Somewhere over the rainbow, potential customers are waiting to be tapped on the digital shoulder by your magical marketing strategy. If you’re anything like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, you’re not satisfied with the monotonous, slow Kansas speed of business growth (no offense Kansas). As a business owner, entrepreneur or marketing manager, you likely have bigger ambitions and you’re willing to go through a tornado of work to get there. Luckily, the Wizard of Oz provides an excellent analogy for a stellar marketing strategy. Follow along our yellow brick road of tips to learn how a brain, a heart and a healthy serving of courage are all required to reach your marketing goals.
Scarecrow: Content Marketing Requires Meticulous Study Of Your Potential Customers
It’s a no-brainer to say that locating and appealing to potential customers will require hard work. Whether your business is still in the idea phase or it’s been running for a year, it’s critical you diligently research your audience characteristics and where to find them.
Potential Customers And Their Buyer Persona
Just like how somebody must have dressed up and stuffed Scarecrow, let’s similarly build what CEO and content marketing expert Brad Merrill calls a “buyer persona” for your business: the age, gender, values, location, income and education, as well as reading habits and social media apps of your audience and how often they check their email. Do they subscribe to newsletters or enjoy reading blogs? Do they donate to certain nonprofit organizations with whom you could form a partnership? You need to get an idea of who your potential customers are before you start searching for them.
Furthermore, what interests your buyer online? Specifically, what do they tend to search for on the internet? Are they looking to be educated, entertained or a bit of both? If you already have a group of loyal, satisfied customers, they are a terrific starting point. What kinds of communities are they plugged into? Reddit, forums and blogs are excellent places to browse related topics to your product or brand. From those groups could sprout atypical complaints, as well as needs and values, all important factors to consider when the time comes to speak to those types of customers directly.
Channeling Your Content Marketing To Your Potential Customers
Now that you’ve stitched a scarecrow model of your typical buyer, follow a similar process for your scarecrow’s brand. First, put yourself in the same cornfield as your potential customer’s carefully dressed and well-researched persona. Second, through the eyes of your scarecrow, look at yourself. How did you put together your name, logo and slogan? Upon first sight of your brand, what do you imagine your customers will think and feel?
Next, consider the mediums through which you will speak to your scarecrow persona. Whether it’s newsletters, blog posts, media pitching, social media or influencer partnerships, you should write and design every piece of content as if it’s the start of a conversation. But to increase your brand’s chances of forming deeper connections that elicit responses to your content marketing, you can’t simply speak directly to the potential customer’s attributes you carefully researched.
Imagine an ice cream company’s social media post written as, “This is for all mothers between the ages of 24 and 40 who exercise frequently, work on a farm, live in Kansas, watch Netflix and eat locally produced ice cream.” Blandly listing the characteristics of your audience is devoid of emotion and offers little to no entertainment. A reader might be surprised by the specific criteria you matched to them, but the appeal is lost without a purposeful strum of the heart strings. To ensure your recent brainpowered content marketing plan bears new fruit, you’ll need to team up with the Tin Man’s helpful heart.
Using your business brain, you’ve studied what your average customer looks like and cares about. You could say we’ve pontificated upon their heart’s desires and how your product could hopefully satisfy those wants and needs.
Tin Man: Connect To Your Potential Customers With The Heart
Equipped with the wealth of information you collected in the first brain act of our story, you can begin to leverage your audience’s values in every conversation you have with them. Potential customers with any head and heart, however, can recognize when your brand sounds artificial. Once you correctly identify the core reason why you created your Tin Man business, then you can avoid clunky customer interactions and begin to foster meaningful relationships with your customers.
Share Your “Why” With Potential Customers
Aside from the personal benefits that come with running your own business, why did you create your company? According to Simon Sinek, author of the book “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action,” you should go deeper than asking how your company can provide benefits to its potential customers, whether it’s lower prices or higher-quality products – you need to ask why. Sinek shares that “ … the inspired leaders, the inspired organizations … all think, act and communicate from the inside out. … The goal is not just to sell to people who need what you have; the goal is to sell to people who believe what you believe.”
What belief compelled you to start this company? How does your product embody that belief? If needed, have a heart to heart with a mentor to help draw out the foundational purpose behind your brand. Once you do, boldly share it with both new and loyal customers. The ones who connect with your brand’s central tenet will form its community.
Make Predictions About Potential Customers And Listen For Their Response
After articulating the central belief behind your company, you’ll need to share it in more than one form. Imagine a curious potential customer tapping a button on your branded Tin Man that responds with your belief, only it’s the same sentence with every tap of the button. Not so special after the first time. This scenario may seem obvious to any human with a heartbeat, but this exercise in empathy should extend to your entire content marketing strategy. The same content and messaging is frankly boring.
To spark creativity, ask yourself where else in life does your “why” manifest? How else can you present the same core message? Videos, images, animations, interviews, influencer reviews and newsletters are only some of the mediums through which to express your brand’s message in infinite ways.
After planning your marketing content with your audience in mind, listen to their reactions once they see it. Perhaps you installed a few more buttons on your Tin Man, but if you don’t listen to the negative customer feedback about one of the buttons, your audience will deem the Tin Man unresponsive and uncaring. In sum, the Tin Man brand that tries to predict how its audience will react to its creative content and then carefully listens and adapts to its feedback is a Tin Man brand sure to stay relevant.
It’s possible the thought of opening your heart vicariously through your brand is accompanied by the fear of rejection. That’s why it’s essential to continue your journey down the yellow brick road with a strong helping of a lion’s courage.
Lion: A Courageous Voice Is The Bridge Between Your Why And Your Potential Customers
Trekking through dark, forested portions of your journey with challenges, lions, tigers and bears lurking in the shadows will require a heavy supply of courage to overcome every obstacle that leaps onto the content marketing path.
From the first day that your house of a business falls from the sky, smashes onto the scene and crushes the Wicked Witch of the East (competitors), setbacks large and small will always be present. When it comes to content marketing and projecting your brand’s voice to an Emerald City of potential customers, you always run the risk of being turned away at the gate. Along your content marketing journey, you may be bombarded by flying monkey internet trolls and deterred by the Wicked Witch of the West (more competitors) yearning for your ruby red slippers of a product.
All this being said, fear of a negative outcome during any step of the business road is natural. Despite potential failure, it’s the Lion’s courage that propels you forward. Our Wizard of Oz tale can’t go fully in depth to every obstacle you might encounter, so we chose one flying monkey of a situation to delve into where courage is a necessity.
Controversial Topics In Your Content Marketing Strategy
For businesses implementing their content marketing strategy on social media, realize that it’s a social space first. This is where seemingly infinite topics can be discussed and shared, including controversial issues. After doing your brain-powered investigation of the facts and various viewpoints and reviewing your brand’s values, you might find a perfect opportunity to muster up your courage and assert your brand’s stance on a trending topic. This is where having a PR specialist on your team will come in handy, but in general, holding a position on a debatable subject can bring thoughtful discussion into your community.
More traffic brings more brand awareness to potential customers. You should expect some disagreement regarding a hot topic, but that will just provide a new opportunity to display your brand’s willingness to listen, openness to new ideas and kindhearted responses. The real test of courage during your content marketing journey comes when the flying monkeys and Wicked Witches swoop in to verbally attack your brand. They may provoke fear and anger within or toward your community, but sticking to your brand’s voice, respectfully responding and reporting or blocking malicious content will ensure your brand’s integrity remains intact.
Courage In Every Content Marketing Journey
Entrepreneurs will require varying degrees of courage depending on their experience and situation. If it’s your first skip on the yellow brick road, courageously trot forth through every twist and turn into the unknown. For well-seasoned adventurers, it may come as a surprise when your repeat journey looks much different than the first venture. It is a magical business world of Oz where the landscape changes constantly.
All of this is to say that every step on the yellow brick road of your brand’s journey will be laden with surprises. Each step forward or around is a practice in courage.
After Your Content Marketing Journey, Remember There’s No Place Like Home
Along your magical content marketing journey full of ups and downs, you’ve made a few partnerships, dodged a few flying monkeys and hopefully you found an Emerald City of potential customers who love your product and your brand’s core values. Achieving your marketing goals in this period of time required plenty of brainstorming, heartfelt authenticity and courage to connect with your new buyers. After all is said and done, it’s time to return home. What is home for your brand? Home is sharing relevant information and rewards with the respective parties who supported your business on its content marketing journey. Furthermore, home is remaining true to your brand’s root voice over the course of your business’s growth.
Celebrate Your Content Marketing Results
After a tremendous content marketing campaign, it’s time to tell your story as Dorothy did when she returned home to Kansas. Now it’s time to share the results with business partners, employees and even your customers. With partners, it might mean sharing the analytics reports, profits and lessons learned; be sure to thank them for assisting you when the Wicked Witch was closing in. For your content writers, graphic designers and managers, it should be time to revel in the results and reward them for all their hard work. As for your audience, it might mean creating a loyalty rewards program for early adopters and fostering discussion amongst your new, larger community. Your adventure required a group effort, so be sure to appropriately reward the people who contributed to the success of your content marketing efforts.
Consistent Brand Voice When Reaching Potential Customers
Hopefully you’re satisfied with your content marketing campaign’s results, but like any ambitious business would decide, it’s time to begin another adventure in the land of Oz. Your industry landscape and yellow brick road is undoubtedly changing constantly, and so should your content marketing strategy. Year after year, your business needs to stay relevant and responsive to its current and potential customers. But as stated before, although your presentation style might change, your brand’s core belief should never fade from customer perception. This is your farm in Kansas and your adorable Toto. Remember the lessons taught to you by the brainy Scarecrow, the heartful Tin Man and the courageous Lion as you venture over the rainbow each year, and keep in mind that there’s no place like home.