I love it when a good plan comes together. Last week we were wrapping up our strategy engagement with a new client and as part of the recommendations we provided three program levels with increasing levels of investment. As I’m sure you can all relate, the first response from the client was, “Can we do something for less?”
On the outside, I was positive and upbeat, but on the inside I was disappointed. We just spent 2 months working up the perfect inbound marketing plan to take the client from $10 million in annual revenue to $12.5 million in annual revenue in one year. The plan was brilliant and the investment levels were commensurate with a 20% growth goal.
After the meeting was over, my team and I huddled, came up with some next steps and went to work. We trimmed back the program, not as much as they wanted and we kept it high enough to ensure we could deliver. In addition, we lowered the revenue goals. Yes, asking us to lower the investment has consequences and clients need to know those lower numbers so they’re expectations are aligned with reality. We had another idea too. Education!
Use Your Blog Strategically
If your clients and prospects are reading your blog and I hope they are then you can talk to them through your blog. When you start thinking about what to write about, think back to challenges, issues or situations that are directly related to your current clients or even prospects.
If you read any of the Square 2 Marketing blog articles, you might see that sometimes I even vent some frustration around specific issues. I don’t name names or call anyone out, I deal with the challenges generically. This ensures that the people who are open to change see themselves and the people who are not open to changing probably ignore the message entirely.
Write About Challenges Facing Your Clients
Since we’re agreeing this is an indirect way to talk to clients you can discuss challenges facing your clients in a softer and gentler way. To give you a direct example that relates to the specific situation I mentioned above, we always haveclients who want to spend less than we recommend. This is an epidemic in our industry.
People who have no experience with inbound marketing tell us how much they want to spend and what level of results they expect. It’s almost like our opinion doesn’t matter. In addition, they’re setting their own company goals at ridiculously high levels, building budgets to fit those goals and then under investing in marketing and sales. Of course, it’s always our fault when results don’t materialize.
I wrote about that in a recent blog. It was directly related to a real client and a real situation. My premise included how inbound marketing, as a practice, would be judged as ineffective even if the overall program was under funded. The client read the blog. They actually told us they felt like the blog resonated with them and they selected a more realistic funding level for their ongoing program with us.
Inbound marketing agency blogging need to include stories. They need to have a beginning, a middle and an end, like all good stories. They need to be conversational and they need to be emotional. Your blog is going to be one of the first places people visit. They want to get an idea of your personality, they want to hear what you have to say. Your blog needs to illustrate your perspective, your opinions and your position on issues that are important to your prospects.
I like to tell personal stories. These serve to connect readers with me personally. Keep in mind that people make purchase decisions emotionally, so anything you can do to connect with readers is going to help them know, like and trust you more.
I tell stories about my kids, my service experiences, my frustrations with other business owners, my opinion on advertising and more. People who read both this blog and the Square 2 Marketing blog feel like they know me. This should be a goal of yours too. If they’re not getting to know you through your blogging efforts, you’re not blogging correctly.
To close out this article. Our blogging efforts resonated with our client, enough for them to see themselves in the story, change their mind, follow our advice and enter into a properly funded, long-term strategic engagement with us that will produce the results they’re expecting. More importantly, inbound marketing will get a fair test and the client will see how inbound can change their business.
Start Today Tip – Blogging isn’t about sitting down and writing 600 words. It’s about strategy. Thinking through what you want your blog to do, who’s reading it, how you want them to respond, what you want them to feel and what action you want them to take after reading it. Once you start thinking about your blog like this, you should start changing what you write about. Take a chance, write something you think people might not like or agree with. Publish it and see what happens. Fear might be holding you back from writing something remarkable and remarkable always performs better than ordinary.
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