Here are some things to consider as you try to grow your audience or sell your products.
Giant corporations put tons of money into advertising, so it makes sense to conclude that it works. The real question is why it works, and what we can do as small businesses to leverage our creative marketing content.
Let’s say we’re trying to convince someone to buy our product, subscribe to our channel, or visit a website. What works in terms of turning those ad dollars into sales? If you’ve got an endless budget, more ads are better. In any market, and especially a crowded market, the more someone has heard of your product or brand, the more likely they are to select you over competitors. Think about the last time you were browsing in a supermarket. The amount of choices is typically overwhelming, and so it’s likely we’ll go with the product we’re most familiar with. However, you’re probably competing against companies with a denser content marketing calendar than you, so what do we do when we’re swimming against the tide?
Consider two major routes to persuasion, the direct route, and the indirect route. The direct route involves specific, solid information. This is the approach to take when you have an informed customer willing to weigh arguments, consider relevant information, and conclude systematically and deliberately. With the indirect route to persuasion, we are presenting why something is wrong, and why something is right -- it’s an appeal to emotions. We can think of these routes separately, but typically we’ll mix the two to get the most effective messaging. This essentially means, it’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it. The balance here lies in your audience. The amount you should care about word choice and emotional cues depends on how informed your audience is about the subject. The more complicated and esoteric, the more likely you’ll need to rely on emotional cues to draw in a wide audience. What else plays into convincing someone of something?
Three important things to keep in mind are:
(1) Who is delivering your message?
(2) How are they saying it? and
(3) Who is listening? These might seem obvious so let’s take a closer look at each to see what’s important to keep in mind.
What traits make for a successful speaker? The first is credibility. Is the speaker a doctor wearing a lab coat, or a red-eyed hippy? Appearances will always play a large role, especially attractiveness and similarity (to the viewer). This is why good video content is so vital for modern marketing. If we can light the scene nicely (so we look our best) and deliver the script perfectly without stumbling or jumpcuts, it makes the speaker appear confident and it gives a huge boost to our credibility. That’s where using a teleprompter is hugely beneficial. Speaking of which, it also matters how aware we are that we’re being convinced of something. If someone makes it clear that they’re selling us something, we’ll immediately close off our ability to hear the message. Whereas if they don’t seem to have anything to gain, it’s more likely they’ll break through that barrier.
Let’s also consider how a message is delivered. Word of mouth is particularly effective. Let’s say you want to visit a restaurant, but you notice 300 negative reviews online. You’re not likely to go. But, let’s say you’re at a party, and someone there says it’s a great restaurant. At this point, those 300 reviews lose a lot of their power because you have an immediate personal example. This also works really well in the world of online video content. When we see a friendly face (even if it’s digital) telling us they really believe in something, we’re way more likely to follow their advice. This is why inbound marketing is so effective. A decent video from someone we’re familiar with will usually beat a better article (unless your audience is incredibly well-informed).
Your audience also contributes a lot of factors that are out of our control, but it’s important that we’re aware of them. Personality and politics will play a role, sometimes even when what you’re trying to convince someone of seems apolitical. The mood and mindset of your audience will also affect how easily they’re persuaded. This is why it’s important how our content is targeted.
So in summary, how do we maximize our content marketing strategy? First, the more ads the merrier. Second, consider your audience and decide whether your message should be based mostly on facts or on strong emotional content. Third, consider who is saying what to whom. With a strong consideration for each of these facets of effective communication, you’ll be well on your way to delivering a strong persuasive message.