95% of most marketing out there is a waste of time and money. The hard truth is your prospects are tuning out much of the marketing they are being bombarded by today. Many companies, including some of your competitors, are simply increasing their marketing spend, attempting to win the arms race for attention. That’s lazy marketing. Do you have the budget to compete with their brute force strategy? I didn’t think so.
Smart companies are shifting gears. They are moving away from traditional marketing, such as ads, brochures, and expensive trade show booths, and are embracing content-based marketing on the web. Banner ads, print ads, and 30 second spots are being replaced by digital white papers, web seminars, podcasts, and blogs.
Here are 5 tips you should follow for a content-based marketing campaign.
1) Thought leadership is the best way to build trust and relationships
Thought leadership should be an entry point to a relationship. Thought leadership should intrigue, challenge, and inspire even people already familiar with a company. It should help start a relationship where none exists, and it should enhance existing relationships.
In the highly regulated, highly competitive arena of pharma, biotech, and medical devices, the challenges are massive and plentiful. The days of the faceless corporation are over. People are seeking answers to their toughest challenges. They look to people they trust and respect. Experts are becoming Internet stars as they blog, conduct web seminars, record podcasts, and publish white papers on a regular basis. The web is a publishing platform that is more efficient, less expensive, and provides better analytics than traditional marketing platforms.
2) Your message better be about the prospect
Content-based marketing is not about how great your product, service, or company is. It’s about connecting with prospects in a way that will build trust. Lose the sales pitch and focus on the prospect’s needs.
Statements to avoid:
- Our best-in-class proprietary blah blah blah
- We’re the industry leader in blah blah blah
- We [almost anything] blah blah blah
The number of sentences that start with “You” should outnumber those that start with “We” by a wide margin, especially in the beginning of your content.
3) Tell stories for maximum impact
Here’s the only place where you get to use the first person narrative. Be authentic. Your prospects can smell dishonesty, pandering, and an ulterior motive. So keep it real, as they say. Your story should resolve some issue, solve a problem. Hopefully, a problem the prospect can relate to in a meaningful way.
If you think marketing your product or service is difficult, try marketing a commodity like rice.
A great story can work for any product or service. If rice can be the glue that binds a story together, then imagine how a life science product or service can change minds and lives. Tuning into the emotional side of the viewer is extremely powerful. Emotion always trumps logic. It doesn’t matter whether your business is on the clinical side, or the marketing side of the industry – you have powerful stories to tell.
4) Save humor for the professionals
Humor is incredibly difficult to pull off. When it works, it is a home run.
When it flops, it really flops. I love humor in marketing, but unless you have access to the Conan O’Brien staff, or are willing to hire professionals with the chops to pull it off without wrecking your brand, I believe the risk-reward ratio is way too skewed toward risk. You want to make every dollar count. Blowing up a humorous piece because it falls flat, and starting from scratch, can be very expensive. And before you note about how funny stuff often goes viral, know that you have a better chance becoming president than creating a viral success story.
5) End your message with a call to action
You’ve done everything right. Your message is all about the prospect. You grabbed them from the start and stuck the landing. The prospect is feeling good about you. You won’t have a better time to ask them to take things to the next level.
Here is a sample of calls to action that can create a deeper relationship with your prospect, generate leads, and help you measure the success of your campaign. Your prospects can:
- Subscribe to your email list to be notified when more great content is available
- Fill out a form to download other related content
- Register for your next web seminar
- Follow, like, +1, comment, and tweet about your content and/or your company on social media channels
- Visit a specific landing page on your web site (used only for this campaign)
- Call or email you for additional information or to schedule a meeting
There are certainly distinct differences between B2C and B2B marketing, but a content-based approach works for both types.
Find a marketing company who understands these issues, and soon you’ll be on your way to building a legion of followers looking to you to help solve their problems.
We’d like to know your thoughts. Please tweet your ideas using hashtag #contentmarketing. Feel free to leave your comment under this blog post as well.