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April 2014

Effort Results in Action: How Content Marketing and a First Date are Alike and What You’re Doing Wrong

hot air balloon

Think of every new prospect as a first date: you don’t want to scare them off; you want them to stick around and keep coming back. Unfortunately, like going on your first date, that is a lot of pressure and sometimes you come on too strong and they go running. Word of advice, don’t continue to run after them. No one likes a clingy date. Instead, take a step back and reevaluate your tactics. Fortunately in regards to content marketing it’s an easy fix, as for dating… you’re on your own.

You want your customer to feel comfortable— give them straightforward answers that leave no room for confusion. You have to know what you want before you can ask someone else for something in return. The experience your prospects have with your content is their first impression of you. The goal is to connect with them, give them something that they want to come back for. Below are four reasons your prospects aren’t becoming customers, and how you can change that.

You’re Not Fooling Anyone
When you first meet someone, you want to learn about their interests, hobbies, what kind of person they are. We are in search of someone genuine and looking for a lasting relationship (well, most of the time anyway.) The same goes for content marketing. When you put something out for prospects you want it to be real. Why is what you’re offering the best for them, is it worth coming back for? 90% of consumers find custom content useful and 78% believe that organizations providing custom content are interested in building good relationships with them. When you create something custom its shows that you are in it for the long haul. Who wants to be a part of something where the other half only gives their minimum effort? Tailor your content to your business specifically. Ensure when they are visiting your site, they know exactly who you are, that you are dedicated to them as a customer, and it is clear what exactly you want them to do. It’s easy to create something generic that will get the job done. But no one just wants to get the job done. If you put in effort and show that you are dedicated, it will go a long way. After all, nothing worth having comes easy.

Too Much Too Soon
One of the biggest mistakes is asking too much too soon from your prospects. The idea of asking for a hand in marriage on the first date would seem laughable and ridiculous for most. When it comes to business, it is no different. Your prospects are immediately turned off when the first interaction is you in their faces demanding their business NOW. It doesn’t work that way, and it shouldn’t. You need to do some work, and a little nurturing first, to be able to earn their loyalty.

No Direction
Quit sending out mixed signals. Be proud of your call-to-actions, and making it as clear as you can. This is not a game, contrary to popular belief. We fall for the coy, and mysterious and sometimes it can be fun. But, let’s be real, it gets old. And it gets old fast. From web pages, to websites, many fail to provide clear directions to its prospects. They have a lot of other things they are concerned with, and trying to navigate through your maze of a webpage is not at the top of their to do list. In all honesty, it never even made it on to the list. First impressions are everything. When your content offers nothing but confusion, and time to be wasted, that prospect has already left your page and is on to the next one. Check please!

Quit the Babble and Be Personable
We’ve all had this date— the one who NEVER stops talking, throwing in the same five-dollar word every few minutes in attempt to impress you. This jargon is a facade, and they see right through it. Mentally, they’ve checked out about 10 minutes ago, and what you’re giving them is doing nothing for them, or for you. There is a time and place for buzzwords like “infrastructure,” such as on pages describing the product, or in the data sheets. The wrong place is when you are talking to a prospect. Focus on being personable, and real, and stop relying on what you think is impressionable babble that really isn’t helping anyone. People don’t want to be talked at. So put a cap on it and listen to your prospects.

Too many of the first dates become apparent right away that they will indeed be the last one as well. You put what you have to offer out on the line and see if it’s something worth pursuing. After so many first date fails it becomes monotonous. It’s the same thing over and over, and by the end you’re just trying to keep your head afloat to make it to the end of the date. The content you are putting out to your prospects follows the same rules. An overwhelming amount of content out in the world is confusing, pushy, needy, demanding, and not enough about creating a solid foundation to make a lasting partnership, and converting these “prospects” into actual returning customers. If you present your content in a concise clear manner, that is personable, the retention rate of prospects, and customers is sure to improve greatly. 95% of content marketers agree that offering a good user experience just makes sense, and we can’t disagree with that.

That being said, you have to put in the effort to get some action.