Everyone wants to know the secret ingredient. Nothing would be easier in marketing than that magical element that just makes everything come together. That one ingredient that makes your services that much better than everyone else’s.
In Kung Fu Panda, there’s a scene where Po makes the “secret ingredient soup” that his ‘father’ makes in his restaurant. The others compliment it on how great the soup is. And he responds, “it’s not as good as my dad’s.” When they ask why, he explains that he doesn’t know the secret ingredient.
Later on in the movie, his dad decides to tell him the secret ingredient to the secret ingredient soup. There is no secret ingredient!
Or perhaps more accurately, the secret ingredient is actually Po’s passion for the soup. His experience combines with his passion for delicious soup to create the “secret ingredient.”
So what’s the secret ingredient for Content Marketing?
I’ll give you a hint. It’s not green or yellow buttons. It’s also not having your call to action above the fold. Nor is it any of the other myriad of tricks marketers shout through their internet bullhorns today. Those certainly help. But they’re not the secret ingredient.
But the secret ingredient exists. It keeps your audience coming back again and again. And it doesn’t cost you a penny.
In fact, this secret ingredient appears in Dale Carnegie’s book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Carnegie relates a story told by a arts and crafts teacher.
Chris was a very quiet, shy boy lacking in self-confidence, the kind of student that often does not receive the attention he deserves… …I asked Chris if he would like to be in the advanced class. How I wish I could express the look in Chris’s face, the emotions in that shy fourteen-year old boy trying to hold back his tears.
Dale Carnegie relates this story because he wants his readers to understand something. One ‘secret ingredient’ that can make somebody instantly like you. Make that person feel important. But it’s not good enough just to say something that you hope makes them feel important. You have to be sincere about it too.
This principle carries over into business. You have to be able to see your prospects as important. And more importantly, you have to be able to communicate that to them through your marketing.
Now it would be great if you already mastered this principle. And I’m sure many of you have. But if you’re more like me… if you sometimes struggle to see the value of some of the people in your life… Here are a couple ideas to get you started.
See Prospects As Real People with Real Problems
It’s tempting to say you should value your prospect because they represent a revenue stream. And that is one reason to value them. But certainly not the best.
People should be important because they’re people. And ultimately, they want to be important. But as people, they have problems they want solved. Without those problems, you wouldn’t have a business. Your business delivers a solution that they can believe in.
If people are important to you, you’ll find it much easier to communicate that you authentically want to solve their problems. If they’re just numbers to pay your premiums or price tags, that will ultimately come across as well. They might not be able to put it into words, but people will recognize your attitude toward them in your marketing.
Of course, they’re also important because they’re investing their hard earned money in your solution. But if they didn’t feel the need for what you provide, then they wouldn’t pay a dime for it.
This brings me to another way you can grow to appreciate your audience more.
Realize They’ll Tell a Story About You
I recently ran across a product that’s been making waves on social media for quite some time now. Perhaps you’ve heard of it already as well. The particular product that I saw was the “Pink Drink,” which you may already know is produced by Plexus.
The thing that intrigued me, though, was what people said about it.
People raved on social media about Plexus. When they talked, it was so much more than just relating experiences or recommending a product. Many would even talk about how Plexus changed their life. One person had bad reflux for years, but after only a few months of Plexus it was gone completely! Others were ecstatic about how easy it was to control their weight. Still others finally enjoyed meals without worrying about digestive issues afterward.
Plexus enjoyed much of its success because of these real people praising their brand on social media. Of course, the concept of brand ambassadors also contributed greatly to these stories. We don’t have time to explore brand ambassadors in this post. But it’s so important to understand that we’ll talk about it in the future.
Now were there detractors? Of course. No matter how good your product or service is, it won’t work for everyone. But that’s fine. You just need the right people to get it, and your positive stories will far outweigh your negative stories.
And most important, people tend to trust the word of someone they know over hundreds of strangers. I can go on Amazon and see 600 reviews on a product with an average 4+ star rating. And I might still hesitate to buy it. But if someone I know says the product worked great for them, I’m sold.
And then there’s the last reason you should really value your audience…
Bottom Line: Audience Determines Your Reputation
Entrepreneur posted an article back in 2013 about Social Media and its effect on your business. And the impact only increased since then. Today, social media’s influence surpasses even most news organizations.
Personally, your friends and society might give you a lot of leeway when it comes to social media. But as a business, everything you say online will be closely examined. This may not be a game changer for large organizations like Hollywood, Amazon, or other corporate giants. But the firestorm that Social Media can ignite devastates many businesses.
But how you respond can be even more devastating. Answering irate customers by name-calling like this company will only bring more ire. Even if a customer’s unreasonable, answering with a class act will always result in a win for you. Most of all, showing that you value all customers, even the disgruntled ones, really helps your reputation skyrocket.
So if you’re looking for that secret ingredient, remember it’s right in front of you. You just need passion for your business and your audience. Once your content reflects this passion, people will rave about your services. And you’ll be there to guide the conversation.