Yes, your prospects are busy. So how do you get their attention? One way is to keep writing content. Even if they’re too busy to look at your first 3 blog posts, they might have 5 minutes for the fourth.
Another way is to find different angles to the issue you’re tackling. One of them is bound to hit home. So even if your prospect is busy, he or she will have to put down what they’re doing because your headline has pulled them up short.
Drill down to find the themes.
This is what I do when I interview business leaders. I listen to their career story and start pulling out themes (angles) which will speak to different segments of their target audiences.
Here’s an example. It’s cropped up in many of my conversations and will interest you if you run your own business.
The value of having long-term clients.
My interviewees have talked about the value of loyal customers in a variety of ways. Here are some of the points they’ve made over the years:
- loyal clients help your bottom line, by giving you a regular income
- their existence means you spend less time hunting for new clients
- they give you useful feedback, which helps you to build your business
- they are your best referrers. They know you have a proven track record
- they represent a milestone, reminding you how far you have come
There are more than 5 angles to this topic, but I won’t list them all. There’s enough here to show you that these are all different illustrations of a unifying message: that loyal clients are valuable.
In one sense, you are just repeating that message. But by focusing on a different angle each time, you can appeal to different segments of your target audience – whether they are clients, colleagues or suppliers.
Try it for yourself.
Read through this list again. Does one of the angles strike a chord with you? Do the others wash over your head?
If you read this list in a year’s time, it’s likely that the angle that interests you today will not be the one that interests you 12 months from now. You, and your company, will have changed.
Today you might appreciate long-term clients for turnover reasons. Next year you might home in on their ability to refer you to other people.
It’s like revisiting a book you read when you a teenager. You will come away with a completely different impression, because you are 20/30/40 years (delete where applicable…) older. Life and the passage of time have made you see things differently.
The time when I was pulled up short.
As I mentioned, I’ve explored the topic of long-term clients a lot. This time, my interviewee’s perspective really hit home on a personal and professional level.
It hit home in a good way and it came from the Co-founder and Marketing Director of Make It China, Willow Hu (pictured fifth from right below).
Make It China are consultants and facilitators. They help successful brands in China to raise their profile more effectively in the West… and, at the same time, enable companies in the West to access the best products from China. There is more on how Make It China’s values and vision could help you here.
Willow points out that the marketing sector is a place where (if you’re unscrupulous) it’s all too easy to sell clients something they don’t need. Like a bulk load of pay-per-click advertising. This is a waste of money if your website is not up to scratch or your sales team doesn’t have the capacity to deal with all the extra enquiries that pay-per-click would bring.
And this is the context for Willow’s take on long-term clients. It’s about the mutual respect that those long-term relationships represent. You’ll never earn that respect or trust if you’re in the business of making a quick buck. Willow:
I think we have been around enough to know what we enjoy and where we get satisfaction from.
I like to be proud of the work that I do and also meet great people and form long-term relationships. It’s about those nice memories and the relationships you build with people. You don’t get that from overselling a product. It leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth and an uncomfortable feeling.
Why would you want to go through your working life doing that, when you can actually build relationships? It’s just more enjoyable when you can build great things together and look back and be proud of that achievement.
Turn of phrase and timing.
Why did this ring so true? Part of it was the turn of phrase.
Willow didn’t say ‘clients’ but ‘relationships’. She also painted a vivid picture of what can happen when a relationship is cut short: ‘a bad taste in your mouth’.
That made its opposite – the enjoyment of working with a client long term – even more powerful.
Another part of it was timing – the timing of when I heard Willow’s comment. It rang true because of the stage my company has reached. Without getting overly gushy, I’m also lucky enough to have some long-term relationships with clients. And Willow made me see them in a way I hadn’t consciously seen before.
I started to look back at what we’d achieved together. And Willow is right: I do have a sense of pride. Not a ‘look-at-me’ pride, but a ‘look-at-them’ pride; pride at seeing just how far these clients have come in terms of how they communicate about what they do. (Now I sound gushy and possibly patronising, so I’ll stop. But I hope you take what I’m saying in the spirit it’s meant.)
What this means to your business.
You’ll have messages about your business that you want to share with the world regularly. The danger is you might become jaded, because you feel you are repeating yourself.
But there will always be different angles to your core message that will appeal to different readers and – this is important – appeal to those readers at different times of their business life-cycle.
The trick is to spot:
- the many different angles to your story
- which angles will speak to different segments of your audience
- the right moment, when your words will reach your audience at their most receptive.
If you’d like my help to spot what those angles are, because you want to reach out to more clients, drop me an email now.