"When It comes to personal branding, it doesn't matter how good you are. What matters is how good you are in showing it" - Heba Hosny
I'm very excited to share proven content marketing best practices that I have cultivated throughout my rewarding career as a content marketer and SEO copywriter.
I dedicate this article to content marketers who are eager to raise the bar and acquire more customers in a fiercely competitive market.
How to Deal With Clients Who Narrow Their Target Market Down to One Word: EVERYONE!!
More than once, I have come across clients who believed that they can sell their products to everyone! On the plus side, this attitude reflects that they value their products and services and believe a wide range of people can benefit from them. Still, not having a preset marketing persona is a costly mistake. Trying to sell to everyone can easily dilute their brand image, turning it into a one-size-fits-all pointless message.
On the other hand, having a narrowed niche market enables the marketing team to send them a consistent stream of relevant and targeted messages. For example, in my article about video marketing ROI best practices, I advised that marketers need to "Make sure video actors are identical to your target market in terms of age, gender, ethnicity and so forth. This way, your potential customers will relate to them and feel a magical bond with your brand."
When I was recently assigned to write a sales copy for a client who didn't present a clear target market definition, I decided to apply Leonardo da Vinci's timeless wisdom: "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
I sent her my absolute favorite customer definition questions. These questions are created by branding expert Hey Shenee and I love them because they are so profoundly simple.
1-What is the problem you are solving?
2-What type of person has this problem? (Who's your target customer in terms of age range, gender, education and so forth)
3-What does their day-to-day life look like with this problem?
4-What is the ONE thing your ideal customer wants?
5-How does their life look like after using your services?
In turn, answering these 5 questions inspired me to create a killer sales copy that my client was very impressed by.
Key Takeaway: Keep your requests from clients as simple as possible, making sure that you get everything you need in order to offer them superior content.
When Clients Underestimate Free Content
A client hired me to write a landing page content to promote her 6-week free e-course. The purpose of the landing page was capturing leads who would fill a signup form in return for the e-course.
She had three main goals:
- Converting site visitors into leads
- Growing her mailing list
- The free e-course will include links to her paid services
My client was very clear about her goals but she underestimated the importance of offering excellent free content. She bought a ready-made e-coaching email series written by an expert in her industry.
My client took the easy route of buying ready-made content, not realizing that if she wants her prospects to trust her enough to purchase her paid products, she must offer them compelling free content.
As I read through the email series, I realized that it was poorly written and hardly offered any value to readers. After reading few lines, it became evident to me that if my client used this series as is, she will end up losing existing subscribers rather than acquiring new ones!
I was only responsible for writing the landing page. I could've just completed my job and said nothing. However, I felt obliged to warn my client against this list-shrinking email series!
After delivering the landing page content, I sent her a separate email including my remarks about the email series:
"Hi [Client First Name],
As promised, here are some remarks I have on the email series that you sent me.
As a general rule of thumb, every time you write an article or an email, pretend that you're the reader and read it again. In other words, put yourself in your target audience shoes in order to accurately assess how they will perceive your content and what value it added to them. In addition, you may consult some friends on the same points.
When it comes to the email series, I noticed that it offered plenty of theoretical information and research studies but it hardly provided any valuable practical tips that readers can benefit from. (I offered specific examples to support my argument.)
In addition, it's a ready-made series that's probably sold to other competitors in your industry. While it can serve as an invaluable guide especially if you're a beginner in email marketing, I highly recommend that you tweak it and add your own spin on it."
Needless to say, my client was so impressed and when she needed more writing services, I was her chosen candidate.
- Show don't tell! In other words, showcase your talent and expertise in practical ways by delivering outstanding content and offering in-depth advises and recommendations
- Be very tactful when you draw clients attention to their poor practices
Do NOT Shy Away From Giving No-brainer Ideas If...
Do not shy away from giving no-brainer ideas if your client is not applying them. I was responsible for writing website content for a client who have been in business for nearly a decade and acquired 150 clients. still, he didn't have a testimonial page on his website.
As basic as having a testimonial page may sound, it didn't occur to my client who had a very impressive track record. So, I took the initiative and proudly drew his attention to the no-brainer.
- Since [company name] have been in business since 2006, I recommend creating a page for customer testimonials, success stories, and/or case studies
- It's a good idea to prominently display a really good testimonial on the homepage. In addition, you may include relevant testimonials in other pages. For example, if a client complemented the backup system, his testimonial can be displayed in the backup page and so forth.
- Make your testimonials more credible and trust-inviting by including pictures of your clients and links to their websites whenever possible."
- Be generous with your advice and recommendations. (I offered my client everything he needed to know about adding testimonials.)
- Do not shy away from giving no-brainer ideas if your client is not applying them. They will be appreciative that you draw their attention to a sound idea or a proven tip
Be Honest But Be Intelligent About It
I have zero tolerance for lying. In one of my thought provokingly funny articles about personal branding the smart way, I said that: "If honesty is such a lonely word, how about giving it some company?"
I NEVER lie but I can be intelligent about it. Lately, I was invited by a client to apply for a project. The project requirements were a perfect fit for my skills except for one must-have requirement: Knowledge of a certain online tool.
So I wrote my cover letter and started by highlighting my strengths and offered links to writing samples. At the end, I said that I meet all the qualifications needed for the project expect for the online tool. However, I can master it in a heartbeat because I worked with similar tools before and I named the tools that I have experience in.
The good news is that I was hired for the project although I didn't fit all the requirements and was honest about it. I don't think I would be hired if I started the cover letter by mentioning that I don't know the tool. So it's a matter of putting information in the right order.
Key Takeaway: ALWAYS be honest but make sure to highlight your strengths before mentioning the areas where you lack expertise.
Fire These 2 Types of Clients in A Heartbeat!
I usually say a firm: "No!" to these types of clients:
- Clients who have no vision. These types of clients are clueless about what they really want so they're impossible to satisfy. How can you tell a client is clueless? If they keep making drastic changes in the project requirements. If you come across these types of clients, fire them in a heartbeat and feel free to thank me later.
- I hate urgent projects because I NEVER compromise quality. For example, if a customer hires you now and expected the end product after one hour, you will put yourself under unnecessary pressure to finish the task fast and most probably the outcome will be mediocre. That's why; I completely avoid time-sensitive projects.
Saving The Best For Last...
I prefer nurturing existing clients and getting repeat business from them over acquiring new clients. This's a general marketing rule that I apply in my content marketing career.
Getting repeat business is easy: Impress clients and they will come back for more. Even better, they will happily refer you to their contacts.
I also seek opportunities to upsell existing clients by proposing more services whenever possible. Again, upselling is easy if the client is happy.
Now I would love to hear from you fellow content marketers. Which of the insights presented here resonated with you the most? Do you have an interesting experience you would like to share?
Please share your insights in the comments. Your valuable contribution is much appreciated. To our success!