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Client growth

Listen!

Listen! Part 5 of six on how to have an amazing content strategy. My last post/article was on measuring so this sensible next step is about taking a view from a wider perspective – your account management team, sales people, even influencers – what have they talked about or remembered that you wrote / posted 6 months ago or more? Those insights are crucial; in my view this ‘listen’ part could be more valuable than the measurements, but I know marketers we do love to measure – it proves ROI, but this is qualitative and this also shows that you value the people who are meeting people on behalf of your business.

Ask every single lead that comes to your business – how did you hear of us? Ask people you interview who mention they liked your website- what stood out?

And you can also take your qualitative research further and pose questions on your social channels in the form of polls or Q&As, or you could incorporate questions or feedback requests into a mailer, even incentivise responses with a good deed or prize.

I think this is a really good part of the six I’m going through and I hope it got you thinking. Do you listen to the whisperings or ask for feedback? Comment below or get in touch to chat more

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Client growth

The basics of story telling

Draw a picture with words and describe the story as if you’re talking to a friend.

Storytelling is an art that requires creativity, imagination and a level of understanding of the subject. For our clients, we have to think about the position of the business and know the audience who we are speaking with and how they will best receive information, which requires emotional intelligence; put yourself in their shoes, imagine you are them – how would you want to receive this story? We have to give away just the right amount of detail, too much and you will collide with their collective amygdala (fight or flight/crocodile brain), so keep it concise because people have very short attention spans. But that is not enough by itself, you need your story to be novel and different. We also have to show expertise, give clues to brand values or archetype and provide confidence in the fact that we possess valuable knowledge that will benefit them. It can take many, many, many drafts and sometimes the ‘one-liner’, as I like to call them, can be simply written in-house — but sometimes taking external counsel can really help to distil the message to its true essence.

Think about the type of story you want to tell.

Storytelling helps a business create in-bound sales, via outbound marketing, but how and what something is said, sells, when you are not trying to sell. We are all familiar with the age old refrain ‘it’s not what you say, but how you say it’, right? Well, it’s an age-old refrain for a reason.

Do you want to talk about yourself to create new connections? Spark action? Motivate? Educate?Demonstrate social proof? You’ll need to briefly show how experienced and knowledgeable you are in the given topic, but, and I cannot stress this enough, you then must ask questions of your prospect and get them to tell you their story. Cast your mind back to a time where you sat and listened to a senior professional reel of their entire life’s work – dull right? No one wants to watch someone sniff their own farts for an excessive portion of a meeting. Remember: people’s interest in your affairs is limited, but their interest in their own is limitless.

If you’re talking about your work, and the clients you work for, the format is simple but remember if the story is for your website – make sure you explain the ‘characters’ so an outside could understand. Sometimes businesses are so quick to try and prove themselves, that the reader is lost on who the leading character is and what they’re about. Make it relatable.

One tip I read recently was to write in a single sitting; there could be a collective of characters, that bring out the best in you for example and that breadth of characters will develop the story well.

More advice; paint the scene and have good dialogue!

Some thoughts on what good stories are:

–       Entertaining – the reader is engaged

–       Educational – give something to the reader’s hunger for new information

–       Organised – convey the message in a methodical manner

–       Memorable – they go away feeling good about your story and talk about it in the pub with their friends, this provides you with as much control as exists over stopping buyer’s remorse as much as possible after the fact when the dopamine levels drop back down and new distractions push your story back down the priority queue. If you are not memorable then you won’t close. Fact.

What about the CTA (call to action)? Get people to donate? Follow you? Get in touch? Actionable steps – and make them accountable using time frames.

Where is your story going? Is it written, spoken, video or audio? Different people receive information differently, consider your audience – the more information you can gather in discovery phase of a pitch cycle (i.e. key decision maker loves visuals) will help you determine which medium to use/focus on.

Once you’ve got to this part of reading my article and when thinking of your story; start making notes and laying down the pieces of the jigsaw then make a structured plan. If there is language you use internally, explain it, if there are acronyms or industry jargon, explain them once at the top.

So go ahead and write your first draft. Re-organise it. Polish it. Then show it to someone. If you get writers block, just try to start putting copy down and don’t think too much about the rules. Just write.

If you want to check if you have a good story – get in touch. We’re EXT MKTG (External Marketing) and we work with small to medium sized creative businesses who can’t or won’t do marketing for themselves. We start with the brand then look at the comms.

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Client growth

Why is a having a strong business brand important?

It represents who you are, it’s your shop window. It’s what people see as a first impression if they haven’t come across you before. Your icon, colours, fonts, name, strapline- all elude to if your businesses are likeminded and trusted to fulfil their needs. And your brand ‘tone of voice’ represents your brand personality and values. Financially speaking, your brand is how your business will be valued, separately of your client billing so the importance of getting it right, has never been more important. 

I wonder if even all business leaders see themselves as needing to do B2B marketing? The fact is, we all need to, we all need to speak to other businesses on some level. 

We are producing brand audits, refreshed branding and producing brand guidelines for our B2B clients to steer them right in this new age of B2B marketing. Businesses know they are being judged on their websites- that’s been happening for decades- but also everything else such as google business pages, reviews, LinkedIn Company page information and activity, sustainability policies, hiring policies, directory listings, referral traffic sites, etc – the whole picture of your business is there for everyone to see – have you double-checked yours? 

Salesforce, a pioneer in B2B marketing, is now using emotional selling – their Trailblazer videos – to get your ‘buy in’ to use their software, to improve your life. The first video indicates that using their CRM system means you’ll be able to spend more time with your children. They are also using a character – Einstein – too. A classic B2C approach in the B2B world and one tactic for sure, not necessarily right for everyone! (this is leading my thinking into the tangent of ‘Isn’t everyone really doing B2B marketing, wouldn’t all businesses rather win clients on a large scale via a business than on a one-to-one basis but let’s save that thought for my next blog article). 

And… back on the topic of BRANDING for your business…

Have you thought about all the touch-points your customers and contacts have with your brand? How do potential clients sign up to news? What’s on your news page, has it been updated in the past year? When did you last tweet? Do you need twitter?

Ever asked your family and friends and employees what they think of your external marketing? Their experience with your company’s brand forms part of your influencer marketing plan. This plan, hopefully part of your 2021 Marketing Strategy, is specifically about your business and the key messages you want to say about your business to key people, aka influencers. And as I wrote in a previous article, your influencers are clients, customers and employees. 

So have a think about this. Think about what your brand is saying about your business and what are the touch-points delivering in terms of messaging. 

If you think you need some help thinking this though or planning what to do next, we’re well versed in discussing ‘pain points’ and making things better. 

Zara // External Marketing Agency // Founder & Director