In the last few years, of what’s being called online content marketing, what have we learned? When all the blogs, whitepapers, ebooks, podcasts and YouTube videos have been produced, what can we say we learned, took action on and improved?
The single most important lesson learned for me, and in my research, has been how engaging customers should never be the goal. Instead, engagement is the starting point. It’s an open door to get customers to respond to you, your brand.
Engagement has so many of us so wrapped up that we’re failing to realize a key point: Engaging is merely a chance to enter into a journey with a prospect; a trip toward whatever it is they need, desire, hope for or need to avoid.
Engagement should be (if it’s to be effective) the start of a series of “fair exchanges” that guides prospective buyers toward, or away from, what you’re selling.
If it’s not? You’re just engaging for the sake of engaging. You’re not generating, nurturing and closing leads.
Be Provocative to Generate Response
Most marketers and sellers using blogs, video, YouTube, LinkedIn and such in their online content marketing strategy think of customer engagement as a goal. The finish line. But that’s not going to help you get customers to buy online.
Successfully engaging with customers is an opportunity to generate response from them. Actually selling on social media means being thought provoker-not just a thought leader.
You’ve got to get customers to do something-to begin a journey toward converting to a lead.
Think of it this way:
- Are you giving customers a reason to talk to you on LinkedIn? A real, compelling reason.
- Are your blogs so bold they provoke readers to call or email you or sign-up for an offer?
Is whatever you’re doing on social media provoking customers to contact you-so your sales team can help them more clearly understand the thought you just provoked?
Don’t Settle for Engagement
Do you have honestly new knowledge or a new product that can benefit customers in exciting, new ways? Then why would you settle for floating your thoughts out there and hoping to be dubbed a leader?
Does getting your content shared mean that much to you … more than getting leads does?
I realize for some of you the answer will be yes! To those readers I say this: Instead why not give customers a reason to act on the impulse your thoughts can create? This way prospects take action on doing something they really need and want to do … AND create a lead for yourself.
Tempt Prospects to Act
If you watch what I do in my online training business I’m always tempting prospects to trade their contact information for a better way… or tips on avoiding risks.
I’m teasing prospects into taking an action that I know they want to take.
For example, I like to reveal a small part of a hidden opportunity to them on my YouTube videos.
So … you can engage customers and hope that focused conversation gets going or you can cause it directly.
It all starts with realizing engagement is not the goal and knowing how to nurture a lead who isn’t ready to talk about your product or services yet.
So think of engagement as the first step to creating response. If you do you’ll start making social media sell for you more often.
Good luck and see you in comments below! Feel free to disagree with me, share your successes with this technique, etc.