Paul Jarvis tweeted this today:
content marketing is stuck in loop: "click to read the marketers guide to writing marketing guides for marketers who write marketing guides"
— paul jarvis (@pjrvs) July 19, 2017
It’s hard to dodge these arrows when you do content marketing. Or any kind of marketing.
By ‘arrows’ I mean the offers to help you market your marketing better, sold to you by people who sell marketing as a service to other marketers. Got it?
You can become really cynical about it all very easily. Like it’s hocus pocus.
I’ve always felt that everyone thinks they’re a marketer. Everyone seems to know best about how you should market your company. Joe Public, sitting on his couch, eating potato chips and drinking his Pabst Blue Ribbon, knows best how Apple should improve its advertising.
Side note: Everyone also thinks they’re a designer, too. Cathy Public, sitting in her barcalounger, knows best how Ford should have designed its Fusion interior.
The Internet and social media in particular only make this seem worse because we’re all throwing our unsolicited opinions around.
The truth is, we’re living in our marketing bubble; everyone else is living their lives
I heard this message emphasized beautifully at—you guessed it, Craft + Commerce.
For many of us focused on hyper-specific niches, our target audience isn’t consuming massive quantities of marketing case studies monthly, let alone weekly or daily. They’re not evaluating how marketers persuasively lead people along towards a purchase.
They’re not noticing the nuances of your sales funnel.
We’re the ones noticing that stuff because we’re crafting our own!
They’re living their lives, trying to do their thing, and sometimes encountering problems. When they do encounter problems, they search for solutions by either asking their friends or heading to Google.
If we can solve those problems with a blog post, or an ebook, or an email series, super duper.
If we can solve their problems with a digital download or an online course, everyone wins.
Here’s one example of this
Years ago, I started paying for my son Conner to see a private hitting coach. Conner had all sorts of raw talent, but not a lot of baseball confidence and plenty of holes in his swing. (Nice job, Dad!)
The hitting coach, a local guy who had some MLB players among his past clients, was unbelievable. From a technical standpoint, he immediately knew exactly where Conner was at currently. He knew the first thing Conner needed to focus on, the next thing after that, and so on.
Of course, one hopes that a person teaching a specific skill can provide that kind of expertise.
What impressed me more was how he taught my son. How he interacted with him. How he knew when to push vs. when to praise. It wasn’t a constant stream of encouragement and “Great job!” commentary. He knew to withhold and praise when it was warranted.
My son noticed none of these things. He just knew that Rich was helping him hit with confidence and power. He just knew that his problem was being solved.
I saw that Rich had a repeatable, successful approach because I’ve coached baseball players as well. I was watching him deliver his craft and evaluating it as he went.
Though he was and is far more competent about baseball than me, we’re both ‘in the bubble.’ My son was not.
Here’s another example for you
Jerry Larimore is the real deal.
On the weekends he wins baja races behind the wheel of the famed Juggernaut. See the video below? That’s him. 12,000 followers on Instagram from his antics.
He takes no prisoners with extremely ballsy driving. It’s an expensive hobby, since he doesn’t really generate income from it.
His day job is serving as founder and president of Signature Paving in Escondido, California.
He just launched this new website that’s primarily focused on educating potential customers than hard-selling them. The emphasis is on three things: browsing the Learning Center, viewing his Instagram-powered Gallery, or kicking the tires with his Estimator.
None of these things require an email address.
It’s not a new idea. If you’re reading this article, it’s likely because you’re in the bubble already. So you might have just yawned. No great shakes here, what he’s doing. Right?
But if you search for paving companies anywhere else, you’re really not going to find people doing this. It’s not a ‘thing’ in that industry. It’s not an expectation.
Customers don’t assume contractors like Jerry just give up information for free without pushing hard to get in front of them for a proposal.
Customers looking for a new patio don’t expect contractors to have a marketing funnel.
Carry on with your marketing funnel!
That’s why I say—and I didn’t always feel this way, I was cynical for awhile too—push forward with your plan for niche domination.
Keep working on your 30-day challenge, your online course, your whitepaper-as-a-lead magnet, your 5-day email series, or whatever other tool you want to implement to generate customers and clients. You’re not going to foster any massive skepticism in your target audience.
Depending on the niche that you’re in, people may very likely see that you’re the ONE person who IS trying to help them figure things out WITHOUT asking for money up front.
This means you have all the opportunities in the world still. The field is white. There are few rules about what you can’t or shouldn’t provide to people, sometimes for free, sometimes in exchange for their email address, in order to generate a list.
Set aside the concerns that online courses are all the rage right now. Don’t be deterred by how many people are killing it with live video.
Focus on delivering value
Put your focus on delivering value and your marketing comes into focus from there. Because, ‘delivering value’ can take all sort of approaches and media. That’s what Jerry has in mind.
The one-two punch with marketing success now is delivering value through your company and your personal brand. Don’t get derailed by the ‘how’. Your customers aren’t as jaded as you may be.
Unless, of course, you’re offering marketing guides about marketing guides.