I’ve been working lately on a marketing dictionary. Ok, I’ve written two definitions so far. But as I run across marketing terms that are a little jargon-y to normal people (that is, those of us who aren’t marketing geeks), I go ahead and create a new one.
Creating a resource like this is one way to create marketing that gives value before you get a return. You’re digging the well before you get thirsty. When you create value that’s appealing and easy to find, you start to build a brand of helpfulness, trustworthiness, and expertise.
I used Squidoo because its tools are well-designed and easy to use (the technical part of creating a lens, not counting writing your copy and selecting the right images, takes maybe 20 minutes). Even nicer, Squidoo’s architecture can quickly give your lenses a decent Google ranking if you find the right topic. Adding links back to your site or blog from your Squidoo "lenses" (which are essentially tightly-focused micro Web sites) will help you do better on search engines, too. There are a lot of excellent white hat techniques for increasing SEO (search engine optimization), but Squidoo is one of the easiest.
Give me an example . . .
OK. Let’s say you own a winery (you lucky sod). You might create individual definitions for a number of wine terms. I’m not suggesting you create a true exhaustive dictionary. Instead, come up with 5 or 10 mini essays about selected terms that mean something to you, and that wine lovers want to know more about. Each definition needs to be personal, engaging, and interesting. Don’t just define brix, talk about how it applies to your experience of winemaking and their experience of wine tasting.
Think of the kinds of interesting conversations you have at a good party. That’s what you’re aiming for.
Then, on your Web site or blog, any time you happen to mention brix, link it back to the definition you’ve created. Your readers get a little gift of extra information when they click on it.
The definition lens itself should end with a paragraph about your winery and what makes it wonderful. The more personal, the better. Talk about why you love it. Talk about what your customers love about it. And make sure that people who are engaged know how to get hold of you to find out more.
Then what happens?
The interesting part is, you don’t know. All kinds of fascinating things happen when you cross-pollinate this way, especially when you don’t predetermine the next step. (There is a place for predetermining the path you want prospects to take, but consider throwing a few wild cards like this out as well.)
There is no call to action (or if there is, it’s a friendly invitation to come find out more about you). You’re not trying to sell wine from a Squidoo lens. All you’re doing is creating some additional doors for interesting opportunities to knock on.
Running a business is basically about doing something that you know how to do and your customers don’t. Leverage that knowledge to start building trust and recognition.
- Figure out what your customers want to know more about.
- Break interesting, useful information into chunks.
- Put it where people can find it.
- Make sure they know how to find you to continue the conversation.
It’s not an overnight strategy, far from it. But it’s a powerful one.