Over this past week we seem to have had more than the usual number of cold calls - insurance, electricity and others. The phone rings, you answer and there's that awful pause where you think 'here we go' and the spiel begins.
Businesses are increasingly moving away from this approach to marketing, and towards a softer style of content marketing which starts with giving people free, valuable information.
I signed up for a free five day facebook challenge last month, which gave me the opportunity to experience content marketing in action.
Last month I wrote about four levels of marketing:
- level 1, casual (eg reading a blog or a facebook post)
- level 2, connected (eg signing up for a workshop or an enewsletter)
- level 3, committed (eg paying for a service)
- level 4, convinced (eg ongoing work).
By signing up for the facebook challenge I was moving from a casual to a connected relationship with the training provider, by investing an hour each day to take part.
It was an excellent series of five live videos over the course of a week, complemented by a daily worksheet to help me apply the concepts to my own situation.
The combination of written exercises and videos suited my learning style, and the content had real substance to it, that I knew I could apply to my business. So by Friday morning (the fifth day of the challenge) I had pretty much decided to take up the training opportunity, provided it was within my budget and further research about the course confirmed its usefulness to me.
The course met my criteria and so I bought it.
I'm writing about this because it is a great example of level 2 communications providing a positive pathway through to level three (committed) in the marketing cycle.
I'm the first to admit I can improve my level 2 communications - creating quality resources which help people to decide if my services are a good match for them (it's on my to-do list for October to December).
Going through this process as a potential client gives me fresh inspiration to carry through on those plans. Freely offering something valuable in order to build credibility and confidence in your services is a win-win situation.
What free samples could you can offer, to grow your business?