COLIBRI was in a bar recently with a friend (celebrating her birthday, in fact), and she started talking marketing with a business owner from Montréal. As the conversation continued, he asked her what she did for a living. She said, “content marketing.” And he said, “what’s that?”
The rest of the conversation went like this:
“Well,” COLIBRI replied, “It’s online marketing that is all about providing real value to potential clients. You know, things that really make a difference for people, solve their problems or help them figure out how to do something. Not fluff. Real value.”
She told him she wouldn’t be in marketing if she couldn’t provide real value.
He asked, “So, if Coca-Cola offered you a million bucks to do a social media campaign, you would turn them down?”
COLIBRI answered, “I would have to, Coca-Cola is an unhealthy product with unhealthy business practices.”
The gentleman from Canada looked at COLIBRI’s friend, sitting on the bar stool next to her, and asked, “Do you believe her?”
Without hesitation, COLIBRI’s loyal friend said, “Absolutely.”
And that was that.
COLIBRI knows you are done having ads blasted at you. You are busy and your time is valuable. As true as this is for you, it is also true for your clients. And that is why values-based marketing is growing so rapidly. It provides real value to valuable people like you and your clients.
What, exactly, is values-based marketing?
Values-based, content, inbound and permission (thank you, Mr. Godin) marketing, are all terms that refer to attracting potential customers by offering them truly useful blog posts, how-to’s, white papers, videos, tutorials, articles or infographics. The only limits are whether they can be found on the web and your own creativity.
This type of marketing is in the process of replacing traditional marketing, which is also called outbound marketing. This includes advertisements, billboards and other materials that are self-promotional without actually solving anyone’s problems or addressing anyone’s needs.
Values-based marketing takes these methods a step further. Not only does COLIBRI want to create top quality content and make the web a beautiful and functional space, but she wants to make the beautiful planet she lives on a place where everyone has access to clean air, food, water, shelter and education as well as health and safety.
She wants to leave the planet at least a little better than she found it.
COLIBRI knows that many organizational leaders want to make a difference in the world while making a living. COLIBRI admires you and COLIBRI is with you 100%.
Here are 10 tips for providing value & making a difference:
- Discover. Whether you call them customers, patients or clients, find out everything you can about who they are and where they live, online and off. Remember, these are people first, clients second.
- Listen. Find out what your potential clients really need, and provide it to them. When they have problems and pain, listen to them. If they have complaints, suggestions or groovy new ideas about your product or services, pay attention. Listening is sexy. Sex sells.
- Create. Your clients have problems they need to solve. Provide them with high quality content based on what you know about them and their needs.
- Be consistent. Have a production schedule you can stick to. People will read your content more reliably if they know when it’s coming.
- Explore. Find out how often and even what times of day the people who need your solutions are online and where their online channels are. Not everyone uses Twitter, not everyone likes Facebook. Some people draw the line at LinkedIn.
- Be findable. Develop your brand consistently and optimize your content through key word searches.
- Develop relationships. The social web is a place to create and maintain relationships. Some people say it’s the biggest cocktail party ever invented. Think of your customers as relationships. You know how you like to be treated. Go one step further and treat your customers as you have learned they like to be treated. Be kind. Be considerate.
- Be patient. Values-based marketing takes time. Understand that while providing real value and making a difference in the world both take time, it is worth the effort. As your efforts start translating into attracting customers and solving real world problems, you will feel a sense of well-being like none other.
- Iterate. COLIBRI prefers iteration to failure, but a lot has been said on the web lately about the importance of failure. Take risks, make mistakes and keep going.
- Be organized. Think of your values-based marketing efforts in terms of production. Assemble your tools, create your schedules and get going.
If COLIBRI can do it, so can you!
Values-based marketing is a way of life. What about you? What’s important to you and how does your business reflect your values?