Have you ever wondered why some companies give their competitors’ prices or do feature comparisons? It goes back to the idea of helping consumers in their search. By giving comparison information for price, technical specifications and other features, companies are helping consumers in their search for a particular product/service. Obviously, there is a marketing message that’s inherent in the comparison because the companies with the highest prices and least number of features for their products aren’t the ones taking this kind of approach. The reason for doing this is because there’s a major difference between saying “buy our products now because they do X and Y and are less expensive” and saying “here are all of your options – look for yourself and see how they stack up when it comes to X, Y and Z.” The first marketing message comes off as aggressive and boast-y and is likely to be ignored, while the second message comes off as helpful and informative.
Part of the reason why so many companies blog is because it’s great for SEO, but the other reason companies do it is because sharing knowledge is a great way to create value for consumers. No matter what business you’re in, you know more about your business than your audience does, which means that sharing your knowledge will be appreciated and respected. Writing informational content for your website or blog, sharing helpful tips on social media and keeping your audience informed as your industry changes are all ways to provide value and subtly sell your products/services simultaneously.
Potential customers have questions all the time about the things you sell, and these questions can keep them from buying. Taking the time to answer questions that are addressed to you or are posted elsewhere online establishes a connection and is the highest form of value that you can create because you are answering someone’s individual question that is specific to their needs. These kinds of connections can not only lead to a sale, but often also brand loyalty and even brand advocacy.
Give Free Advice
Even if no one asks you a question directly, you can still answer questions in the form of unsolicited free advice. Maybe you’ve heard from other industry professionals that your audience doesn’t understand something or tends to have the same misconceptions. Perhaps you’ve talked to people while networking and they seem to have a common hang up while trying to understand exactly what it is that you do. These are all situations where you have the basis of a topic that you can use to offer advice to your target demographic through blog posts, an FAQ on your site or more detailed product/service descriptions. Giving advice that addresses common questions or concerns shows that you’re in-tune with what your audience needs and creates value for them. Giving advice also helps you sell because it builds trust.
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!