Give away your best ideas. All of them.
It goes against everything you were taught in your fancy business school. You know, the school were everyone is wearing smoking jackets and fancy monocles? (I didn’t go to business school, so I’m just assuming that’s how everyone dresses.)
Conventional wisdom says that you should keep all of your best ideas to yourself and not share them with potential customers until they become paying clients. Maybe you’ve been burned before by spending tons of time with a potential client showing them exactly what you do and how you do it… only to have them not use your product or service (or worse, they took your information and did it themselves, or even worse they hired your competition instead).
When someone takes something from you (your ideas or expertise) and doesn’t pay you, it feels like they’ve stolen from you. It feels like you’ve been taken advantage of.
Shift your mindset. Change the way you think about marketing. You’re already amazing and generous in how you do what you do, now be generous in your marketing. You’ll be giving away your best ideas with the HOPE that potential customers will take from you. Because they trust you.
Be THE Expert Your Customers are Seeking Out
Customers are smarter than they’ve ever been. Before they ever give you the opportunity to sell to them, they’ve taken the time to educate themselves. They’re spending time learning about your product, your service, and you. They know what they want to buy, how much it should cost, and how you are going to sell it to them.
Many business owners are freaking out that their customers are so well educated about their product or service. Especially when they’re educated about that product or service…. poorly (meaning they’ve gotten their information from a source that isn’t credible or flat our wrong). Are you spending time in the sales process “re-educating” your clients about your product or service? The internet has made anyone and everyone an expert. We click on the “top ten things you should know before you remodel your kitchen,” not paying any attention to who wrote the article or whether or not they’re actually an expert.
Let’s go with that example of remodeling a kitchen, and let’s say you’re the kitchen remodeler. Make a video on how to best install a backsplash. What are the tips that only you know? Teach ME how to do it. Show me exactly where you buy your materials. Why you use the grout you do? Which tools work and which ones don’t? Here’s what will happen: You will lose some business. People will do it themselves. But, when the project gets too big, or they don’t realize the time investment, or they screw up something…. they’re going to call the charming guy in the backsplash video and have him step in to take over. Or better yet, your video will show off your generosity and they’ll just call you first.
Now they know exactly how long it’ll take, what kind of mess will be expected, and what the average cost is for the project. When you come over, the sales process will sound more like this: “What day do you want me to start? OK, sign here.”
How many times have you felt rushed in a sales meeting…. just trying to push all of the different bullet points of your pitch? Giving away your ideas serves SO many functions. First, it puts you on a pedestal as an expert in your field. Second, Google LOVES content. Video, blogs, Podcasts, Photos, etc. GOOGLE LOVES CONTENT (sorry, I don’t think I can say that enough). So you’re going to show up much higher in the search engines. Third (but certainly not last) is that you should dramatically cut down your sales time. Potential customers will become mini-experts in their own right…. so the sale should be more order taking, less selling, freeing you up to do what you do best.
Notice that you didn’t spend a dime on THIS article. I usually spend hours with a business owner explaining this concept in detail, mapping out a plan to build and grow their business through content marketing. But we also practice what we preach. We want to help as many businesses as we can, whether they use our content marketing services or not. So we continue to post our best ideas here in our blog, on our podcast and our video blogs. We hope that business owners will see the value in having a full-time, experienced content marketing firm help them grow their business. Maybe as a business owner you tried creating unique, fun and clever content on your own and fell short once you saw how much effort it takes to be effective. We’d be honored to have the opportunity to help you be more CLEVER in your marketing.