Of late, it seems that everywhere you read in business publications all you see are articles after articles discussing “content marketing;” but, no one is saying exactly what that is. To be sure, these authors are writing pretty lofty articles and they sure get one psyched up to go out and conquer, but little else is provided. Until you understand what exactly content marketing is, you will have a difficult time becoming a patient magnet!
From a reader’s prospective, who may not be a marketing professional, but rather the business owner who is very interested in improving their marketing results, it is the business equivalent of buying a burger without the meat!
It’s like a business version of the Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on first routine;” everyone speaks in circles and no definite answer is ever given. However, in this case, it’s not funny because we are dealing with real advertising dollars and jobs are at stake!
When discussing the topic of client targeting, content is everything! But what is content marketing? The best and most concise explanation that I have come across came from Robert Rose when he wrote “Traditional marketing and advertising is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content Marketing is showing the world that you are one.“
With all this in mind, I would like to draw your attention to a recent and exceptional article that was written on the very topic. The most important take away is that, when it comes to audience targeting, don’t look for shortcuts for becoming a patient magnet. Columnist Rebecca Lieb writing for Marketingland.com, explains in here excellent piece, called “Content Marketing And Targeting Fallacies,” how to tackle it the right way without skipping some essential steps.
Ms. Lieb says that when she conducted a substantive survey of marketers and asked them what their biggest content marketing needs were, two responses tied for first place. The first was measurement (ie. measuring the most obvious content marketing goals, such as ROI, or increased sales, leads and conversions. Then, dig deeper and learn more about some of the less obvious content marketing benefits, as well as to uncover best practices for establishing content and putting processes into place to measure success), which she has written about extensively, both here and in subsequent research.
The other pain point is somewhat less discussed: audience and targeting.
This phase of content strategy is threefold: first, identifying the right audience of products and influencers that are appropriate to the product or service produced by your business. Second and third, creating and publishing the right content in the right channels to reach those defined targets.
Small wonder, then, that audience targeting is one of marketers’ top needs, given it’s a three-part process. Therefore, if the work I’m conducting with clients is any indicator (not to mention the conversations conducted with marketers at conferences worldwide), a primary reason why audience targeting is so difficult is a widespread refusal to take the time to develop personas.
Instead, far too many organizations are targeting not only content, but also advertising and social media messaging, to a single monolithic über-persona who by definition is not a persona (or a person, for that matter) at all.
Direct Response advertising studies have shown us that up to 95% of all ads are written to target only 5% of the intended audience it hopes to convert to prospect status.
Therefore, marketing professionals must understand whom they are targeting as a desired audience of their advertising message. This is a skill that every practice owners can learn; after all, this is something successful entrepreneurs are doing anyway (and, it’s called gaining a competitive advantage)!
Regarding your audience, the richest pool of new business is gathered from people who have already used the services you provide! The people who believe in, swear by, and continually use and refer others to your services account for the largest source of annual receipts. Many major advertising studies indicate that this pool accounts for nearly 95% of all services sold annually.
As such, this group of prospects, that has used your service before, accounts for such depth, that it doesn’t make much sense to focus your advertising efforts in any place other than this rich pool in order to attract them.
Plus, if you’re going after your competitors’ clients, your chances for success increase for two important reasons:
That simple understanding of whom you are targeting gives you a competitive advantage!
In order to position your firm or practice to gain a strategic advantage, it is important to grasp the reality that anyone, and everyone, who has already bought the services, similar to the ones you offer, makes up the deepest pool of potential new clients and patients for you!