Dating Tips That’ll Help Marketers Get Their Client Relationships Unstuck

Committing to improvement is a good idea any time of year, but there’s something poetic about marketers revitalizing along with the calendar. So let’s talk about what we can learn from the intersection of marketing personalization, dating, and client relationships. Are you a good date?

Committing to improvement is a good idea any time of year, but there’s something poetic about marketers revitalizing along with the calendar. So let’s talk about what we can learn from the intersection of marketing personalization, dating, and client relationships. Are you a good date?

I’ve been dating and doing client service (separately) for long enough to know they’re actually pretty similar. When you first get together, it’s all magical. Every text and call makes your heart skip a beat; things you’ve done a million times before feel fresh and exciting. You think about them constantly. However, the newness of the relationship soon starts to fade; you’ve got the scope of work signed and things are just humming along. So you start to rely solely on email and that scheduled “touch base.” Pretty soon, things get stagnant and your priorities shift.

This is a make-it or break-it moment. Will you put in the work to keep everyone at the level of full-heart-eye emojis, or will you get stuck in a routine? Lessons from the dating world can help you get those client relationships unstuck.

Inventory your client relationships.

  • Are you speaking their language by using their preferred method of communicating?
  • Are you still keeping in touch the way you used to at the exciting start of things?
  • Are you genuinely listening and engaged in conversation?

You want this relationship to last, so ask yourself how you could do even better. What if you rolled into your client’s office with cupcakes and cookies — and hung around to enjoy them with your clients? I make a habit of it, because who doesn’t love a treat? High-touch, high value … great date!

But it goes much further than just being the guy that shows up with flowers.

  • Are you proactively suggesting new ideas?
  • Are you forwarding them news that has an impact on their business?
  • Are you identifying materials and work product that went out of your agency that wasn’t up to your standards and then offering to make it right?
  • On the flip side, are you having those tough conversations about parts of the relationship that aren’t working that are faults on their side?

Those big personal investments are the secret to getting client relationships unstuck and, for me, it’s just the natural result of being a friendly, curious person — and it’s the No. 1 reason why my clients are usually clients and friends for life. Sure, this is business, but being open and letting your personality help forge relationships is what guarantees people remember you. I’ve always believed that the way you engage with your clients should stick with them just as much as the measurable outcomes of your work.

In 2020, build your relationship checklist. I’m talking a real, tangible checklist! Keeping track helps you assess whether you’re doing enough to sustain a happy relationship, and it’s a great way to make sure that all of your clients feel special.

Here’s the bottom line: In client services, as in dating, success depends on showing that you care, and putting the work in to keep it fresh. Whether you’re in client services or courting a dreamboat, you have got to nurture the relationship beyond day-to-day work.

Here’s the net-net: it may be a new century, but the personal touch in any relationship stands the test of time.

3-Part Pre-Production Content Marketing Checklist

Here’s a three-part pre-production checklist of the questions your content needs to answer in order for it to succeed. Last time around, we talked about how long the content on your website pages should be if your goal is to attract, engage, and retain your audience through content marketing.

Last time around, we talked about how long the content on your website pages should be if your goal is to attract, engage, and retain your audience through content marketing.

This month, let’s look at a checklist of what your articles need, regardless of length, in order to succeed as content marketing. We’ve found that the best way to build a checklist that works for you is to identify the questions you must answer before you put pencil to paper — or fingertips to tapping.

Who Am I Trying to Reach?

Your first checklist item should focus on who you are trying to reach. You may be pro or con when it comes to the value of creating prospect personae, but they are an excellent way to draw a clear picture of who your target audience is. If you have another approach you prefer, that’s fine. Just as long as your profile includes data points on your prospects’ professional lives, as well as demographic information. Here are a few examples. The data points that are relevant to your marketing will vary.

Professional Profile

  • Title
  • Role
  • Department
  • Company size
  • Location

Demographic Profile

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Level of education

What Is My Prospect’s Motivation?

Once you have a picture of who your prospect is, you need to understand what is driving them to seek the change that you could potentially provide. In other words, what are their pain points around this problem?

The key here is to dive into their pain points as deeply as possible. Your goal should be to not only know what their pain points are, but to understand why they are pain points, in the first place.

In most cases, that will require calculating what the value of solving the problem is to the prospect and his or her organization. That can help you determine your pricing and their sense of urgency.

As critically, you’ll want to identify what the costs will be of doing nothing. (That is often your biggest competitor, rather than another solution provider.)

As you identify the most critical benefits to your prospect, you may find your content beginning to take shape. Those benefits — or language alluding to them — are often best used as sub-headings in your article.

What Is My Goal for This Page?

Your goal is always the same: Get the prospect to take action.

What that action is will depend on all of the data we covered above, as well as where in the buying cycle your prospect is. That last piece will likely determine the nature of your offer: Asking someone who is just beginning their research to agree to an in-person meeting is likely a non-starter, while a prospect who is putting together her short list will be much more open to the idea.

What’s Next?

Regardless of the action you seek, be sure you are thinking a few moves ahead, as a good chess players does. Once they’ve taken this action, what action would you like them to take next? What content can help you move your prospects in that direction?

With luck, your pre-writing checklist can help you not only with the content piece in front of you, but with fitting what you create into a broader content library and content marketing strategy.

10-Point Repositioning Checklist for 2017

The start of a new year is a good time to pause and reflect about your organization’s 2016 revenue performance. At least once annually, it’s smart to step back and consider if it’s time to reposition your brand, story and unique selling proposition — especially if sales are off.

The start of a new year is a good time to pause and reflect about your organization’s 2016 revenue performance. At least once annually, it’s smart to step back and consider if it’s time to consider repositioning your brand, story and unique selling proposition — especially if sales are off.

Of course, there are multiple reasons impacting sales outcomes, such as competition, pricing, the economy, and even distraction caused by the election. But my observation is that it’s rarely just one thing that contributes to an off year. The reality is that several individual reasons — that when added together — play a cumulative role in affecting your success.

My recommendation? Evaluate this 10-point repositioning checklist that, when combined, embody your position, and can have a direct impact on 2017 sales.

Repositioning Checklist

1. Brand Name: Is it easy to pronounce and remember? Does it sound current with the times?

2. Brand Equity: Brand equity, by definition, is the real value of a brand name for an organization’s products or services. Establishing brand equity is essential because brands are known to be strong influencers of critical business outcomes. Does your brand convey value? How long has your brand been around?

3. Tagline: Do you have two or three words that pay off your brand name? If you don’t have a tagline, you should create one. Sometimes, just refreshing your tagline will be enough to breathe new life into your brand.

4. Logo: Is it modern? Are you using colors that bring out the desired emotion of your customer? (Refer to my past column, Stimulating Action with Color, for specific color recommendations).

5. One Word: What is the one word that describes the essence of your product or brand? It’s tough to distill your personality to just one word, but the exercise is helpful.

6. Brand Emotion: Does your brand reflect what you are known for, or would like to be known for? Click here for five steps to shed light on creating a solid branding statement.

7. USP: What is your unique selling proposition? Have you reduced it to a short paragraph that everyone in your organization can refer to when developing new marketing materials? If you need ideas, here are my five proven ways to create a blockbuster unique selling proposition.

8. Your Story: Stories differentiate you from your competitors in today’s culture now more than ever. If you need proof, I recommend reading Seth Godin’s book, All Marketers are Liars (which, by the way, was repositioned with a cover change. The word “Liars” is crossed out and replaced with “Tell Stories.”)

9. Golden Thread: Your story — your position — should have a Golden Thread that weaves throughout your message. What are the two or three words (or a brief concept) that you can continually use to bring your customer back to your core message?

10. Positioning Alignment: Is your positioning aligned with the personality — the persona — of your customer? A persona goes beyond demographic and behavior information. It gets to the intuition and core thinking of the fears, hopes, dreams, and values of an individual. (Much more about personas, and the twelve I’ve observed most in my direct marketing career in my book, Crack the Customer Mind Code available at the DirectMarketingIQ bookstore).

Dive into this checklist with your team, and I can assure you the conversation will be lively, and could produce a new breakthrough for you in 2017.