Always Provide Value.
It’s the golden rule of social media, and even though we are now officially 10 years in, there are still so so many businesses that are not following this rule.
A quick look at their Facebook pages reveals post after post about them… sales, specials, whatever. They are applying old-school marketing techniques to new media, and it doesn’t work.
I wish every single one of them would read Jay Baer’s Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is about Help Not Hype. I just finished it, and the message echoing from every single page was: always provide value.
You see, many companies are sales-focussed, meaning, they want to make a sale today! Now! As soon as possible! I get that. You’re not in business to go broke, right? However, as Jay points out, this makes many businesses short-sighted. While you may, indeed, create a customer for today if you sell something, “if you help someone, you may create a customer for life.”
Youtility is, simply put, being so useful, that your clients or customers will keep coming back for more.
The old ways of marketing aren’t working anymore. First of all, we get our information from so many sources, that it’s really difficult to focus on on just one channel. You have to be all over everything, and that gets expensive. Secondly, people don’t inherently trust corporations or businesses any more. Finally, you have to be search-engine savvy to be found online today. People are informing and educating themselves more and more these days. If you want to make a purchase, what is the first thing you do? You go online and do research. You crowdsource opinions from friends. Businesses that are putting out useful information on their websites, blogs and FB pages are winning this game. But it’s a long game–you may not see results over night.
Check out these fun facts from the book:
- In 2010, shoppers needed 5.3 sources of information to make a decision. In 2011, that number had almost doubled to 10.4.
- Companies with websites that have 101-200 pages generate 2.5 times more leads than companies with 50 page or less.
- Companies that blog 15 or more times a month get 5 times more traffic than those who don’t blog.
You see, in the old days, we were afraid to share our secrets, our information. The fear was, if we shared our inside scoop, the potential client would use that information to do it themselves, or even to purchase the product or service somewhere else (showrooming–it’s a thing). But by educating and informing a potential client, you help to build brand loyalty, and that’s a powerful factor when it comes to laying down your credit card.
So, how do you get started with YouTility?
- Create a list of every single question you’ve ever been asked. Generate a blog post for every question.
- Think apps–as we move deeper and deeper into the world of mobile, how can your business create an app that is truly useful? Examples are Charmin’s Sit or Squat, and The Car Seat Helper.
- Enlist every employee. Marketing needs to be a horizontal approach–across your company, not just in the silo of your marketing department. What knowledge does your accounting department (for example) have that you can share with your customers?
- Don’t forget why people are on social media: to stay in touch with their friends and family. “If you are useful without engaging in immediate quid-pro-quo, your business will be trusted the same way trust their friends and family members.”
I’ll wrap it up with this quote in the book from IBM:
We must shift our focus from large campaigns to one-to-one, high-value interactions. From controlling the message, to building collaborative relationships. From being generally accessible to being in the right places at the right time.
YouTility should be required reading for anyone with a business.