Customers won’t buy from brands they don’t know. It’s a core principle for digital marketing strategist Mack Collier. He has made a career of helping companies connect with their most loyal customers to drive real growth, “all with a Southern accent.”
One of his marketing tactics is to use blogs to build brand awareness in the right way. That’s part of his overall strategy to smartly sell with social media.
“Perhaps the reason companies cite the most for wanting to use social media is to ‘build awareness,’” Collier said. “They want to get the word out via social media about who they are, and what they do. The thinking is that if people know who we are, they can and will buy from us.
“There’s a fundamental flaw with this line of thinking,” he said. “You are selling to a group of people who don’t know who you are, so by extension, they don’t know why they should buy from you. Yet, companies do this every single day, and are confounded by the fact that their social media strategy isn’t driving sales.”
Collier captured much of this in his book, “Think Like a Rock Star: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies that Turn Customers into Fans.” He explains how using blogs to their best advantage pays great dividends.
“Many bloggers want to build awareness either for themselves or their business, or personal bloggers may want to build awareness for an idea or theme they are passionate about,” Collier said.
“But by default, if you are wanting to build awareness, you are wanting to connect with an audience who does not know you,” he said. “That’s why they are unaware and you are trying to raise awareness.”
Such recognition won’t occur if the blogger focuses inward rather than outward.
“How do you connect with an audience that doesn’t know who you are or why they should listen to you?” Collier said. “The last thing you should do is create content focused on you. Do not sell to an audience you want to build awareness with.
“When you are creating content to build awareness with your audience, you create content focused on that audience,” he said. “You don’t talk about yourself; you talk about them. That is what they know and is relevant to them.”
The key word is patience, rather than a futile rush to a sale.
“The big mistake a lot of bloggers make who want to ‘build awareness’ is they immediately start selling their products or services to that same audience,” Collier said. “You can’t do that. They don’t know who you are, and we don’t buy from people we don’t know or trust.”
Content highlighting the audience is very much in play.
“You talk about them,” Collier said. “You talk about who they are and how your stuff relates to them.
“After you do that for a while, they will become aware of who you are and want to learn more about your stuff,” he said. “That’s when you sell to them when they are ready to buy.”
In general, Collier said there are four stages of the buying cycle that a blogger’s content can address:
- Unaware: Content focused on the customer.
- Aware: Content focused on how your product fits into the customer’s life.
- Interested: Content focused on the product.
- Ready to Buy: Sell!
Collier agreed that when answering customer questions, talk less about you and more about them.
“This is a great way to create content that is immediately relevant to the audience you want to connect with,” he said. “When you go to a blog, what type of information are you looking for?
“You’re looking for some type of information relevant to you at that time,” Collier said. “Relevance should be the filter you always look through when creating content. Think: Who is my audience and how will this be relevant to them?”
This is why he adds that “a well-organized blog is key. A lot of people find blogs via search. If they can’t find what they are searching for within seconds of hitting your blog, they will probably leave.”