From interruption to education: The key mindset shift business owners need to grasp in 2016 and beyond

educate through content

Business owners need to change their mindset if they want to thrive in today’s socially-connected economy.

Old school marketing – interrupting people with your blatantly promotional messages – has always been a tough gig, but it’s getting tougher by the minute.

People are becoming super-savvy at blocking out incessant white noise; they simply have not got the time, the inclination or indeed the attention span to listen to your one-way messaging.

It’s a question of reframing the way you think about marketing and communications.

Think about who your competitors are. They’re not necessarily the guy down the (virtual) road who sells the same stuff as you to the same group of customers; no, your real competitor is the friend who sends his mates funny cat videos or weird Snapchat photos, family members who message one another on Facebook, and strangers who rattle off tweets about the football or the latest political party leadership spill. They are the ones you’re really competing with.

Did you know you’re trying to reach and communicate with people who have the attention span less than that of a goldfish? Think about that for a minute.

If we’re to resonate with our intended audience, we stand a far better chance if we understand what their desires, needs and challenges are and then provide relevant and timely information that educates, inspires and empowers them with knowledge around those motivations and pain-points.

Education is key!

So if your idea of marketing is to bang on about your products and services all the time, yelling at all and sundry about how great your company is, you’d better have deep pockets and be prepared to become frustrated when your efforts don’t yield the results you’re after.

But start being useful like Brian Goulet from US-based The Goulet Pen Company, whose helpful videos are super-effective in attracting people to his online store.

Or the Australian law firm Pod Legal, which has established a ‘Learning Centre’ section on its website to help people better understand trademarks, copyright and technology law.

Or Bluewire Media’s Adam Franklin and Toby Jenkins, who happily give away the bulk of their digital marketing knowledge and expertise via their blog, podcast and free marketing templates and ebooks; they’ve even built a library of over 150 business and web marketing books and encourage people to drop by their office and borrow them if they wish!

drowning in information

This is what’s called adding value over and above your products and services, and it’s a powerful PR and marketing strategy.

Leveraging social media and online publishing platforms to freely share your knowledge, ideas and expertise – without the expectation of getting anything in return – is a terrific way to cut through the marketplace clutter, get noticed and build rapport and trust with current and potential customers as well as influencers within your community or industry.

Best-selling author Tony Robbins once wrote that “we’re drowning in information, but we’re starving for wisdom”.

Make your mark for all the right reasons. Don’t merely add to the noise, but intentionally build recognition for your knowledge, ideas, expertise and insights. Your customers will thank you for it.

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