Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Is It Advertising or Content that’s Driving Customer Engagement?

Customers look (consciously or sub-consciously) for validation of company success before trusting them enough to click or try.  This was traditionally bought through advertising.  Remember the old saying that to make money you have to spend money?  Applies here.

However, in an age of scams, online fraud, brutal customer service, and cheap advertising, how can you or I trust a new company just because they have an ad?  We don’t simply look for proof of their big ad spends like we did back in the day: “I’ve seen their bus ads, heard their radio spots, and seen that flashy TV commercial; they must be successful to have that kinda dough!”

These days, if you see an ad then look up the company online just to see an archaic website, zero conversations nor points of expertise (blogs, articles, interviews, etc) then I’d ask myself, “Are they real – and what are they trying to hide?”

The credentials in this day and age have moved from awareness to content & conversation.

I’m not against advertising.  After all, Balance Marketing covers all your bases.  I’m just saying that you need to put your money where your mouth is – literally!  Invest in content marketing: words and thoughts from your perspective.  This means having something to talk about.  If you have a new product, mobile app, improved feature, funny executive interview, customer photos, or just insight, post it and post it now – before your competitor beats you to it.

This doesn’t have to be a huge company overhaul, new business plan, and hit to your budget – just get a part-time writer or social media junky to speak your language or teach your team the culture online.  Here are some easy steps to get you started today:

  • write out who your customers are (and please don’t tell me that you want to reach ‘everyone’ online – improbable unless you’re Google)
  • use industry-specific tricks and tips (e.g. if your customers ‘shop’ for your product/service: How Social Commerce Works: The Social Psychology of Social Shopping)
  • decide on the mediums you need to use, based on who your customers are, and yes these involve Facebook, Pinterest, Yelp, Flickr, and more
  • put together a publishing schedule by setting out some time to consistently have an online presence – can be as simple as this: Monday post a picture on Facebook, Tuesday Tweet about some upcoming industry events relative to my customers, Wednesday do some research for a blog about trends in our market/county/city…

By ‘consistently have an online presence’ I mean be there, for real, in person.  I once heard  (and will paraphrase here with apologies to the original author) that having a Twitter account and not using it is like dropping off a cardboard cutting of yourself at a party, leaving, then saying ‘I’m at the party!”

Have a drink, make small talk, chat about what you’re up to and BE AT THE PARTY!

If your customers see you advertised, then see that you’re real and contributing to the conversation, they’ll eventually become a powerful ally.  Putting your money where your moth is will drive true customer engagement.


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