“Courtship consists in a number of quiet attentions, not so pointed as to alarm, nor so vague as not to be understood” ~ Laurence Sterne
Like courting a love interest, your content needs to show prospects you’re interested in more than just a quick sale. If you initiate conversation by talking about yourself and how great you are, you most likely won’t even get to a first date.
It is the same with your content. Bragging about your other business relationships, the size of your company, or the performance of your products will repel potential prospects away from you—not toward you.
But if you offer relevant, worthwhile content that focuses on their goals, priorities, interests, and “hot button” issues, you’ll:
- Show that you “get them” and care about what they are interested in or concerned about, which will build trust
- Increase your odds that they’ll want to interact with you and learn more about your company, giving you opportunities to offer solutions that meet their needs and solve their problems.
Keep in mind, however, that even if you get their attention, it doesn’t mean engagement is a sure thing.
Thanks to technology and the internet, prospects can spend more time flirting and casually consorting with other collaborators to find their “perfect partner.”
The important thing to remember is that in business and in life sustainable relationships are based on trust.
Establishing trust in content marketing requires creating reliable, nurturing, prospect-focused information that is committed to offering value—no strings attached.
Let’s size-up three ways your smooth marketing moves can enhance your connections with prospects and increase their interest in you:
1. Always remember that you are marketing to people.
Your content needs to appeal to the business and personal wants, needs, and frustrations of your prospect.
A useful approach is to ask yourself, what effect your solution will have on your prospects’ professional role within the company? On their personal life?
You intimately know what your company is all about and what makes your products special. But your prospects don’t have that same interest in your company.
That is why—if you’re serious about your prospect and establishing a long-term engagement with them— you need to learn about what matters to them.
One way to achieve this is to sit down with a few members of the sales team to get their perspectives. Sales’ consistent, face-to-face and phone interactions with decision-makers can provide marketing with invaluable insight into the business situations prospects face—and even what their personal lives are like.
You may learn, for instance, that prospects in your target industry niche are stressed over a new regulation that will add a lot more work to their plate, causing them to work longer hours, and spend less time with their families.
Or that resolving an issue—that your company’s product has the ability to solve—has become top priority. Not only that, the outcome could mean career advancement, or even job loss, for your decision-making prospects.
Tuning in to factors that affect your prospects’ professional and personal situation will allow you to communicate more relevantly, develop credibility, and increase engagement.
2.Keep your intentions pure.
Prospects are inundated with vendors who, at first glance, seem to have good intentions. But as they move closer to them, they soon realize that it was only skin deep. The vendor’s real intent was to pitch a sale. This hurts a company’s reputation and engagement potential.
When you share resources, insights, and expertise with your prospects—with no overt self-motivation—they’ll see you as a potential partner whose intentions are honest and helpful.
A great way to do this by offering edu-marketing content (articles, Case Studies, White Papers, etc.) that relates to your perfect prospects’ problem, and offers solutions—even if the solutions are not directly related to your products or services.
For example, your company manufactures medical equipment and you learn from the sales team that prospects are concerned with new, complex restrictions to venture capital funding. Your company could produce an educational article addressing the background of the new regulation and how it affects the industry as a whole.
You could then host a related webinar with a subject matter expert who could help them navigate the funding requirements.
While venture capital funding would indirectly mean more medical equipment to manufacture, the content demonstrates that you pay attention to challenges your prospects confront and are interested in helping them find resolutions.
The more prospects trust that your intentions are to build a problem-solving relationship and help them achieve success, the more attracted they’ll be to you and want to engage with you.
3. Nurture, nurture, nurture.
Let’s say you’ve taken the time to genuinely learn about your perfect prospect, what issues they deal with, what keeps them up at night, and what problems they’d love to have solved yesterday.
And let’s say you’ve also kept your content focused on speaking to those issues, concerns, perceptions, and problems and have offered potential solutions to make their life easier, with no blatant or veiled sales pitch.
Now it’s time to do that again, and again, and again.
Most B2B buying cycles take months, if not years, so until a company decides they have a need and are interested in finding a solution to that need, you’re just another pretty face in the crowd.
But when they are ready, you want to be the first company they think of to partner with.
Embracing content that takes your prospects’ professional and personal needs to heart can establish a magnetic attraction that leads to long-term engagement and, ultimately, a buying partnership.