The Top 5 Rules Of Engagement Marketing
The Internet has blurred the lines in so many corners of the business world that its hard to even start making the list. In the world of marketing – it has evolved and changed things so quickly that the big challenge has become to stay on top of the leading trends and technology, while also trying to maintain a foothold in the mindshare of your target market, audience and industry. Marketing online can quickly become confusing or overwhelming, especially if you’re not focusing on the right things or your messaging is not on point – something I’m safe in saying that most of us have experienced some time in the past.
“Content marketing” is the latest moniker for what SEO firms and agencies are doing lately, however, what really is content marketing? Everything on the internet is content – whether its an email, blog post, news article, video, podcast, profile page, photo, or tweet. What we believe is a better term or positioning for this is “Engagement Marketing.” Engagement marketing is really what marketing is to begin with – engaging with your audience, starting a conversation, creating a relationship, and building trust. Without any level of engagement, your marketing efforts and content is pointless.
With engagement marketing – we see this as being probably one of the most important facets of any online marketing initiative – yet, so many people (yes – firms and agencies included) still miss the boat. You can have all the Facebook fans in the world, but if they are not engaging with your content and not “sharing the story” then it’s a useless waste of time and effort. Case in point – we recently read an article about a content marketing company (of all industries), CopyBlogger, that is closing its Facebook page down for that very reason (Copyblogger.com/bye-facebook/). While they had upwards of 39,000 fans – their engagement was very low and they could no longer justify investing more time and energy there. I cannot tell you why their Facebook page did not work out for them – but I can say it was likely due to a certain lack of something in the top five engagement rules that I outline further below.
Engagement marketing is all about connecting with your audience, the people that you are trying to share the story with. So now, the question becomes – Why do people engage with your article/story/content/whatever? Because is resonates with them and has a crossed a certain level of personal relevancy to them.
Here are our top 5 rules on how to improve your engagement marketing and connecting with your audience:
1) Create a persona of your target person and speak to them, as an individual. Really dig deep on what their interests are and what type of demographic profile they are a part of. How old is the person you will be typically dealing with (generational focus and issues), what do they like to do (personal interests to connect with), where do they live (helps define their social circles), what type of car do they drive (your car is an extension of your personality or what is important to you), what type of activities do they do (experiences help shape how people think), are they married and have kids or are they typically single (what type of family values do they have), and the like.
In building this persona – you are zoning into what is relevant to the people you are trying to connect with and what they find important to them. In addition, you’re creating a common thread which helps break down the barriers to building a relationship and trust. People engage with others, whether they be people, companies, brands, or products, that they like, know, and trust. If they don’t like, know or trust you – the conversation usually ends pretty quickly.
2) Be where they are or will be (in Wayne Gretsky speak – be where the puck will be, not where it has been). Keep in mind that not all venues are created equal. What may be great for some companies, industries, or the like, very well may not be for others (the CopyBlogger example above is a perfect example). Take the time to do some market research and analysis of where your audience hangs out, what they like to do, etc. Building the persona as outlined in the previous section will help you identify with where your audience will be. Facebook, LinkedIn Groups, forums and industry associations are great place to start.
3) Provide compelling content that has value and is well written. Crappy articles or poorly edited content is a real turn-off. Be different and rise above the noise (because there is certainly a ton of noise out there folks). By writing compelling content that has value, feel free to also incorporate pictures, or even a short video that helps tell the story. Infographics are another great way to create content that people gravitate to and share, especially when the data is compelling and the graphics used really help convey the message. Content that is not written well or is wrought with spelling errors is a huge turn-off and will turn people away. In addition, if your content is not unique and just rehashed articles or does not have a logical sequence or flow – it will also be considered low quality and not have the level of engagement you desire.
4) Design your content and story around the persona you designed, not about you and what you offer or are trying to sell. How do they (the reader/audience) benefit, what’s in it for them, and how do they relate to it? Make sure you explain or demonstrate how you can provide benefits to them, how they can eliminate or minimize a problem, or how you can make their life easier. People move towards and engage with people/content that makes them feel good, solves their problems, and makes their life easier, more fun, and happy. The more you can provide these things on a level that is relevant to their persona – the easier it will be to engage with them.
5) Illicit some emotion in the story to get them hooked. You can employ fear based marketing where you solution eliminates their problem or how their problem will persist and get worse without your product or service. Or you can put a more positive message out there that is solution oriented and benefits based. Remember, people gravitate towards things that they like, makes them feel good or happy, or solves a problem for them. Tell a joke, make them laugh, make them sad, show them fear then provide them a solution – do something to stir the pot.
Engaging with your audience is not as hard as you might think or have been told. It just takes some time to do your homework, create a plan, and start to implement it. By following our five tips above – developing your engagement marketing program will be much more effective and make it easier for you to produce positive results. Engagement marketing also requires consistent effort as well as being genuine with your audience, regardless of the type of content you are putting out there.
If you have any questions about your engagement and content marketing strategy, or would like for us to help you design and implement one for your company, please feel free to contact us at any time. Email info[at] scottsdaleseopro.net or call us at 480-499-4269.