There are leaders and then there are followers. Generally the idea is to be the former.
But perhaps it's worth a shot to look at this phrase the other way around. Maybe to be a leader, it's worth being a follower.
The people who lead the way with awesome ideas and unique talents did so by acquiring knowledge and applying it in new and interesting ways. We all need to learn stuff to lead stuff. And those who do it best inspire others to act.
They are Thought Catalysts. Here they are as told by the movers and shakers from Speakers' Spotlight.
When your customers are buying, they binge.
It’s like Netflix. The new season of Game of Thrones or Orange is the New Black comes out, and you crush it. When you find something you like, you binge on it.
Your customers will demonstrate a similar behavior. When a buyer has a major purchase to make they read everything. They download your white papers, watch your videos, search your blog, and Google your brand. They binge on everything.
The binge is a fascinating behavior, and it’s triggered by a fear response. Customers will try to mitigate some of their purchase risk by getting informed. Bingeing on content is like putting on armor. The more you know, the more secure you feel.
The binge is a golden opportunity for you and your business, because you can create a competitive advantage by facilitating your customers’ desire to binge.
Facilitate the Binge
Customers are looking for three types of content when they binge:
Product / Service Overview: The last thing anyone wants is a sales pitch. Instead they want to get educated and informed. On your website give your customers everything a salesperson would provide in a demo: product information, process, examples, and proof.
The mantra here is to make your website sell as well as your best salesperson.
Pricing: Publishing your pricing on your website can be controversial, but customers are learning to expect it. This practice has extended from consumer-oriented industries to B2B brands. For instance, most software companies have a section on their website titled “Pricing.”
B2B pricing can be complex, but it is powerful to share your rate card online. It drives velocity into your sales funnel. Why waste your salespeople’s time giving quotes to unqualified leads?
How To Content: In the binge your customers are working to educate themselves. They are sponges for knowledge and they love “how to” content.
Wistia, the professional alternative to hosting videos on YouTube, does a great job educating its customers. Visit their Library and you will find tons of how to content: how to animate your logo, how to choose a backdrop for your video, how to look natural in front of the camera. They publish oodles of content on how to be successful with video.
What do your customers want to know and learn when they’re buying? Use your how to content to answer all of these questions, and better yet link that content with your Product and Pricing pages.
Social Proof Your Brand
You know your customers are going to Google your brand to validate it’s as good as you say it is. So give them content to find.
This is where your social media, public relations, and influencer marketing can generate a ton of value. It creates a halo around your brand in search engines with articles, reviews, and proof statements that your brand is credible.
Many companies struggle with social media, because they want Facebook and LinkedIn to generate sales leads. Social media might not be the best place to generate leads, especially for a B2B brand. Rather, shift your objectives. Instead of using social media to generate leads, use it to generate social proof.
Automate the Binge
Marketing automation is one of the neatest opportunities to support the binge, because it eliminates the “get lucky” factor.
Rather than making your customers hunt for information on your website and Google, you can use marketing automation platforms like Pardot or Hubspot to facilitate the binge. This shifts your content marketing strategy from “publish and pray” to driving for next steps.
For example, a salesperson should always ask “What are the next steps?” at the end of each meeting. The same is true with your content. At the bottom of each page in your website ask the question, “What’s next?”
With a simple question you can identify tactics to facilitate the binge. You might drive the customers to a white paper or a video, or you might connect them to a salesperson. But your goal is to give your customer everything they need to make a sound purchase decision.
Jeremy Miller is a branding expert and author. To read more of his posts, visit his page on Speakers' Spotlight. To have Jeremy speak at your next function, email Speakers' Spotlight at firstname.lastname@example.org.