When it comes to closing the sale, there are brute force marketing tactics, and then there are softer, less direct techniques. In recent years, inbound and content marketing has taken off. This isn’t surprising, really. Web 2.0 and social media have empowered customers like never before.
These days, consumers want to deal with brands, not companies. More to the point, they want to deal with the people—the faces—behind the brand. One way to capitalize on this change is to embrace attraction marketing.
With attraction marketing, you can establish yourself—or key employees—as thought leaders in their space. This is a long-term strategy, but it can translate into consistent sales.
In this post, we’ll demystify the attraction marketing process, touching on key components and specific tactics. One single post can’t cover all of the nitty gritty, but you will come away with a clear idea of how to start, and perhaps more importantly, you’ll know what not to do.
Let’s get started.
Components of an Attraction Marketing Campaign
In short, attraction marketing is a technique that allows you to enhance your brand presence, thereby enabling you to passively attract leads over time. It incorporates elements of both inbound and content marketing but places a strong emphasis on brand quality and integrity.
You can use attraction marketing to set yourself apart from your competitors and position yourself as a thought leader in your space.
What’s in a Story?
Before we look at specific strategies, we want to touch on the dumbfounding power of brand story.
Why is this important?
With attraction marketing, you can tailor your marketing techniques to your buyer personas. As you know, these personas, which you create from research, data, and analysis of your current customers, are integral to your inbound marketing efforts.
Attraction marketing is all about making your brand more alluring to your brand personas. That’s the name of the game. If you accomplish that, you’ll find yourself in the enviable position of receiving a steady stream of free leads.
What is an engaging story? Well, let us tell you what it is not. It’s not your mission statement. It’s not your “About Us” page, either.
Consider this brief example.
Both Reebok and Nike were started by people who wanted to make better running shoes.
Reebok’s innovation was the spiked running shoe, which provided superior traction, while Nike introduced the waffle sole running shoe. Both companies had powerful brands: Reebok is named after a sleek, lightning-fast African gazelle, and Nike is the winged messenger of the gods, after all.
This powerful brand positioning allowed both companies to flourish in the 1980s. Further, both companies leveraged this initial growth by signing celebrity athletes to promote their products.
But by the 1990s, something had changed: Nike had pulled well ahead in the race for consumer affection, attention and money.
”Nike is hitting on all cylinders,” said Alice Ruth, a financial analyst for Montgomery Securities. ”They lead the race in terms of consumer demand and retailers’ confidence in the brand. There is one buzzword among retailers now, and that’s Nike.”
To put it frankly, Reebok lost focus. Instead of building on their story—the passion that their founders had for creating innovative sports gear—they veered off in a different direction with their Rebook lets U.B.U campaign.
Ultimately, this diversification of product confused consumers, which was all Nike needed to pull ahead—way ahead.
Reebok’s mistake wasn’t that they tried to differentiate themselves from their main competitor. There’s nothing wrong with that. No, the misstep was in deviating from their true story.
Instead of making further innovations in the running shoe niche, they branched out into other sports gear niches—many of which were saturated. But those products didn’t necessarily resonate with their loyal customers.
Meanwhile, Nike continued building their brand. They continued their story branding campaign. Today, the company enjoys over $2-billion in annual sales.
So take it from them: story branding, just do it.
This, of course, brings us back to the idea of the buyer persona.
- What is my brand story?
- How does it set me apart from my competition?
- How does it appeal to my buyer personas and how well do they relate to it?
- Am I staying true to my brand story in my overall advertising and marketing campaigns?
Need more examples of the importance of adhering to company story?
Study these massive flops:
- New Coke – How did Coca-Cola get it so wrong when the market research surrounding taste was so promising? – Read More
- Crystal Pepsi – Crystal Pepsi was definitely weird, and it was such a fun sort of gimmick that it was almost possible to believe it might just catch on. You might even get all the nostalgic feel at just the thought of drinking one. But it absolutely did not catch on — in fact, it completely bombed — and the story of why Crystal Pepsi failed is a weird one. – Read More
- The Virtual Boy, from Nintendo – the Virtual Boy didn’t click with customers, and it was discontinued less than a year after its debut. With around 770,000 units sold, it remains Nintendo’s worst-selling console of all time. – Read More
- The Sony Betamax – the Betamax versus VHS dispels the notion that simply being first to market is the most important issue. It reminds us that technical excellence in one area isn’t enough — here the superior picture quality of Betamax — but that all technical aspects matter. For any mass manufactured object, the winner is usually the one that is just good enough. – Read More
- The Ford Edsel – The “car of the future” is now a cautionary tale in business classrooms, though there were actually a few winners in the case of the Edsel. That flop of a car is now a rare collector’s item. – Read More
- RJ Reynolds’ Smokeless Cigarettes – Smokers who tried the Premier reported a variety of disagreeable traits in the cigarette, which is also facing medical review on both state and Federal levels. The smokers complained, among other things, that the cigarette has an unpleasant smell, that it lacks flavor, that it does not burn down like a normal cigarette and that it is too hot to hold. – Read More
. You can also read about how to build a proper medical brand.
- Coors Rocky Mountain Spring Water – The vastly evident mistake that the company did was that they kept the Coors logo front and center on the label; the same logo as was on their beer. This may have confused consumers and worried them about the presence of alcohol in the water. There was also a lot of criticism for using pure spring water in the production of beer. Eventually, Coors discontinued its bottled water trademark in 1997. – Read More
- Apple Newton – in the history of those killings, nothing compared to the Apple Newton MessagePad. The Newton wasn’t just killed, it was violently murdered, dragged into a closet by its hair and kicked to death in its youth by one of technology’s great men. – Read More
Finally, take a quick look at the Arch Deluxe burger from McDonald’s. This sandwich, released in 1996 in the U.S., was designed to appeal to ‘urban sophisticates.’
But what leaps out at you immediately? When you think of the McDonald’s story, do the words ‘urban sophisticates’ come to mind? Probably not.
The burger wasn’t designed to appeal to their core customer base. The company’s next attempt to appeal to a wider customer base, McCafé, was more successful, however. The difference, of course, is that the company could sell the McCafé items alongside their usual fair—these new drinks did not compete with the established menu items.
Now let’s look at the three key components of attraction marketing.
COMPONENT #1: AN OPTIMIZED WEBSITE & STELLAR CONTENT
First off, you’ll want to ensure that your website is fast, fluid and focused. Strive to drive loading times as low as possible. When you create content, you want your visitors to dive right in. Long loading times lead to a high bounce rate.
While you will use other platforms to tell your stories, your website will always be the primary nexus through which you’ll interact with customers. When creating content, use keywords naturally. Don’t hyper-focus on SEO. Just tell honest, engaging stories, consistently, and the traffic will follow.
The days of keyword stuffing to get ranked are long over.
COMPONENT #2: THOUGHT LEADERSHIP
Once you’ve optimized your website, it’s time to start thinking—or to take a fresh look at—the type of content you’re going to create. Your content should be useful to your visitors. That is to say, it should solve a problem. A natural way to do this is to ask yourself: what types of content would you create if you were a thought leader in your industry?
Framing it in this way will keep you focused on how you can best help your potential customers solve problems.
Not coincidentally, becoming a thought leader in your space is necessary if you want to get the most out of attraction marketing. You must demonstrate, again and again, that you are an authority.
This is, of course, where your content comes in. But thought leadership is about more than having quality content sitting on your domain. It’s about reputation. Your content must be so useful to people that they gladly share it with their peers. That’s how you become a thought leader.
One shortcut to becoming an authority in your space is to broaden the types of content you produce. If, for instance, you currently only produce YouTube videos, consider starting a blog. If you have a thriving Pinterest presence, consider branching out into YouTube, or starting a podcast. A diverse content strategy will get your name out there—but remember: content may be king, but the quality is supreme.
Broadening your presence in this way will also help you stand out more than your competition.
COMPONENT #3: LEAD NURTURING
As you work to become an authority in your space, leads will begin to trickle in. But this attention won’t do you any good if you let these opportunities slip through your fingers. You must take these leads, whether they come from a trade show, through social media channels or inbound marketing, through their own buyer journey.
According to MarketingSherpa, 65 percent of B2B marketers have not established lead nurturing strategies. Think of all the money they’re—or you’re—leaving on the table.
We’ll go through several methods of nurturing leads later in this guide, but for now, let’s take a closer look at content.
What Quality Content Does For You
In a broad sense, content is any material you put on your website for others to consume. However, effective content is:
- Easily digestible
- Easy to share
Effective content is the cornerstone of your attraction marketing campaign. Consistently delivering quality content to your customers and fans will help you strengthen your brand. It will help you gain valuable brand ambassadors who will gladly spread your content for you—for free.
Key Elements of Effective Content
In this section, we’ll discuss the three key elements of effective content for attraction marketing campaigns.
Element #1: Trust-building
Attraction marketing is all about trust. Consumers will come to your website for help solving a problem, and along the way, they’ll end up buying from you.
Because consumers prefer to buy from brands they know and trust.
Remember: trust always wins.
To this end, each piece of content you publish should further your goal of earning the customer’s trust. This doesn’t mean only publishing, say, How-To guides. It means publishing with integrity. Don’t publish anything to your blog, social media channels or YouTube channel that you wouldn’t publish in your own name.
The key here is consistency.
Element #2: Virality
Social media marketing is a huge component of attraction marketing. Create content with this in mind. Content that you create for an online blog is different than, say, content you would create for a white paper or non-fiction book.
When writing for an online audience, you should keep paragraphs short and, in general, stick to one idea per paragraph. Here is a good read on how we use this tactic in marketing a clothing brand.
Consider this: when someone visits your site, you’re probably competing with at least five other open tabs. If you write dense paragraphs, using unnecessarily big words, you’re going to lose them.
Worse, these people will be less likely to share your blog with others. Therefore, always write with virality in mind. Master the fine art of conveying the necessary information in as few words as possible.
This doesn’t mean that you should create 500-word posts that are completely devoid of personality—quite the opposite, actually. Always write so that your personality shines through, but do so with sincerity.
Element #3: Authenticity
When you create content for your company, you’re building your brand, and you’re writing your story. Therefore, it’s crucial that you speak with authenticity at all times. Consumers respond to authenticity. Consider these brands:
These brands are all trusted to produce quality goods. But think about the story behind each, and think about the place they have in Western culture. These brands are intertwined with our very cultural identity. To get to where they are from obscurity requires authenticity.
Create content with this in mind. With every word, with every tip or video, you are creating your legacy.
Element #4: Responsiveness & Interactivity
Content is not one-and-done. When attempting attraction marketing, one of your primary objectives is to encourage interaction—questions and comments. Naturally, then, it’s important to respond to these comments when they start rolling in.
This can be a chore but remember: this is what you wanted. If your generating comments, you’re definitely doing something right. Keep going.
Don’t let your next blog post, video, tweet or pin die. Respond to all comments so that you encourage even more interaction.
Element #5: Value
Everything you publish should further your agenda of becoming a thought leader in your space. Therefore, every post, video, pin or tweet should have value. How do you give value? Know your customer’s pain points. What problems do your customers have? How can you help them solve them?
Note: this isn’t about promoting your own products and services.
Start with your product and service and branch out. What can you offer them, for free, that will make their lives easier? Think of this as a loss leader. You’re investing time to share your knowledge. In return, you’re building a reputation that will earn you more sales in the long term.
It all comes back to building your brand.
How to Nurture Leads
Nurturing leads is all about reaching out to people who have indicated an interest in your product, service or brand. If the content is the spark that gets attraction marketing going, outreach is the engine that drives it. So let’s look at four powerful ways you can start nurturing leads today.
Method #1: Start Now
You don’t need to wait until a customer has exhibited purchase intent to begin nurturing leads—not when you’re building your brand with attraction marketing. Go ahead and cash in on the authority and brand presence you’ve already generated.
You can, for instance, begin the lead nurturing process as soon as someone subscribes to your blog, podcast or email newsletter. Just don’t be overbearing or pushy.
For instance, once someone subscribes to your email newsletter, you can send them a sequence of useful content that helps them in some way. This sequence may end with a brief introduction to your product or service value which—surprise, surprise—solves their problem much faster.
When a lead expresses interest at this point, you simply help them opt into a more targeted, more product-focused, campaign.
Similarly, if you host a podcast as part of your outreach, you can direct listeners to various opt-in points on your website.
Method #2: Personalize Your Outreach & Provide Value
Email marketing will always be a powerful lead nurturing tool, but don’t overdo it. Striking the right balance between sending messages too frequently and not often enough is tough. Send too often, and you’ll be exiled to the spam folder. Don’t send often enough, and the lead goes cold.
Consequently, when you send emails out to your list, you should personalize them as much as possible. Email marketing services provide premium tools that allow you to do this without much fuss. With today’s marketing technology, you can sort leads by interest, behavior, name, and demographics.
You can also:
- Use list segmentation to target a specific behavior.
- Use list segmentation to target a specific group.
- If sending an email to members of a specific organization or group, incorporate details about the said group in the email itself.
Never send out email “blasts.” This will get you marked as spam, and more and more consumers are learning to use more advanced filtering features. If you don’t personalize your email messages, you may find that your emails go straight to the trash.
As mentioned, it’s a good idea to package your marketing emails with valuable content. This can be a link to a new blog post or a helpful email series that helps the consumer solve a problem. As the saying goes, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.
Additionally, you’ll want to avoid sending emails every day. Consumers may have tolerated this type of high-pressure marketing in 2000, but times have changed.
Method #3: Keep the Buyer’s Journey in Mind
Think about your buyer persona for a moment. What stage of the buyer’s journey are they in? What content can you provide them that will genuinely help them, but also move them closer to making a purchase?
In all of your outreach channels, you want to think about which phase your prospect may be in. These phases are:
- The Awareness Phase. The customer knows they have a problem, but they don’t know how to solve it. Provide these leads to educational blog posts, YouTube videos, podcasts, etc. This is where you want to demonstrate that you’re a thought leader.
- The Consideration Phase. The consumer knows there are solutions available for purchase and is looking at various options. Invite these leads to instructional webinars and product demos. Offer them access to a free trial if applicable.
- The Decision Phase. The customer has assessed their options and is ready to make a decision. Provide leads in this phase with customer success stories, testimonials, and product reviews.
If you have many leads and aren’t sure how to group them, ask yourself: what did they download? What content of yours have they accessed? Where did they first encounter you?
Method #4: Stay Focused on Pain Points
As you’ve probably figured out by now, attraction marketing is about moving away from self-serving marketing content toward content that actually benefits consumers.
So ask yourself, when reaching out to leads, what are their pain points? How can you address these pain points without giving away the farm? Consumers remember brands that help them out.
A popular method used by many businesses is to create an ebook or white paper that addresses a pain point their customers share and release it for free. This seems a rather obvious tactic until you consider that many businesses won’t bother.
What do you think the effect will be, over time, if you do this but your competitors don’t? Might this help you establish yourself as a trusted thought leader? Might this help you gain valuable brand ambassadors?
Want an example of a company that understands the power of the loss leader? Look no further than HubSpot. Their free ebooks have been downloaded thousands of times, and they’ve allowed the company to net clients they may have otherwise missed out on.
We hope this concise guide has helped you decide if attraction marketing is for you. It can be a very powerful technique for those willing to invest the time, money and energy.