How To Connect With Your Prospects

From: Ameen Kamadia

The written word is king of the marketing hill these days. Between the intangible nature of services and the intangible marketing challenge known as the Internet, having content that increases interest and drives sales is a service firm imperative.

When selling loans, content is your "free sample," the equivalent of the people in supermarkets giving out little cups of various kinds of food products for you to try before you buy. OK, well, maybe not exactly like that, but thematically the same. Your content conveys your company's personality (known in more stuffy business circles as your culture) as well as your expertise, which are both part of the criteria applied by prospects when making buying decisions.

So here's the question that constitutes the title of this article: Is your content actually connecting? You can have loads of articles, white papers, web pages, and email messages, but if the words in those pieces aren't making a strong connection to your market, all that content is worthless.

Here are some suggestions for creating connections with content:

Be context specific. A piece of content needs to talk to a specific audience at the right level. If you market to financial advisors, for example, assume that your reader understands the financial planning field at least at an intermediate level if not higher. Don't write "Finance 101" stuff for these folks. If, on the other hand, you are selling your services to small and solo business owners, assume that your reader is knowledge-deficient in the exact areas where you shine.

Write like you talk. Said another way, write like your company talks. The style, voice, and tone of your content will be very different if you have a more informal "shorts and t-shirt" way of doing business than if you are operating out of an urban high-rise and "dress for success" in designer duds. Keep your language and style consistent with how you want to be perceived.

Stay away from the third person. Use first and second person in your content. If the piece is authored by one person, as with an article or a white paper, use first person singular; if the speaker is the company, use we and us. Talk directly to the reader using you and your.

Be inclusive and at the same level. Involve your reader. Instead of saying "if one looks at this situation," say "if we look," or "let's look." And instead of being instructive or positioning yourself as the guru on the mountain, stand next to the reader. "The challenge we face is..." is far more attractive in the reader's mind than "the challenge facing you is..." Avoid potentially condescending or patronizing phrases like, "You need to understand..." or "It should be obvious that..."

Finally, be passionate. We are all passionate about what we offer, and we need to be proud to show it. I, for example, think that good, authentic content will pave the way to quality relationships with great customers..

Happy Originating!


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