Article

Content Marketing 101: What’s in it for Me?

Colleen Preisner

It has probably happened to you. You meet a guy at a conference or party who starts talking about himself, and within 15 seconds, you’re looking for an escape.

Guess what! The same thing happens when we send an email about our brilliant products or services. However, we don’t even get 15 seconds–we get approximately 4–and the escape route is ‘delete’, ‘unsubscribe’, or ‘mark as spam.’ The solution? Don’t be that guy.

Why did they sign up?

Digital marketing should be a conversation, but if you’re talking about yourself, it’s a lecture. Frame your conversation by asking yourself why your subscribers signed up.

Did they subscribe so you can tell them you’re “a leading service provider” or so they’ll know when you form a new partnership? Not likely. Most subscribers are with you because they thought there was something in it for them. Make sure there is. Every email or blog post, and ideally every paragraph and sentence, should include a clear benefit to your subscribers.

What did they sign up for?

Next, you need to know their reason for signing up. Developments like Google Inbox make it more important than ever to be relevant to your readers. Do they want offers, or information, or some of both? Check your data, or ask your subscribers to update their preferences.

7 ways to be more customer-centric

Here are 7 more ways to ensure your digital messages are about your prospects or customers, and not about you:

  • Use words like “you,” “your,” or “your business” instead of “we” or “our”.
  • Make the “what’s in it for me” (WIIFM) clear in subject lines, headlines, and calls-to-action.
  • Use your data to target content and offers, and to suppress those who aren’t interested.
  • Personalize: Customers expect personalization, just don’t overdo it.
  • Show that you feel their pain, and explain how you can solve a problem or fulfill a desire.
  • Emphasize benefits of your product or service, not the features.
  • Use testimonials to let customers tell your audience how great you are instead of you telling them.

It’s not about your boss, either

Toughest of all may be persuading your boss or other departments that you are not writing or designing messages for them. (The “me” in WIIFM does not refer to the VP of sales!) You may need some A/B testing to convince them.

Remember, in the hyper-connected world of digital marketing, there are lots of people at the party. If you keep going on about yourself, you’ll be stuck in a corner alone.

About the Author(s)

Colleen Preisner

Two decades of experience in the financial services industry. Fanatic of insight-based marketing strategy, having worked in nearly every marketing discipline. She leads Trendline’s Client Services teams across North America.

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