Embracing The Role That Makes Business Fun and Profitable
A few years ago, I worked with a client to help her launch an online newsletter. I'll never forget what she said to me as we moved through the process: “This seems like too much work, Donna Maria, I don't want to become a publisher.” Since I was a journalism major in college, and since I have had a blog, a newsletter, a radio show, a magazine, etc., for years, I felt a twinge of guilt. After all, I love to write and talk, and putting information out there comes easily to me.
I explained to my client that all businesses are publishers, even if all they have is a single website page or a tiny business card. She resisted me and launched her business without any way of communicating with her target customers. I never saw her newsletter and last year, I noticed that she is no longer in business. There are a million reasons why people go out of business, and one of them is a refusal to embrace the notion that, to be successful, you must communicate directly and regularly with your customers. In other words, you must be a publisher. Here's why.
1. Customers Want Content
Today, every business competes with every other business, even if they are in different industries. And what are they competing for? Customers' attention. The companies that get customers' attention will win. The ones that don't will lose. It's that simple.
You are in a global race for everyone's attention. To get it, you must reach out and communicate with the world using every media outlet at your disposal. You must become the news you want to be. Blogs, email newsletters, audio, video, business cards, brochures, e-books, white papers, radio shows, television shows, carefully placed advertising, traditional media editorial features, etc. This is true no matter what you're selling. Because no matter what you're selling, content is king.
Today, marketing your products is about creating content that engages the people who want to buy what you are selling.
Today, the media is you!Be your own media outlet, offering content that invites your target customer to connect with you.Click To Tweet
Donna Maria, Indie Business Network
2. Customers Want You to Engage Them
Gone are the days of the passive customer, blindly walking through life buying what companies tell them to buy. Today, customers want to be engaged. They are savvy and they know they have choices. They want to you to woo them. They want you to win their business and fight for their allegiance. In order to do that, you have to communicate with them, and in order to do that, you need to publish content that shares useful information and invites them to interact with you.
Draw back the curtain of your life and let them in. Show people your world. Open up a dialog. Make it easy and fun for people to communicate with you. Start with a blog. If launching your own blog seems daunting, then start by participating at other people's blogs to get the hang of it. Invite yourself to be a guest on radio shows. Launch your own radio show. Get on Twitter. The point is to be engaged in the conversation so people can start to know who you are. When they know who you are, they will become interested in what you have to offer.
3. Customers Want You to be Everywhere
Once upon a time, there were distinct lines between different forms of media. You either had a television show or you sold houses. You were either a radio talk show host or you sold beauty products. You were a magazine publisher or a stay-at-home mom. Today, you can be all of these things, and if you have a business, you need to integrate all of these mediums to communicate a cohesive message.
Consider Martha Stewart, who simultaneously syndicates content across multiple media outlets. I can watch her make a pumpkin pie on her television show. I can also listen to one of her assistant editors talk about making pumpkin pie on her radio show. I can get step-by-step instructions and photos of the pumpkin pie-making process in her magazine. Then, I can buy another company's magazine and read an interview where Martha talks about — you guessed it — making pumpkin pie.
Believe it or not, the use of wise technology allows you to do all of these things and more. Because technology lets you duplicate yourself and your message, you can literally be everywhere — just like Martha. It's not hard, but it does take some deliberate planning and good old fashioned determination. In the coming days, I will use this blog to show you how to do it.
To succeed in business today, you have to use the Internet to connect with people. You have to be heard above the noise by creating genuine opportunities for your customers to interact with you and with each other. Thanks to technology, this is neither difficult nor expensive. You have to be your own media outlet, providing your target audience with the kind of interesting content that draws them in and connects them to you. Once they connect with you, you have the opportunity you've been waiting for — the chance to be connected to their pocketbooks.
Question: How can I help you use technology to communicate with your customers? What tips can you offer to help others?