There’s a competition going on and you may not even see it.
How do we find the customers that aren’t looking for your product right now? The folks who will eventually buy from you. Not soon, but someday. You need to make friends with them now.
How can you make new friends?
For fun, I took a look at my LinkedIn feed to see who is talking to whom on the marketing playground.
Here are the 1st seven life science related posts in my feed today:
- Sponsorship for new investigator award – not bad
- Method transfer
- Customer spotlight video
- Partner video
- Customer appreciation day – actually loaded with product content
- Symposium invitation – all product and application info
- A pure product promotion
An awkward way to start the conversation
I’m not naming any names, these are all great companies sharing good content. But with the exception of the first one on the list, it’s all product oriented, “look at me” content. On LinkedIn. I don’t know about you, but when I’m browsing my feed on LinkedIn, I’m looking for something interesting, informative or inspiring.
Do I think they shouldn’t take advantage of social media to promote their content? They probably should. But this is the wrong content.
I don’t see much content that would help a new customer recognize that they have a problem or better yet, serve that person completely independently of the need for a product. LinkedIn is an ideal place to grow awareness of your brand, provoke interest in a problem your prospect doesn’t know he has yet or just be helpful.
“Why would we do that?” you might ask.
Thanks for asking.
In my corporate days, the sales team was always looking for leads in new areas of opportunity. I often heard, “If we can get invited to the discussion we have a great chance of winning the deal. We just need to get in early.”
Getting in early means establishing a relationship before the customer has a need.
When you’re promoting bottom of the funnel product content, the prospect will ask, “Do I need this now?” If not, adios.
You can do that nine ways to Sunday and hope you catch someone at a moment of need. But it won’t create that relationship you are looking for.
To find new customers, you need to tell a story your customers would be interested in at any time.
There are plenty of stories to tell
Here are seven new ideas to replace what I listed above.
- Technology round up. Explain how different technologies work.
- Career tips for PhDs- Career scientists confess what they wish they had done differently.
- Amazing science you never heard of
- Science in developing countries
- Life outside the lab- scientists share their hobbies and passions.
- A weekly science quiz for congresspeople
- How science touches the world of art
Every one of these tells a story to a particular audience. I’m not talking about a single post. I’m thinking about an ongoing series for each of these. They require some effort, but would provide a never ending stream of content to draw people in to your ecosystem – based on the emotions of your customers.
Stir up emotion
Matching up to the bulleted list above, here are the emotional triggers that will have your prospects imprinting on your brand like a baby duck to its mama.
- Curiosity- I love to geek out on new tech.
- Fear- I don’t want that to happen to me.
- Awe- I’m inspired by other people’s work.
- Concern- I care about how science can help people everywhere.
- Joy- It’s fun to hear what other scientists do with their free time. I thought I was the only one who….
- Power- It’s important for our representatives to know the value of science.
- Curiosity/Awe combo FTW- I love art. I didn’t realize how much science was a part of it. Now I love it even more.
Your audience is starving for fascination. They’re scrolling through their social media feeds looking for something interesting right now. Why not give them something with meaning? Something that provides value to them and builds a relationship with you?
As products become commoditized, experience will become the only differentiator. And even before that, it can be the most important part of a brand.
Give people a reason to come back to you and they’ll eventually come back as a customer and may never leave.
You need to start building those relationships now. The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is today.
What story will you tell?
Let’s have a conversation in the comment section.