How to serve your audience before you Sell to them
In today’s episode, we will talk about the importance of serving your audience before you sell to them.
If I’ve learned anything from 2020, it’s that nurturing one’s audience is of the utmost importance, especially in times of crisis.
In the wake of the announcement that we were to shelter in place in March of last year, I received dozens of emails and social media communications from companies I hadn’t heard from in months (and in some cases, YEARS) all of a sudden asking me for my support.
You probably got a lot of those types of emails too, and if you are anything like me, you were at least slightly annoyed.
Listen, I don’t blame these companies. We had no idea how to handle that situation at the time, but what I will say is this: the companies that had consistently shown up in my inbox and my social media feed before the lockdown didn’t need to ask for my support. I was already giving it.
I say this to highlight the importance of showing up and nurturing your audience consistently rather than only showing up when you need something.
That way, when shit hits the fan (like in this global pandemic), your audience doesn’t feel like your parents did when you would only ever call them for money because you were on your last Cup O’Noodles (sorry, mom!)
Here are the three things you should do to serve your audience before you sell to them:
- Share Valuable Content 80% of the time and give direct calls-to-action 20% of the time.
- Give excellent customer service on social media by responding to your comments and DMs quickly.
- Be consistent in your digital marketing communications by sharing content at least once per week.
The first way you can serve your audience before you sell to them is to share valuable content--be that on social media or in your emails.
As social media expert, Claire Diaz Ortiz says in her book Social Media Success for Every Brand: Think of your marketing like a bank account. The number one rule with a bank account is to always deposit more than you withdraw right? Sharing value-driven content in your emails and social media is how you make deposits, whereas withdrawals happen when you ask for a sale.
This is why I recommend following the Pareto Principle, aka the 80/20 rule in your marketing. Chelsea and I touched briefly on this in episode 2, but today we are going to dive deeper into it!
In general, the Pareto Principle states that 80 percent of our results come from 20 percent of our efforts (and vice versa) but in social media and marketing speak, it means that we should be nurturing and giving value to our audiences 80% of the time and only actively selling to them 20% of the time.
Here is how the 80/20 rule can look for wine brands:
- Sharing recent wine scores or testimonials from your audience.
- Behind-the-scenes about what you’re up to in the winery.
- A recipe with a wine pairing suggestion
- An Interview with your vineyard manager about what’s up in the vineyard
- Information about your next wine being released with a direct call-to-action to purchase
Notice how we gave value without a direct call-to-action 80% of the time, and then asked for the sale in the last post or email? Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t give subtle sales nudges in your nurturing content (for example, in the recipe post or email, you could tell your audience where they can find the wine you are suggesting for these food pairings) but the point is that you are leading with value before you ask for the sale.
If you have a month coming up where you are planning to sell more frequently, like during the winter holiday season, for example, that just means you need to share value-driven content more frequently during that time. Remember, you always want to make sure you are depositing more than you withdraw.
The idea of these nurturing posts and emails is to turn your warm leads into hot leads, so by the time those direct calls-to-action come around, your audience will be chomping at the bit to purchase your wine!
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Okay, the final thing you need to do to serve your audience before you sell to them is to get consistent.
Weekly emails and social media posts are some of the best ways to ensure your brand is staying top of mind. Honestly, one of the things that bugged me most about all of a sudden getting bombarded with a ton of emails and social media posts was that the majority of these communications were from brands I rarely, if ever, heard from.
As I mentioned earlier, some of these brands I hadn’t heard from in YEARS.
It made me feel like I was just a number to these companies, rather than a valued customer, which was really gross. I ended up unsubscribing from over 20 different email lists and unfollowed even more brands on Instagram in March.
It was the brands I had heard from consistently that I stayed subscribed to and continued following; in fact, they were the brands I ended up feeling good about supporting with my purchases.
If you are having a hard time being consistent with your communications, be that on social media or with your email list, I highly recommend starting by setting only two days a week where you will communicate with your audience and then growing from there.
This could be something like Monday you send an email to your email list and then Wednesday you create a social media post communicating the same information you communicated in your email list. Once you’ve made that a habit, you can start sharing more content from there!
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Resources Mentioned in this Episode: