With all the articles about the importance of websites, blogs, email newsletters, and social media platforms it is easy to forget that these are just communication tools. If you don’t have a clear and focused inbound marketing strategy, no communications platform is going to save you.
Let's assume you have a quality product or service that your cusotmers love (no amount of clever communication is going to save if you don't) and your brand is unique and remarkable (worth remarking about).
Here are some suggestions to help your online communications stand out:
Have a clear target audience in mind.
When you have a clear target market audience, your communications become more focused and effective. To paraphrase Seth Godin – a blog for everybody is a blog for nobody. Keep a clear picture in your mind of exactly who you are writing for at all times. Don’t try to be all things to all people.
What is the purpose?
I'm amazed at how everytime a new communications platform is developed, marketers run like sheep to start making noise on it. Don't "Show up and throw up" just because some new social media platform is in the middle of a hype cycle, or because your competitors are doing it. Get clear on your marketing goals. What exactly do you want to achieve? What are your options? What are the right communication platforms for your brand and your target audience?
Define what success looks like for you, and how you will measure the results of your marketing activity. Hint - it's probably not about the number of visitors, followers or "likes" you have. It's all about the results; how many took the desired action? How many qualified leads did you create? How many of them went on to become customers? How much it cost you in time and money to acquire those customers?
Don’t just talk about yourself.
While your goal may be to build your brand and increase sales, it is a mistake to just write about your products and services. Always be adding value to your audience – which could include providing education, advice, case studies, industry news, or pointing people to other useful information. People will accept a certain amount of promotion from you - provided it is relevant to them and you are adding value to their lives most of the time. A rule of thumb we try to follow is: 95% adding value, 5% promotion.
Thank the critics.
We are very fortunate to have some great readers who care about the quality of our content. Many of our readers like to discuss our articles with their staff at their weekly team meetings and quickly let me know if we ever appear to become overly promotional, and keep us in check. You know who you are - thank you!
Let your readers see behind the company facade, and let them discover the real human beings who make up your organization. Be friendly and engaging.
Showing your personality does not mean writing about topics all across the board, and following your personal whims. Avoid talking about politics, religion or anything that could potentially alienate a percentage your audience (unless of course, you want to deliberately do so).
Get very clear on your strategic positioning (what your brand stands for), and give your target audience the information they want and expect to find from your brand.
Good things take time. Set up a regular communication schedule that you can maintain on a long-term ongoing basis and make sure you stick with it. I've been writing one post every week for the last 5 years now. Thanks for reading.