As a customer, I want to learn why I need to buy a solution. Can I solve the problem myself? What other options are available? How are my competitors solving this problem? Is there an up-and-coming solution that few have discovered? It may take one hour, one week, or one month before I learn what, why, how, and when to buy the solution that fits my unique needs.
Customers have options and they have autonomy. What type of content will prepare you for the several touchpoints along the customer journey?
A good place to start, is to focus on building lifelong relationships with each individual customer.
How to Build an Audience
Let’s say a baker just moved into town. This baker is particularly talented at making delicious artisanal loaves of bread. This baker, his name is Bob, he went to the local grocery store and paid the grocery store manager to aggregate the grocery store’s customer data to automatically curate a list of individuals who have purchased artisanal bread.
I love artisanal bread so naturally I am on Bob’s list.
Here is what it looks like from my point of view when Bob the baker tries to convince me to buy his bread.
I am sitting in my chair at my desk in my office. My wife is texting me. In four minutes I lead a meeting with my team in the conference room on the other side of the building. I am almost done watching this YouTube video my colleague sent me. Then, out of nowhere, this person who I can only guess is some type of cook or bakery worker walks in my office. I have never seen him before, but he starts speaking to me.
“Hey…your name is Daniel, right? You don’t know me, yet, but I’m Bob. Bob the baker. I just setup shop in your town. I have the best artisanal bread around. Best ingredients. Hand-made. You won’t find artisanal bread like this anywhere else. In fact, I have a fresh loaf of my artisanal bread right here with me. Interested in buying a loaf?”
Bob the bread baker, unfortunately, expended a great amount of energy, time, and resources to sell me a loaf of bread. The value he generated through this sales process is gone. He did not get a sale, and he does not have much to show for it as well.
This is similar to the cold call we all know and despise.
If Bobby positions himself in a grocery store, for example, where people are already shopping for artisanal bread, offers bread crumb free samples, and lets the people know he’s doing a free class on “the secret to baking the best bread” then he would more likely set himself up for success.
He could record the baking class on video, put it online, and scale his knowledge so that people who find his website online can see a video of how he does what he does.
The most famous chefs in the world go far beyond this step.
Successful startup founder, Jason Fried, writes about this concept often and has greatly influenced the mindset of other successful individuals who choose to follow his advice. Jason says that we should “emulate chefs”. Here’s a passage from Jason’s blog post, What’s your cookbook?
“Mario Batali, Julia Child, Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, Rick Bayless, etc. You probably know these chefs better than you know the chef of one of your favorite restaurants down the street.
These chefs give away their recipes, their secrets. They say “This is how I do it and you can do it too. Don’t worry, it’s not hard, just follow along.”
The more they give, the better off they are. The more they open up, the better off they are. The more they let you inside their kitchen the better off they are. These chefs have built empires by making their knowledge available to the public. They are astute business people.
If you’re looking for a way to break your business in a big way, follow their lead. How can you give away your formula, your secrets, your recipes? How can you give away what you know to increase your exposure and expertise?”