthy relationships with your customers, both before and after the sale.

Before the sale, you’ll deliver:

After the sale, you’ll deliver:

  • Onboarding (first-time customer) content so they can make the most of their purchase
  • How-to information so they can maximize the value of the item or service they bought
  • Content that helps them move toward a repeat purchase or an upsell to the next logical product or service

How can you create content to serve both fans and customers?

Can you imagine a piece of content that is a unique and entertaining take on your area of expertise combined with an upsell to the next logical product or service?

Me neither.

The content you create with the goal of getting your fans and second customers to help you spread it and the content you create for existing customers is different. There’s no need to shoehorn one into the other.

You serve no one when you wedge fan content and existing customer information into one monster-like creation — and you might even scare people away.

This is where the serial nature of content marketing shines.

Here’s the thing:

It makes the most sense to think about content marketing as a verb, not a noun.

Content marketing happens over time. No single post must meet the needs of every fan and customer you want to reach.

Appeal to fans or customers, one piece of content at a time

If you’ve been trying to make every piece of content meet the needs of every potential reader, stop.

Take a step back and refocus your individual content pieces so they appeal to specific slices of your readers: fans, second customers, customers, repeat customers.

Doing this will allow you to relax and target each piece of content toward a particular group. It takes the pressure off of any individual piece of content to do everything you need for your business.

The result?

Individual pieces of content will resonate with the particular group you want to reach. You can speak directly to them, and they’ll identify with the content. They’ll think, ‘It’s like this was written for me!’

So, should you write for fans or customers?

The answer is “yes.”

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