Give your customers helpful information to drive their decision-making, and they’ll give you their business — and their loyalty.
Originally published on Entrepreneur Magazine on October 9, 2017
Your email inbox is a stream of messages that all aim to grab your attention. Some subject lines are intriguing, but you’ve had to become a master of sorting out the noise. You go directly to messages from proven senders — those who have built a track record of delivering value or entertainment. At some point in the past, these authors crafted messages that resonated with you. You keep reading what they send because their words have weaved a path to your heart or reliably present useful information.
In short, your inbox is a collection of messages that have your attention and all the rest, which you easily can avoid. The same is true of any message across any medium.
During the past decade, I’ve created two multimillion-dollar businesses and advised seven others to reach multimillion status. Getting customers is the lifeblood of all companies. Customer acquisition allows for more investments, better hiring and certainly more profits.
In my work with businesses and through my speaking engagements, I share insights about emotional connectivity as it relates to customer acquisition. It is quite simply about making that connection. Nearly every market is crowded. Most marketing messages tend to sound like noise — except those that are so smooth and inviting they’re music to our ears.
Your audiences are overloaded with information. And there’s more headed their way, as businesses create content designed to catch their attention. Instead, you should work to develop emotional resonance with those in your target markets. Here are three customer-acquisition principles to guide you.
1. Compelling storytelling.
It’s easy to talk about the benefits of your products or services. All those facts and features you embed in your marketing are an attempt to engage logic. And while that might be important at some point in the customer journey, logic can’t reach people the way a powerful story does. The story behind the product allows you to connect to the very heart of your audience.
Few people illustrate this better than Kindra Hall. She recently presented to a room full of 1,300 professional speakers (one tough audience) on the topic of sharing stories that carry more influence. Hall doesn’t tell, she shows. “If you want your message to be heard, to matter, to be remembered, or to inspire action — you need to use story,” she says.
You might tell your underdog story to share how you created and built your business. Give your audience something to cheer about. The facts and figures are forgettable. Your story is shareable and memorable. It takes courage to tell your story and skill to share it well.
2. Helpful marketing.
Your most successful marketing efforts will bring immediate value to your audience. This does not mean a coupon. You need to deliver information that can stand alone and serve your potential customers with insight that helps them solve a problem or relieve a pain point.
To explain this concept, I talked to Jay Baer, author of “Youtility” and founder of Convince & Convert. Baer’s book exists to share how marketing has evolved from merely a means to sell a good or service at that moment. It now centers on helpfulness that creates customers for life. Baer believes marketing for help — not hype — is a shift that changes the way the marketplace sees you. This, too, enhances emotional resonance.
3. Smart decision-making.
Marketing is expensive. And even more so when you do it poorly. No matter your company’s size, you must make smart decisions within your marketing budget. You can’t put one strategy out and hope it works. In fact, the smart play is to know your audience so well you can put out multiple variants and track the results. That demands you understand your numbers and can measure the effectiveness of any tactic you use to increase engagement.
Unfortunately, most marketers use various tools to piece together their platforms. That becomes a real barrier. It creates gaps and limits measurement across the tool sets, reducing a company’s ability to make smart decisions.
ONTRAPORT, which offers an “all-in-one” marketing-campaign suite, recently completed a robust enhancement. The purpose: address the importance of automation, segmentation and data analysis to better serve small businesses.
The platform’s visual campaigns now allow users to see many key campaign components in a graphic format. Data dashboards give quick, concise insight to enable direction-setting. “These changes are focused to help you make smarter decisions,” CEO Landon Ray says. “You can see what is working and what isn’t.”