Slowly but surely, value became an overused buzzword that marketers continue to offer up when pitching you their newest idea for your brand. While the word itself may have lost its teeth, the idea behind offering value to your customers is strengthening daily.
You see, our brands now operate in a world where they have limited control over the message. Consumers are running the show through social media, vlogs, blogs, and a host of other media options where they’re able to share honest opinions about your brand. In short, word of mouth has never been stronger.
This isn’t a bad thing, though. It’s actually great for your brand. You see, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as their friends. Think about that. The more your brand is being talked about online, the better it is for you. That is, if you’re getting rave reviews.
This is where value comes in. What are you offering to your customers? How are you demonstrating to them that they are important to you? How are you establishing trust and building a relationship with these people?
If you’re not uncomfortable giving it away, it’s probably not valuable enough.
Unpopular opinion number one: If you don’t feel uncomfortable giving something away, it’s probably not as powerful or as valuable as you think.
Let me explain.
You’ve created something to educate your customers — say a social media guide. You put blood, sweat, and tears into this thing. You’re giving away a lot of great information. You’ve done your research. You’ve put the time in. This is your baby. When it’s all said and done, you feel uncomfortable just giving it away. You feel like everyone is getting the milk for free, so to speak.
Listen. This isn’t always the case. And, to be clear, your time is just as valuable as your consumers’ time. But what you have to understand is this: Your consumers? They’re the ones in control. They’re the ones who have every brand vying and scrambling for their attention. They’re the ones making the choices.
You have to ask yourself how you’re going to make their choice the easiest one they’ve ever made.
Just because you think it’s great, doesn’t mean your customers agree.
Unpopular opinion number two: Creating value starts with your customers, not with your opinion.
This — thankfully! — is a more popular opinion now than it ever has been. And why shouldn’t it be? Why wouldn’t you start with your customers in mind? It sounds completely backward not to, but marketers and brands have been doing it for years.
You see, a lot of us have been in the business for a long time. And by us, I mean marketing sherpas, business owners, and entrepreneurs. We’ve seen some stuff and learned the ropes. We’ve been in the thick of it. In short, we’ve learned a lot.
But that doesn’t mean, well, anything.
What actually matters? Your customers.
Talk to your people. Ask them questions. Learn about them. Care about them. Grow with them. Use empathy to understand who they are. Create buyer personas and dive deep, deep into their psyche. Make life easier for them.
You have a literal treasure trove of information at your fingertips through social media. Invest the time into building your tribe online and then connect with them. This takes time, effort, and a whole lotta patience. But, I promise, it’s worth it.
When in doubt, become an authority in your industry.
At Drive, we talk a lot about building an online reputation instead of building a social media presence. While social media is a massive tool you should have in your toolbelt, it’s just a piece of your online reputation.
We suggest finding ways to become an authority. Speak at events. Write blog posts. Guest blog on other sites. Talk to different websites within your field and ask if you can write articles for them. Get out in the community and talk to people. Do an audit of online groups and forums within your industry then become a part of them to offer strong guidance, advice, and information.
Here’s the key: Don’t expect anything in return. Operate with altruism, authenticity, and honesty in all forms. Use humility and care. Really listen to your people and see how your business flourishes.
In short, adding true value to your customers’ lives is one of the best ways to grow your business. Give a little effort and a little time, you’ll see your return in spades.