Give and Thou Shalt Receive: How Value Added Content forms lasting bonds
In my last blog, I harped on about growing the KNOW-LIKE-TRUST factor – and developing relationships with customers. Now, I’m going to talk about giving stuff away for free.
Free? Oh, that old chestnut! A few samples here and there will rocket my business into the stratosphere, will it?
Well no, not really (as you well know). But by ‘stuff’, I mean two things:
And by ‘free’, I mean don’t worry – you’ll get something back in return!
The first mistake in marketing (or perhaps business in general) is to think that what you buy and sell is restricted to ‘physical’ products. The second is to think that money is the only currency. In the long run, of course, you’ll want cold hard cash. But for now, be patient…
You’re not just a ‘seller of such a thing’; you’re an expert. In these days of being able to find products at the touch of a button, what makes them choose Mr X over Mrs Y? Information, that’s what. The more they feel informed about something, the more likely they are to part with their cash.
But from a marketing point of view, sharing expertise is all about the long game of building the KNOW-LIKE-TRUST factor. Put yourselves in your customers’ shoes for a minute, and tap into what they really want. If you specialise in fancy dress clothing, for example, does Carol Johnson justwant an Elsa from Frozen dress? Probably not. Carol Johnson, no doubt, is organising a party for her daughter and a multitude of crazed children, and wants to conquer this mountain with as little effort as possible.
So why not go the extra mile, perhaps, and help poor Carol out? If you sell fancy dress for a living, my guess is that you know a thing or two about parties! After all, how could a fancy dress shop exist without them? Have a long, hard look and ask yourself why you do what you do in the first place. And then share your knowledge. You know who the best caterers are, where to find entertainers for the kids, and what games go down a treat for all involved. So tell Carol! She’ll be forever grateful for it.
Of course, ‘Carol’ won’t always come knocking for help. You’ve got to reach out to her, and make the first move.
And that’s where value added content (VAC) comes in. Whether it’s a blog giving tips, an eBook detailing all you know about a subject, or a video providing a demonstration, VAC is your means to give potential customers something far more valuable than a quick product fix. You know the saying “teach a man to fish and he’ll have food for life”? Well it goes something like that. And the best bit? It’s completely FREE for the customer.
And it’s usually free to you (or with cheap costs at most), but only in a monetary sense. The currency you use is TIME, and – before you protest – you CAN afford it!
Taking time out to write, film or produce some VAC is an investment. You have no confirmed guarantee of a return, but it’s a case of getting out what you put in. Think you have some wisdom to share? Check. Can you put the effort in? Check again! The more your KNOW-LIKE factor grows, the greater your chance of being TRUSTed. Make the most of your ‘intellectual stock’, and share it with the world. In return, your physical stock will become much more attractive – as will you and your brand!
If, however, you’re still worried about seeing instant monetary returns, next time I’ll be talking about how VACs can link directly into your sales funnel. In fact, they can even be sold like any other products – and I might talk about that too. If you’re lucky.
But until then, here’s a wee checklist of VACs to help you on your way:
eBOOKS BLOGS VIDEOS WORKSHOPS HOW-TO GUIDES
REPORTS/WHITE PAPERS INFOGRAPHICS NEWSLETTERS TOOLKITS
PERSONALISED ASSESSMENTS STATS/RESEARCH WEBINARS