25 Oct How to Engage With Other Marketers: Cracking the Most Skeptical Audience
‘I read your article, “How to Engage With Other Marketers”, and I absolutely loved it.’
Have you seen something like that land in your inbox before? How about a dozen times?
Case study articles that lift the hood up on businesses are in vogue. The way in which companies have laid bare their results (both good and bad) is a tremendous display of authenticity.
However, marketers have started taking the material shared by other marketers and pasting it word-for-word in their email outreach. This works for a short time until it’s copied to death.
A comment by Tom Augenthaler from this post on Inbound.org says it best:
“Most of the campaign outreach templates are not great. Spend time crafting your own outreach communications. You’ll get better results.”
When marketing to other marketers with these publicly available tactics, it’s likely they’ve lost effectiveness before you’ve even begun testing them.
So, what can you do to engage with other marketers? What mindsets and approaches can you use to get their attention that moves away from this copy-and-paste approach?
I’m going to share some techniques that work well for us here at Grizzle. These are the same techniques I used when developing an outreach strategy and kick-start the business in the first place.
In fact, I enjoy a 5%+ conversion rate on the first cold email alone.
And no, there are no templates here.
These techniques will empower you to make effective marketing techniques of your own:
1. Research Micro-Challenges
Sure, every marketer wants more sales and leads.
But a value proposition that simply says “Grow Your Business” isn’t original. Nor does it focus on a specific challenge.
Instead, find the micro-challenge that your proposition solves. For example, our guest blogging methodology solves the challenge of reaching a wider audience and discovering new business opportunities.
This, in turn, leads to broader awareness and reach (it also proactively generates leads, but that’s another story).
These micro-challenges all contribute to what really matters – ROI, growth, leads, and sales. However, this message focuses on micro-challenges that are neither generic nor vague.
So, how can you uncover what these micro-challenges really are? I use two different approaches:
Talk to your customers.
You know how important this is. Everybody talks about it. But what does it actually look like?
Email them and ask them what they’re struggling with the most right now. Find ways to dig deep on specific problems. For us, that means asking what content marketing challenges they’re trying to overcome. It also means finding what they’re most dissatisfied with in this space and why.
You can go even deeper by talking to them face-to-face or by phone/Skype. Ask what they like about your product/service, what you could do better and what they’d like to see more of. This is also an opportunity to understand what other products or services you can offer.
The key is collecting enough qualitative data to make better decisions. This level of insight can inform your marketing message, content marketing strategy and even your product roadmap. It certainly does for us.
It’s likely that somebody else has already done the work for you. There’s content out there that will tell you exactly what these challenges are. It will also show you how to articulate it to your audience.
For example, a search for “content marketing challenges” yields several results with third party statistics, anecdotes, and the language I should be using. Here are just three examples from an article on the topic from HubSpot:
To dig deeper on more specific challenges, I could search for articles around “content distribution”. I would then pay attention to how the argument is articulated and make a note of specific challenges and benefits to use in my own marketing.
Search Google for relevant keywords and look deep into the top results. What arguments are being presented? Are there statistics or influencer quotes that back up certain points?
Use the stories and data you find to make your own marketing message more persuasive.
2. Seek Conventional Wisdom, Then do the Opposite
Marketing best practices exist for a reason. They’re founded upon years of testing and experience.
When testing new approaches, seek out these best practices. Then shamelessly ignore them.
In other words: if everyone is doing the same thing, then test doing the opposite.
This is exactly what I did when performing the initial outreach when validating Grizzle. Instead of short 3 sentence emails, I created a 279-word monster.
The result? A 10%+ response rate, 5 opportunities and 2 sales in the first week from the first email alone. Here are the stats from Tout. You’ll notice low click-throughs, and that’s because I’m trying to elicit a response to the email, not a click:
Not bad for cold email.
I did use a framework, which we’ll get to shortly. But I went against convention and listened to my gut, which said: “give these prospects as much information as they need”.
I do the same in my web copy, too. Each page provides a simple outline of what we do, why the reader should pay attention and why they should be interested in what we’re saying. It’s low on imagery and high on copywriting. And it generates a huge amount of interest as a result.
You could do this with anything – from AdWords to Facebook posts. In fact, Gary Vaynerchuk recently did this with his Facebook posts. Instead of writing short updates, he would post 500+ word essays, which generated a huge amount of engagement.
Do some “industry hopping”. Take things that have worked well in other industries and see if they can apply to your business. You may be in the B2B world, but if Dollar Shave Club can create videos predicated on humor, so can you.
3. Use a Framework
By saying “don’t copy and paste material”, I’m not saying “go in completely blind”.
I’m a huge fan of frameworks and use them as often as possible. It’s the content that goes within that architecture that you should be crafting yourself.
One I’m particularly fond of right now is SCQA. I learned this from James Harris at Seraph Science and it stands for “Situation, Complication, Question and Answer”.
The Situation is the current state of things. It’s what the world looks like and the challenge your customers need to overcome.
The Complication states why this is a problem specifically to your customer.
The Question draws the prospect in, providing an opportunity to make them think “yes, this person gets me!”
The Answer is your content, value proposition or call-to-action.
Go to any of my service pages and you’ll see this in action. I use it because it allows me to get my message out clearly and persuasively. It’s a guide you can follow to set the stage for your content or the value proposition you’re offering.
Alternatively, scroll up to the introduction of this article. You’ll see it in action there.
Each of these approaches depend upon your creativity and an ability to think with your own customers front of mind.
Ditch the templates, get an even better understanding of your audience and test some new, home-grown approaches. This is exactly what we do, and it’s working.
How are you currently engaging with audiences whose attention are hard to grab? Reach out to me on Twitter and let me know.