Expert Panel, Forbes Coaches Council
Today's consumers can be tough to satisfy. They're overstimulated with a constant influx of media, hyper-aware of sneaky advertising tactics and instantly skeptical of any brand that's trying to sell them on something.
For marketers, overcoming this challenge means finding ways to create fresh, relevant and, most importantly, valuable content that customers actually want to engage with. We asked members of Forbes Coaches Council to share their top creative marketing strategies for capturing audiences. Their best answers are below.
1. Be real.
People want someone they can believe in. They don't expect or even want you to be perfect, but they do want and expect you to be authentic. When marketing a product or service, share the pain behind the innovation that led to the breakthrough. Whether it's a spill on one's dress that led to a new cup design or a mean-spirited email that led to new communications training, keep it real. - Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell, Leading Through Living Community
2. Answer your phone and email in a timely manner.
This old-school, old-fashioned device traces its roots back to Alexander Graham Bell. How many leaders answer their phones at work? How many answer an email in a timely manner? It is uncharacteristically powerful for anyone to call any company and expect to get a person on the phone. So, make yourself available to engage powerfully, professionally and personally, and let your customers know. - John M. O'Connor, Career Pro Inc
3. Give valuable information away for free.
Give away 99% of your best stuff and save the top 1% for customers/clients. Those who can do it themselves will love you and come to you when they hit a plateau, and those who need help now know to come to you. Most people are so afraid of giving too much valuable information away that they never add any value at all. - Scott Swedberg, The Job Sauce
4. Sell your customers an outcome.
People do not buy services or products. What they buy is an outcome. As we prepare to market our services or products, what problems and pain points are you able to solve for them? That is your focus and how you should market to your clients and customers. That is the true secret to business marketing success. - Chris Cebollero, Cebollero & Associates
5. Co-create and collaborate with your audience.
Engage customers/clients in solving issues and in creating new solutions. Conduct a hackathon or contest to mine the collective intelligence of your diverse audience base. At best, you will come up with new product ideas; at the very least, you will increase awareness of your brand and connectivity to potential customers. - Shoma Chatterjee, ghSMART
6. Keep it simple.
We are constantly bombarded with words, noises and images. We need to create clarity and, thereby, simplicity in our message. Get very clear on who your audience is. Be sure that your "why" feeds and develops their "why" and that, by engaging with you, your audience members' lives are simplified and easier to manage. - Frances McIntosh, Intentional Coaching LLC
7. Be consistent about content placement.
The most effective marketing isn't always the most clever but rather the most consistent. The ability to consistently place your well-crafted image, your well-designed company logo and your important digital content will build awareness over time and lead to engagement. - Eddie Turner, Eddie Turner LLC
8. Connect with human needs.
Marketing that addresses our human motivations (think Maslow’s hierarchy of needs), such as safety and security, are often the most successful. Audiences are compelled when they are able to connect on a personal level with the content they see, hear and read. The best brands connect to emotions, life’s struggles and basic needs. - Kyle Elliott, MPA, CHES, Kyle Elliott Consulting - CaffeinatedKyle.com
9. Appeal to your audience's emotions.
Keep messaging and storylines simple, memorable, relevant and real. Emotionally connect with the audience by showing versus telling. This could be through the use of music, video, imagery, typography or sensation. Narration is optional if the story is impactful. - Joanne Markow, GreenMason
10. Say less and listen more.
The easiest thing a marketer can do is share tons of content, slash prices and promote a product consistently. But there is great value in stopping to ask what it is people are looking for and why. Listening to your ideal customers will help you share a marketing message so specific that people will think you are reading their minds. Listening is the key to working smart. - Ilean Harris, Ilean Harris
11. Break a thought pattern.
The most creative and crucial form of marketing you can use is breaking the thoughts pattern of your target audience. After knowing what kind of message and visual is best for your audience, you can use humor, desire or other strong emotions to get the viewers to stop what they are doing and start engaging with the ad. - Simone Vincenzi, GTeX Ltd
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