Content marketing continues to get the attention it deserves, but also can serve as your “wingman” without you lifting a finger.
Years ago, I used to be a relationship coach for single women over 40. I enjoyed helping women in this age group because I didn’t meet my husband until I was 39. I knew firsthand how challenging it was to find attractive, desirable, and available men — let alone getting them interested in asking me out.
And when you’re interested in someone, you don’t ask them to marry you before asking for a first date.
Without a Commitment, There Is No Relationship
There have been many times when I’ve seen a correlation between dating to find love, and prospecting to find new business.
But I’ve also started to see some businesses try to skip over the “getting to know you” part and directly asking their prospect to marry them. Often, a prospect (like any normal person), runs away. Phrases such as “Wow, that’s presumptuous,” or “I’m just starting to learn about you, I’m not ready yet to sign up…” are common occurrences.
I’ve seen businesses try to tell their brand story but yet a prospect often doesn’t need that information, at least not in the beginning.
Let’s say a prospect visits your B2B website. Are they ready to buy at that very moment? Most likely, no. She’s doing her due diligence and checking you out, wondering if your product or service will help her. This takes time. However, featuring the right information at this stage of discovery is crucial.
Why Content Marketing Is Your Secret Matchmaker
When I was a relationship coach, I had a dear lady who begged me to be her matchmaker. I politely declined, not wanting the responsibility (and headache) of trying to find a man who would be a great fit for her. She wasn’t interested in online dating sites, which made it especially challenging to introduce available men to her.
This is why content marketing is so important. Content marketing can give your prospect the ability to learn about you without that weird awkwardness that comes when two people are sitting across from each other in a coffee shop — and quickly realize they have nothing in common.
Content marketing takes your business offerings and showcases them in the best light possible. Want to know about a company’s strengths? Here’s a white paper that highlights this best-in-class product. Want a seal of approval from a trusted friend? Here’s a great case study that proves the business really does deliver on its promises.
Content marketing does all that and more. Each step of the way, it’s going before you, talking about why you’re the best catch in the ocean and how you’ll really regret it if you don’t at least have coffee to learn more.
Don’t Try To Rush Things
There are those magical moments when its apparent to both parties that yes, true love is in the house and it’s time to make a commitment. It happened for my husband and me. We only dated for six weeks before he popped the question (we just celebrated our 11th anniversary last December).
But what might surprise you is that we spent time getting to know each other through email. In fact, we exchanged over 70 emails within four weeks before we had our first date. We were already falling in love with each other through our writing. Meeting one another in person just sealed the deal.
We all have stories of how someone seemed so wonderful “at first,” but then after a short time, discovered they really weren’t so wonderful after all. Sometimes this happens with businesses.
A sales rep may woo you with promises of extra features or 24/7 help desk attention. But then once you sign on the dotted line, you can’t get anyone to return your calls. You feel like the jilted wife who just got dumped for the young blonde at the health club. It’s a terrible feeling and has left many with buyers’ remorse.
This is why it’s so important to prove your business’ worth to your prospect before a commitment is made and then you must keep proving it after.
A prospect needs time to get to know you. And because of the economy, many companies are taking even longer to “get to know” your business before being ready to say “I do.”
So in this process, patience goes from being a virtue to a necessity. Content marketing helps give your prospect the information they need to make their decision. And this usually happens weeks, months, and even perhaps a year before your account representative gets the opportunity to speak with them.
A matchmaker is only as good as her matches. And the way she gets good is by knowing her clients inside and out and then knowing a potential suitor inside and out. Only when she knows what is important to both (and the deal-breakers), can she make the right match.
Let your content marketing do the filter work. As you nurture the leads that come as a result, you know that they’ve already been pre-qualified and that a possible commitment is just around the corner.
True love still can happen. It just takes communication and patience.