“Well, of course,” I hear you saying. “Sending an e-newsletter to subscribers who have opted in would most certainly have a fairly high open rate.”
So why would you want to broadcast your online message to millions of people who couldn’t care less, and be happy with a 3% click-through rate? Why are you still marketing online the same way you marketed offline?
A 2010 article in Harvard Business Review states the case clearly. “To compete in this aggressively interactive environment, companies must shift their focus from driving transactions to maximizing customer lifetime value. That means making products and brands subservient to long-term customer relationships.”
So how do you create long-term customer relationships in an online world?
“The way to get results online is clout—influence or pull,” writes Colleen Jones in her book, Clout: The Art and Science of Influential Web Content. “On the web, clout allows you to attract the right people and, at the right time, change what they think or do. Achieving clout demands new thinking and a new focus on web content.”
Because content is what people want. Content is what they spend much of their online time reading, listening to and viewing. Content is what they share with their social networks.
But you can’t just create any old content. You have to create influential content. Content that will grab people and make them change their behavior.
“Because people use the web now more than ever to make decisions, everyone from big brands to small businesses to individuals has the opportunity to influence those decisions,” writes Jones. “My goal is to help you make the most of that opportunity.”
According to Jones, if you can create online content that literally changes people’s behavior, you have achieved clout.
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But Developing Clout Isn’t Easy
In fact, Jones calls this marketing technique “the hard road” to business success. “Even though the road to influential web content is hard, it’s the right road for lasting results.”
Because creating web content that influences people means using the principles of rhetoric and psychology to send the right message to the right people at the right time. If they get to know you, like you and trust you, they might just become your customer for life.
That’s what Jones means by “lasting results”—creating long-term customer relationships. Remember that it’s much easier and cheaper to keep an existing customer than it is to attract a new customer.
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But did I hear some of you groaning when I mentioned the words “rhetoric” and “psychology”? Not to worry. Jones summarizes these principles in just two chapters. In those two chapters, you’ll learn the art and science of persuasion.
If you need more information, she recommends many other sources throughout her book. And she has a recommended reading list at the end.
The rest of her book will show you how to:
- Plan a content strategy
- Handle roadblocks in your climb to clout
- Evaluate your content strategy
- Use quantitative and qualitative evaluation methods
- Adjust your content strategy when necessary
- Use clout responsibly and ethically
Her book is filled with lists and questions to guide you on this harder road to business success. And she includes success stories from many companies, universities and government agencies that have used the same principles to achieve clout.
Think of her book as your roadmap to successfully creating lifelong customer relationships by publishing influential content. You start by raising awareness of your business, becoming liked and trusted and inspiring and motivating changes in people’s behavior.
Always remember that people are more likely to buy from someone they know, like and trust. And they buy from people, not corporations.
Instead of blasting advertising messages at millions of people who don’t care, try attracting people who do care. Create content that they care about. Show them you’re trustworthy and you have a solution to their problem and then help them move toward that solution.
So save yourself the expense of getting a degree in psychology and pick up a copy of Clout: The Art and Science of Influential Web Content by Colleen Jones.
Social Media Examiner gives this book 4 stars.
Have you used any of these strategies? Have they worked? Leave your comments in the box below.