How You Stop Being Wasteful With Your Messages When You Know What Others Want
Becoming efficient at knowing what your audience wants, comes from being present, involved and fully engaged with them.
It is time to stop sending waste.
Waste is the time and effort you expend creating and delivering content, events and messages that do not connect with others.
This article is about how you can make sure that what you’re sending out to your audience has meaning that resonates with them. Where your content efforts are driven by the value you’ll be providing to them rather than what you could gain from them buying from you.
Because in becoming besotted with just closing a sale you lose track of what you need to be doing to best serve your audience and get them behind you.
Something To Share With You
Last month I was at a product launch where being wasteful took centre stage.
I won’t go into detail, but these are the main points that stood out in something that wasn’t created with serving a particular person or group of people in mind but was more “product first, retro-fit to customers second.”
— They laid claim to knowing best
— They dictated what people needed without referring to them
— The language used put a distance between the product and the audience
— The message was generic, centred solely on deliverables not values
— The objective was to sell, not engage with or motivate a community
Everything you see here represents the indulgence of the producer and who failed to look at the customer they were meant to be serving.
Where we are today is, if something’s not genuinely useful, people really won’t care.
Let’s just put the brakes on.
— Just because you have an idea, it doesn’t mean it’s good
— Just because it’s a story, it doesn’t mean it’ll going to draw people in
— Just because you think it’s a fantastic product, it doesn’t mean everyone else will
— Just because you can publish content more easily today, it doesn’t mean it will automatically connect with others
— Just because you get likes, it doesn’t mean they’ll translate into sales
You Are The Media Conference 2019 superstar, Margaret Magnarelli sums this up perfectly when talking about the B2B world by saying, “After all, just as with B2C you’re ultimately talking to another human. And since you’re talking to them about work, you’ll get a lot more traction if you can make it feel like it’s not added work to consume.”
So how do you keep it commercial and serving your purposes, whilst aligning with what your customers are looking for?
Your starting point should be drawing on what others need, rather than you telling them you know best.
When you empower people and get involved, listening to, and responding to them, that’s when things start to move in a positive direction for both of you.
It really helps if you’re prepared to take a walk in your customers’ shoes and get to know them personally.
Here’s what you have to do to deliver a message that allows room for feedback and iteration:
Figure out what people want first.
The reason why You Are The Media is still here after six years is that it’s continually making adjustments to what it offers and how content is delivered.
The biggest change has been the introduction of the new website and the activity that will emanate from it in 2020. The website came about because of the June focus group and my spending time listening to and talking with people who are part of the YATM community. If it wasn’t for the people who engage with YATM, it wouldn’t be here.
Figure out how to get closer to them.
If people trust you, it allows you to lean further in. As an example, tell the story of the people who are using your product/service or those who are a part of the initiative you champion. When you make it easier for others to see themselves working with you, you’re changing your motivation from, “what can I take” to “how can I better connect?”
Make them feel confident.
People step forward to engage with those who are present and show an interest in them. Your audience doesn’t want to engage with a whole host of companies, they want to connect only to those where they feel a sense of belonging that has come about in an organic, unpressured way.
Build a stronger relationship with the people you hope to sell to and serve.
It takes time and energy to form a lasting relationship. The question is not how you get someone to commit and do what you want them to do, but how you help them choose you and then how you support them so that they’re moved to spread the word for you.
Begin with what people already know.
It doesn’t work if you start by reinventing the wheel. One of the toughest things to do is keep everything simple. For instance, YATM has been built around people growing their own space, so people will stick around. Over the years, this has been what’s brought people to YATM, that promise of helping them define and build their own content space that will then power their wider business goals.
From a clear starting point you can modify and make additions to your offering. YATM today is a marketing and media training and learning community.
View asking for and receiving input from your audience as a true sign of being connected to them.
If you can identify what’s important to others, you can then build around and for them. For instance, when talking to the YATM community, one of the most important things to them is being able to create a sense of togetherness and camaraderie in our learning. This is why I’ve decided to step forward with a series of You Are The Media Workshops in 2020.
What Is The Return For You?
You minimise wasteful efforts to deliver your message when your starting point is taking time to know the people you’re serving.
Here are some of the returns I’ve found in my own experience with You Are The Media:
Attention and increased sales.
Over time people feel more comfortable with you and more inclined to join you when they see your content isn’t just tactics delivering on a short lived campaign.
Loyalty and referrals.
As Mark Schaefer says in Marketing Rebellion, “Be fans of your fans, make them the heroes of your story.” When you make others feel the centre of your world and you create for them, you’ll be making friends for life. The position of attracting referrals and having people actively recommending you, i.e. other people doing some of the marketing for you, is a powerful place to be.
Greater competitive advantage and market value.
The stronger the place you build and the people who align themselves with you feel, the more influence you can have.
Expanded engagement and collaboration.
If you can find your allies and identify ways to work with others, where there is a common goal and a shared value, this only makes what you do more robust. This is what makes the sum of your parts even stronger. This is what keeps you relevant.
To deliver something that resonates with others, you have to know what their issues are. You find this out by being prepared to walk in their shoes. And it all becomes so much easier if you get to know them personally.
Plan with one person in mind. Always ask yourself whether they’ll be getting something from what you’re sharing that they didn’t already know. For instance, the You Are The Media Conference wouldn’t work if it was just inspirational business advice as there are TED Talks for that.
Time, money and effort producing something that doesn’t strike a chord is wasteful.
If you’re looking to introduce something new to others and you’ve already built a community around you, they can become your most important litmus test, one that’ll help you save time and reduce risk.
You increase the value you bring to yourself and give to others through being present, involved and fully engaged with your audience.