How to get customers involved in your content marketing

This is the fifth update in my Summer Lovin blog series!

summer lovin

click here for previous articles in the series

 

As you no doubt have noticed, there are entire online businesses that are built on getting their customers to do “stuff” for them – think of Angie’s List, for example, that wouldn’t be much of anything if the customers they have didn’t leave reviews.

As you’re working on your content marketing plans, you’ll probably have a lot of cool ideas that involve getting your customers on board.  I’m picturing some conversations like this:

  • Wow, it would be so much more inspiring if our blog had stories of our customers actually using our product, instead of us just bragging with a bunch of client logos or testimonials…”
  • “Our community is full of talented people who have some great stories.  If there were only a way to harness those talents…”
  • “If only we could get our customers to do the work for us, we could kick back and not worry about this content stuff…”

(Ok, if that last sentence was you, you’re getting slapped.)

The Key to Unlocking Customer Interest in Your Content Campaigns

We are all so very busy these days.  So when it comes to getting your customers on board with some sort of campaign, their first reaction will probably be along the lines of “meh who cares.” (And that’s only the small portion of your client base who heard about the campaign in the first place!)  While I am sure you have some raving fans who would do just about anything for you, you should be aiming your sights a bit higher: how about courting some engagement from those customers (current or potential) who aren’t raving fans quite yet?

You campaign needs one essential ingredient to garner interest and involvement:

WIIFM:  What’s In It For Me

Seriously, that’s it.  Prove to your customers that they’re getting something out of the deal that they actually value, and they’ll be much more likely to jump on board your content bandwagon.

meerkats

Beware of assuming everyone wants a carrot.

Key phrase in the above paragraph:  prove to your customers… that they are getting something they actually value.

There’s a big danger in assuming that everyone wants a free product or a prize and thus dangling those as carrots for engagement.  When you just dole out the freebies, you’ll attract the attention of folks who really could care less about what you’re doing, they are just after the free stuff.  Let’s call them the freebie sharks, and they can smell your campaign brewing from miles away.  The bigger the giveaway, the more sharks you’ll attract.

In addition to attracting the wrong kind of folks, your campaign can also be off-putting to your existing community.  If your current customers see nothing but free giveaways and handouts on their Facebook feeds every morning, they’re going to start to tune out completely, or worse, wonder why they pay for your product anyway.

Now, I’m not saying prizes are a bad thing.  But if you’re giving things away, you need to make sure that you:

  • Don’t over-do it with the giveaways.  There is such a thing as contest fatigue – and you aren’t the lottery.  Moderation!
  • Try asking for involvement before doing a giveaway.  Maybe you’ll be surprised to see your customers are really interested in getting involved, and the only thanks they need is that you asked.
  • Make the amount of work to win a giveaway commensurate with the value of the prize.  Share a photo of your coffee mug, win a bag of coffee.  Create a pinterest board with 25 photos that describe your travel style using specific hashtags and follow the brand’s account and submit personal information, win a week’s vacation.

Bonus Tip:  What is the one thing that most customers love more than winning a prize?  Being surprised.  (Good surprises only, please!)

It starts by asking.

Instead of spending all your time and money trying to give stuff away, I encourage you to try to get into some conversations with customers about what they might like instead.  Here are some examples:

  • People love to feel important.  Maybe you see a customer post a cool photo on your Facebook wall.  Why don’t you ask them to send in a couple of paragraphs talking about the image, and then post that on your blog – with credit and a link to their social media handle if they want.  Add a call to action asking others to share their photography, and setup an easy-to-use form for submissions.
  • Get feedback from your super-fans.  You surely have at least one or two people on social media who love you, right?  Email them and setup a conversation to ask them their ideas for what might be an interesting campaign for them.  Remember, people love to feel important.

Go out and get some feedback on that campaign you’re thinking about.  But remember, it’s not about you.  It’s not about forcing feedback with prizes.  WIIFM:  What’s In It For Me?


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