Do you have this instinctive disliking for telesales professionals cold calling you in the middle of the most critical meeting, trying to sell a health insurance?
All of us have had an experience like that at least once. Thankfully there are apps like Truecaller which help you to block these unsolicited calls.
Well if you are bugged by intrusive telesales-callers then I’m sure you are equally uncomfortable with ads on most websites or apps you visit.
Which means you also have an ad blocker installed on your browser, the way I do.
The simple truth of the matter is as human beings we have come of the advertising age and now quite used to the information age - the age of free-flowing information across the world wide web.
The Generation of today the Gen Y and the Gen Z as we call them are used to carrying up-to three mobile devices, used to studying, dating, shopping and getting entertained, all online.
They are used to reading reviews and finding testimonials and videos for each and every purchase decision they make. They already know that content that brands produce is primarily a promotional activity.
As consumers, we neither have the time nor the willingness to consume any type of advertising, let alone click on it.
We know exactly when and how the marketer on the other side is trying to sell and how to ignore those messages.
As consumers of products/services and information, I think ignoring a brand is quite fair.
But what should we do as marketers and business owners? Should we stop advertising and promoting our products and services altogether.
In these times when consumers and audiences are well informed, all you need to do is help them out.
Tell stories, educate your audience, and help solve their challenges. This is the only way to build a relationship with your target audience and get in front of them.
Companies like HubSpot, Moz and Buffer have utilized the power of content marketing and non-intrusive story-telling to create a distinct place for themselves in the hearts and minds of their target audience.
Remember, although your audience is smart, they have a heart of a child and if you give them something, they’ll come back for more.
In this article, HubSpot talks about how the company grew their organic traffic by 300%.
Their website was getting all of 3000 visits per day and their goal was to double their traffic without spending any money on advertising.
It was at this time that they decided to create content that can help a business grow.
They decided to post only 2 blog posts every month while ensuring that they are in-depth and downright helpful to their target audience.
They defined 5 key qualities of successful content:
This ensured that some of their most successful articles got more than a 100k views over few months.
Hubspot created thought leadership content around inbound marketing. Take look at this video from their Inbound Marketing series.
They coined the term Inbound Marketing - a way to get your audience to take interest in your business because of helpful and relevant content.
It not only worked for them but works for any other business whose struggling to build an audience because they end up hard-selling their product to their potential customers.
Some of the other content marketing strategies that they deployed included:
Take a look at how Trello, a project management, and productivity app makes use of educational videos to help audience enhance their productivity:
The above video is a short video, less than a minute, and talks about the Pomodoro Technique of Productivity.
B2C companies like Red Bull and Starbucks have consistently entertained their audience to strengthen their brand among their audiences globally.
This article talks about how Red Bull is winning the content marketing war and building a growing audience online.
Red Bull does everything that’s of interest to its customers, nothing to showcase its energy drink.
The content that Red Bull produces, focuses simply on showcasing the activities that its customers enjoy. Take a look at this video:
Red Bull focuses on YouTube to reach out to its target audience (Mainly, youth between 18-34). The brand beautifully tells stories about extreme sports and adventure activities that the target audience loves - building a connection with them around a shared passion. Well, the brand does nothing to talk about its product. It has over 6 million video views and over 2 billion subscribers on YouTube.
Take a look at this another example:
Red Bull has, over time, succeeded in building a community of extreme sports fans by using their prep videos and actual event videos to inspire and delight fans.
All of this has ensured that RedBull now has over 40 million fans on Facebook. Here are some key focus areas that helped Red Bull race ahead amidst the online content clutter:
L'oreal Paris USA makes use of educational beauty and hair care tip videos to educate its audience and build a relationship with them. Take a look at this example:
Take a look at this animation video from the popular global fashion house, Hermes:
The brand makes use of short and cute stories to keep its audience happy!
That shows that while promoting your business, you need to take a customer-first approach.
Marketing in today’s times is more about taking a humane approach to building online relationships. It’s more of common sense and less of hard selling. Stories are like a breath of fresh air, something your audience can instantly connect with. The more you help and tell stories, the more they know, recognize and relate to you.
Isn’t that exactly what you wished your marketing achieved for you?
Besides that, an important aspect of marketing that you must not forget is your internal audience - your engine of growth. You need to sell your business idea to them as well, and that too in a light-hearted non-intrusive educational, entertaining way:
Take a look at this example from Clif Bar:
All you need to do is create a world your audience can find value in and they will come back to you for more.
Make sure you are not faking it - remember your audience is exposed to tons of remarkable content all around them. They know if something is helpful to them or no, they know if it’s genuinely of something to do with their passion or not.
If you can produce content that’s honest and from your own experience, it will help you to get loyal followers who won’t just trust your brand but also evangelize it.
Have thoughts and suggestions on how to market a business more effectively? Please feel free to add them in the comments section below.