Standard or generic content sometimes has its place, but there should be as little of it as possible in use in your content marketing plan. You would never present the exact same generic proposal for each client without tailoring it to their circumstances (hopefully). Just as a highly customized proposal helps you build rapport with a potential client and increases the likelihood of a successful acquisition, your content should foster a personal relationship with your lead. There are a few types of content you can use, even on a larger scale, that creates the impression of a personal, one-on-one relationship.
Have you ever been to a progressive dinner? The concept is that you meet with a group and visit a series of designated houses, working your way through appetizers and drinks, dinner, dessert, coffee, and as many other courses you can manage to squeeze in between. Similarly, progressive content can be used to hold an ongoing conversation with your audience – but in written form. Whether you use a series of blogs to dive into different aspects of a single topic, or craft a series of emails into a drip campaign, progressive content creates a shared experience that draws readers in.
While progressive content can be used to create an experience, there are also other types of content that are experiential by nature: namely webinars and conferences. Webinars create a more personal conversation with your audience because it is usually a small (relatively speaking) group of attendees along with the presenter. You can create opportunities during the webinar for the audience to participate, then open up to questions – usually communicated by participants in the webinar chat. This time of personal interaction is a rare opportunity to meet “live” with your typically digital audience.
Conferences can also be a great opportunity for experiential content. Instead of just having branded flash drives and pens, consider creating an interactive experience that attendees won’t forget. Obviously it depends on your industry and budget, but to stand out, you’ve got to make it fun and memorable, while at the same time making it educational. Consider a mobile app, a virtual or augmented reality experience, interactive giveaways, and utilizing social media at the conference. Use your content to maximize the effect of the personal interactions and relationships you form at conferences.
Both progressive and experiential content is proactive, but this next type of content is reactive. Responsive content is sent after an initial trigger action taken by your lead, and carries with it a unique opportunity for a personal take on customer service.
With call tracking, you can acquire from each caller a name, phone number, and a recording of the call that will tell you what the call was about. These leads can be imported into your CRM, and then you can have your sales person fill in additional information about the lead as they help navigate the call. After the initial contact, you can then add them to an email drip campaign based on their interests in your different solutions, or at least follow up with them if they were having issues to make sure everything was resolved and there are no lingering issues.
Many people turn to social media when things go awry with a company, not to rant, necessarily, but in a desperate attempt to actually reach someone at the company about the issue. An experienced social media manager will reach out to those offering criticism, apologizing for the bad experience and offering to take the conversation elsewhere (usually into a direct message) to resolve it.
It can be difficult to get personal interactions with your leads and customers in our age of mass communication, so it’s important to take control and make those interactions highly intentional and productive, then to cultivate that relationship so it is not lost afterward.