By Tim Grey
Here at TSBC we specialize in content. The kind of content that not only makes your customers sit up and listen, but also makes them think â€śHold on a secâ€™, these chaps are all right.â€ť
Itâ€™s what we do for banks, government agencies and technology companies the world over, but also for an expanding and ever diversifying group of industries that all sell to small businesses.
The important word there is â€śsellâ€ť, but not for the reason youâ€™d think. Selling is exactly what we donâ€™t do, and weâ€™re very proud of that. In fact, the less we â€śsellâ€ť and the less dependent our clients become on selling, the happier we are. Not that weâ€™d boast about it or anything, because that would be dangerously close to selling.
â€śWhy, thatâ€™s a funny way of doing business!â€ť you might exclaim. Especially if your KPIs are currently swan diving from the nearest open window and your sales manager is about to throw a stapler at you.
Content marketing is often seen as the yin to salesâ€™ yang, but there is in fact nothing opposite about it. Content marketing is simply the practice of dropping the hard sell in favor of providing engaging, entertaining and relevant online content to attract customers before theyâ€™re actually presented with the products and, you know, sold to.
It all sounds a bit like that pot plant in The Little Shop of Horrors, but itâ€™s actually more like a romantic dinner for two rather than a terrifying dinner for one. Which, letâ€™s face it, can sometimes be the customer experience with sales.
With content marketing, you build a relationship based on trust and shared values via blogs, articles, videos, interactive games, or anything you can stick on your sites that says, â€śI see your pain points and, dude, I understand.â€ť
You keep offering this content on a frequent and regular basis, and before you know it, youâ€™re the place where itâ€™s easier and â€“ dare your customers say it â€“ more pleasurable to do business.
Content marketing isnâ€™t new. Weâ€™ve been helping business-facing service providers do it since the days when everyone was worried about things like the Y2K bug and Dolly the sheep.
But now, for the first time, someoneâ€™s analyzed the ROI of content marketing to show that itâ€™s actually, unarguably, doing the business. Which, of course, is something weâ€™ve been saying for years, but itâ€™s just nice to see someone stick it on a slide and stuff it under a microscope, and do all that boring academic stuff for us so we donâ€™t have to. More time away from focusing on the content, you see.
Anyway, thereâ€™s a free white paper widely available (I found it on Matthew Stibbeâ€™s excellent Bad Language blog) that makes for some compelling reading as it compares content marketingâ€™s bang-for-buck with paid search marketing.
So check it out, and if you agree with its findings and you want to join companies like HSBC, Microsoft and National Australia Bank, give us a call.
But if you do, just do me a favor and donâ€™t tell them I sold you anything. Wouldnâ€™t be a good look.