In today’s episode we look at how to start a conversation with your customer using content.
If you think your content is scaring away customers too soon, watch the show below:
Every time you publish content you are potentially starting a conversation with a future customer.
But as we’ve seen in the video, making small talk can be tricky.
If you don’t say anything relevant (or say anything at all) you’re never going to build a relationship. But if you push for the sale too soon, you might scare away potential customers.
So you want to create content marketing materials that open the possibility of future conversations.
In Daniel H. Pink’s book “To Sell is Human” he mentions a study on Hollywood film pitches. The most successful ones were the ones that gently pulled in the other party. He writes:
The purpose of a pitch isn’t necessarily to move others immediately to adopt your idea. The purpose is to offer something so compelling that it beings a conversation... – Daniel H. Pink ~ To Sell Is Human.
Which is exactly what you want to do with the content you publish.
What topics make great ‘starter conversations?
Let’s dive back into your customer profile.
In this document you’ve spent time pulling together information about your customer. There is a wealth of possible subjects you could pull out for starter conversations, but here are 3 to get you started:
1: What’s their problem?
First up, you can create compelling content around the problem your customers has.
For example. Let’s say you are a personal trainer and you want to build up your private clients. Looking at your current clients you know that they tend to have the following problems:
- They want to get fit but have little willpower
- They think exercise is boring / painful
- They don’t know how to fit exercise into their day
- They’re embarrassed to go to a gym
- They hate going to a gym and prefer the outdoors
Those would be pretty easy for our fitness instructor to list and each one makes a great ‘starter conversation’ blog post if you turn it into a “how to…” or “how do you…?” format:
How to get fit in 4 weeks – no willpower required
How do you replicate a gym workout… outdoors without equipment?
Remember, we’re not pushing the product yet, so your blog post isn’t all about the serviceyou offer (though you could link to it at the end). Instead you would focus on tips readers can use to overcome a lack of will power, or show them a simple workout routine they could complete in a park.
Next up we have:
2: Why is it important to solve this problem?
Another area that makes great content to start a conversation is to understand why it’s important for your customer to solve their problem.
In the above example, our personal trainer might find reasons such as:
- They want to look good at their next family reunion
- They hate being sluggish and unfit
- They’re overcoming a health issue
- They’re training for an event
I’m certain that with your own customer you can list dozens of reasons why it’s important for them to get the results you can offer. Once again, we can take these subjects and turn them into useful blog posts:
Need to ‘Wow’ Crowds at a Red Carpet Event? Follow This 6-Week Plan
The 15 Minute Work Out To Raise Your Energy Levels
The Exercises You Need to Know When Training for a Triathlon
These are all compelling subject areas that we can use to get our customer’s attention, and by offering valuable advice, you’re building trust and credibility by proving you’re an expert in your field at the same time.
Finally, we have:
3: What questions do they have about you?
I’ve written previously about how answering questions is an excellent way to generate compelling content topics. But it’s worth looking at again.
The previous 2 sections consider the problem our customer has and why they want to solve it, but what if what’s standing in the way of them being a customer are unanswered questions?
Specifically they might have questions about using a service like yours. I love talking to clients about this because it takes minutes to list the questions and it’s usually a topic that’s been overlooked in previous content creation.
Yet the questions your customer has are probably what they’re typing into Google… For example:
How do you choose a good personal trainer?
What’s the price difference between a personal trainer and gym membership?
What results can a personal trainer get me?
How does it work when you hire a personal trainer?
Whether you design web sites, offer life-coaching or sell software, you can guarantee that potential customers have questions about working with you. This is a gentle way to talk about the service you offer without focusing on the sale.
Remember in the video how our executive was turned off by the idea of ‘hiring’ a web designer, but was happy to ask for tips and advice?
That’s because the second option was low-pressure and high value which is exactly how you should use your content to open the door to further conversations and future sales.
Now it’s over to you – what do you think makes a good conversation-starter with potential customers? Let me know in the comments below.