I'm going to tell you a story. It's a true story and it has a happy ending. So... are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.
Once upon a time there was a digital marketing agency. The people who worked in the agency were happy most of the time. They enjoyed their jobs and they loved helping their clients get more customers. What made them sad was when clients expected them to perform magic. Then they had to explain that they had no magic wands and what the did was a simple mixture of experience, creativity and lots and lots of hard work.
Sometimes they spoke to people who had been tricked by wicked SEO companies who had taken bags and bags of gold from them and hidden it away and never delivered the sorcery that they had promised. These people found it hard to believe what the agency told them because they were scared of being tricked again. However, the people at the agency knew in their hearts that they were doing the right thing and they tried very hard to explain it to anyone who would listen.
They explained it like this:
- First you have to understand the sorts of customers you want to speak to. Understand their jobs, their lives, their challenges and their aspirations.
- Then work out how these ideal customers make decisions - what sort of information do they need at each stage of the process, even the earliest stage before they even know that they are looking for the things you sell.
- Now create the sort of content that will help them at each step of that process.
- The important phrase is "help THEM". Don't think about helping yourself, think about the challenges and issues they are facing and provide information that makes their lives easier. Think about broad topics - if you are an architect you might want to provide useful information about interior design, even if it's not a service you provide, because it is part of the overall challenge of building a new home that your ideal customer is facing right now.
Back To The Story
One day a man at the agency found a piece of free software and tried it out on their website. It worked well and was very useful because it helped them see which companies had been looking at their website. Because he liked it and because he knew that it would be useful for some of the agency's ideal customers, he wrote a blog post about it. The blog post was helpful and even though it didn't have anything to do with what the agency sold it was completely on topic because it talked about issues around lead generation that are relevant to their ideal customers.
The Happy Ending
The following day, one of the agency's ideal customers read the blog post. She tried the software and liked it. She remembered that the agency had told her about it and decided that she wanted to find out more. She asked them for information about their services and arranged to meet them. And now they are just about to start working on a project together!
The Moral of The Story
It's not just in fairy stories that the good guys win. Call it karma or call it good business practice, either way, helping people works.