Who comes first in your marketing content?


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In my work with B2B companies, I spend a lot of time reviewing content – both old and new. I often play the role of an editorial supervisor and coach as I help them learn and tune their skills for developing engaging content. One of the things that I often see is that they think they’re being customer/buyer focused, when in reality they’ve managed to slip back into the company’s perspective.

Point of view is a slippery slope. There are nuances that can sneak right by without sending up any flags because we’re still more comfortable with them. Even with the best of intentions, it’s very easy to get sucked back into company speak.

Here are a few examples I’ve seen recently:

Here’s what we want to give you vs. what your buyer wants.

This is often seen in “About the Company” pages on websites and in proposals prepared for buyers, email messaging, etc. Interestingly, if you know your customers, what you want to give them is likely close to what they want. But the response you get is based in large part on the reactions your audience has to the phrasing. Which one of these would resonate better with you as a buyer?

Our vision for your company is…

Your vision for your company is… here’s how we’ll help you get it…

Talk to us vs. Talk amongst yourselves.

We all know that content must have a goal, a call to action. What is usually the case is a request for the buyer to contact us, request a sales conversation, fill out our form, etc. In other words, most companies only care about getting the prospect to talk to them.

Consider the difference between helping ourselves and helping others. Case in point is social media. Being helpful gets you much farther than being self-serving. Which call to action is more interesting to you as a buyer?

Contact us for more information about…

To learn more about [topic], go ask your IT department how they…
Find out if your website manager has the ability to…
Discuss the idea of [topic] with your product manager to see if…

The secret here is that not all conversations that help sell your products and solutions need to be, or will be, between you and your prospects. There are lots of other conversations that must be had. So facilitate them proactively. You’ll be remembered for it. And they’ll come to you looking for more help given what they learn from the conversations you helped to jumpstart.

Start with us vs. Start with them.

Go look at any of your website pages. Is the first sentence focused on the interests of your prospects, or is it focused on your company? Which one is more engaging?

Real examples pulled today from interior website pages:

With [company’s] enterprise class cloud computing capabilities, you have the trusted partner to help you assess cloud readiness, develop adoption strategies and identify business entry points.

Feel confident that you’re keeping up with growth and change in your business while decreasing your communication costs.

That first example is has an element of sneaky that slides right by the people developing the content. Notice the company’s name at the beginning? Well, their logo is all over the website, as well as on graphics.

Why is it that we think we have to keep telling people the name of our company when they’re on our website? Secondly, calling yourself a “trusted partner” is self-serving chest thumping similar to “the leading provider of….” Use a testimonial or case study to make the point.

These are just three examples that show why it’s very important to step away from your content and evaluate it from the shoes of your prospects and customers.

Who comes first can make or break the conversation.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee is a B2B Marketing Strategist and the CEO of her firm, Marketing Interactions, Inc. She helps B2B companies with complex sales create and use persona-driven content marketing strategies to turn prospects into buyers and convince customers to stay. Ardath is the author of Digital Relevance: Developing Marketing Content and Strategies that Drive Results and eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale. She's also an in-demand industry speaker.


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