What would you rather open: an e-newsletter from your electricity provider or a handwritten letter from a friend?
Who would you rather get a text from: the sales rep at the electronics store or an old classmate from high school?
While befriending and penning letters (or texts) to individual customers might not be feasible, the principle is this:
People want to hear from people.
No one wants to talk to a company. Customers don't want a sales pitch. They want their problems solved. And the best way to know what they want to hear about is to ask them (or have them ask you).
The Marcus Sheridan approach is: “They Ask, You Answer”
Marcus was working for River Pools and Spas with two friends when the 2008 financial crisis hit. To keep the business going, he started answering customer questions through YouTube and on the company blog.
Customers asked questions like: “I’ve been hearing that fiberglass pools have all sorts of problems and issues. So what are the problems and issues?” And so Marcus wrote a brutally honest blog post about the problems with fiberglass pools, alongside many other articles.
Through analytics, he saw that over time, a minimum of $1.7 million in sales could be tracked back to a single article.
This approach saved the business and generated millions in new revenue. It led Marcus to share his successes through his book They Ask, You Answer, which was ranked by Forbes on 11 Marketing Books Every CMO Should Read.
Marketing at its best is high-quality storytelling.
Not exclusively with sales or SEO in mind, because customers are more intelligent than that. Instead, real people at your company share their honest opinions on the real questions in customers’ minds.
And if you don't know what those questions are? Ask. Or make it easy for them to ask you.