Marketing with your consumers instead of at them. Easier said and written down than done. I know, I've been there. Some days I am so tempted to create a banner ad, sponsor a self-serving tweet or drop a link to a recent ebook without taking the time to explain how it helps a potential consumer. Some days I used to give in to the temptation and many marketing dollars later I would remember why those disruptive marketing tactics don't work...
Other days, hopefully most days, I've got my best marketing hat on and I collaborate with my consumers instead of creating ads and graphics that come at them like a swarm of mosquitos. Point being, I've tested out many strategies and marketing with my target consumers has brought my company some amazing new business.
Don't drop the ball and implement the easy but disruptive tactics. I'm about to outline my favorite ways and most effective ways to implement outreach marketing to collaborate with your audience. (Hint: you may want to print this one out and hang it on your wall by your monitor!)
Email Network for Input
Your network would rather feel like a part of your brand instead of an extension.
If you email them for their input (as long as you don't overdo it) you may be surprised how readily your consumers want to lend their voice. Ask them what types of content you should create, what resources they wish they had and implement quarterly surveys.
List Their Pain Points
Do it now. Make a list of all of the pain points your consumers faced that made them want to buy your product. Now, next to each pain point write down how your product offers a solution or eases this area of their lives. Take it one step further. What resource (blog post, video, Twitter chat, etc.) can you create that lends advice and feedback on each pain point? These resources of course will reference your brand but the focus will be to HELP not SELL. (The selling part just happens naturally)
Be a Resource
Leaping off my previous point. Be a resource for consumers. The marketing tactics you bring to fruition should be focused on educating and entertaining your consumer not selling your brand. This tactic also takes a very long time to implement, I would like to warn, but it's so worth it. Pick a niche to specialize in and write about it, interview people on their views of it, tweet awesome posts about it and set up your Google alerts so you monitor the digital world for it in real time.
Use Paid Tactics Wisely
Paid tactics are fine, just make sure they fit organically and seamlessly in to consumers' lives and routines. Instead of a blanket email blast, get a spot in an opt-in newsletter your buyer personas may subscribe to. Sponsor a tweet or create a FB update and make use of their targeting features. The most important thing to remember is to use these avenues to promote a resource not your brand's homepage.
Showcase Your Consumers
This lifts your brand in two ways.
1. Your consumers feel like part of your brand and enjoy the recognition.
2. It makes your brand more relatable. Consumers want to see other people like them buying your goods.
Case studies, interview posts, podcasts, videos are all great mediums to show how real people are interacting with your brand.
When I was younger I aimed to be lovable and now I strive to be sharable. Creating easy to share assets helps spread your message through other influencers. You just have to make your content easy and interesting enough to share. Click to tweet's in your emails are a beautiful thing I promise. Linking back to bloggers in your network prompts them to share your posts. Highlighting something about your consumers on Twitter is sure to get a retweet. Catch my drift?
Do you have a favorite way to market with consumers instead of at them? Please share in the comments!