Chances are, your future customers aren’t yet searching for information about your brand. They aren’t yet thinking about brands. They are thinking about their lives. How you fit in their lives isn’t yet their main concern.
Before anyone becomes a customer of your brand, you first need to attract their interest. You need something to say they’ll care about. Attraction can seem mysterious. Startups, in particular, have a strong need to attract and build interest. They want interest in their product to grow. To attract more prospects, startups will want to:
- Understand the motivations of customers that lead to attention.
- Understand some key indicators of customer attraction.
During the attraction phase, prospects can be cautious, hesitant to make commitments. They first want to explore their needs and desires. They need to feel they can trust a brand before they will spend money with them. That’s especially true when they encounter startup brands they don’t know.
For their part, startups need to woo prospects without burning too much cash. Incentives and ads are costly and push the cost of acquiring customers too high. Content is a critical tool to woo prospects cost-effectively. Attraction from the Customer’s Perspective
…when a prospect becomes aware of what your brand has to say…
…about a situation that matters to them.
Content that attracts interest will build awareness of a brand. Your future customer doesn’t see themselves as a lead. They are someone looking for information. They are browsing content that seems interesting. What is interesting to prospects? It’s content that seems interested in them. Interesting content is relevant and rewarding.
What Customers Consider Relevant?
Prospects want content that helps them understand their current situation better. Relevant content answers why the prospect’s situation is how it is. Do they have a problem? Is it serious? Do they have an opportunity? Is it possible?
Relevant content addresses what a prospect may need to change. As we all know, making changes can be hard. Inertia holds us back. Learning something new takes effort.
Your content needs to make a change appealing. Prospects should feel rewarded when viewing your content. A prospect starts off researching the nature of their situation. They slowly start to form an opinion about their situation.
Perhaps they will type some keywords into Google. They may search on terms like:
- Reduce or increase.
They may seek to understand market trends. Or explore monetary or time benefits of making a change in their lives or business. They may listen to stories. Try quizzes. Scan explanatory graphics.
Is your content part of their journey? Or will they pay attention to content created by others?
Growth hacking success requires understanding the mindset of prospective customers. Before a prospect commits to your product, your brand needs to show it is committed to their success.
Attraction from the Startup Perspective:
Startups need to grow quickly. They need more customers to do that. But startups typically aren’t well known. Potential buyers aren’t aware of their brand. Startups can try many ways to build more brand awareness. They can buy ads, or do PR. But content is the best way for startups to build a connection with potential buyers. The right content can generate more web traffic, and increase awareness of your brand. But web traffic is an imperfect measure of interest.
Startups need metrics that show the depth of interest from different prospects. They need to measure whether they are earning the trust of prospects. What are the signals that indicate that prospects trust what the brand has to say?
The simplest indicators measure whether people keep reading or viewing what you have to say.
- Do people return to visit your website?
- Do they sign up for your newsletter?
- After seeing your content, do they want to keep hearing what you have to say?
When prospects continue to engage with your content, it signals you are earning their trust. How do brands build a virtuous circle, where prospects read their content and want more?
Attracting with Distinctive Content:
Most marketers create generic content. There isn’t much that’s special about it. So it doesn’t attract much interest. Prospects hear a lot of noise — different brands saying similar things.
If your content is distinctive, it will likely perform better. Your content won’t attract attention if prospects consider it part of “the herd” — the mass of brands promising the same generic vision of a better future. Herds don’t seem very welcoming. When the herd forms a stampede, people run to get out of the way.
In the awareness stage, your content is shaping the prospect’s impression of your brand. Your content has an opportunity to be distinctive in terms of what it discusses, and how.
Your content should address topics that are top-of-mind for the audiences you are trying to reach. Readers read content that’s helpful, not pushy or lecturing. Use a wide lens to look at the prospect’s situation, instead of talking about your solutions.
Startups are driven by the need to grow. They’re in a hurry to evangelize their solutions. They believe in change and want to sell others on the benefits of change.That agenda is commendable. But that’s not the prospect’s agenda.
Prospects must first buy into that vision of change. Remember: prospects can be tentative about making changes. They need to feel the change is relevant — and rewarding. To build trust, startup brands should make sure prospects have enough time to get acquainted with them and their thinking. Attraction takes time. Selling change requires persistence — and a degree of patience.
Making Content Rewarding:
To a prospect, change may feel exciting but stressful. The prospect thinks: Everyone is telling me to do something. Yet the prospect wants to make changes on their own terms, not someone else’s. To get prospects excited by the idea of change, you’ll need to inspire them to embrace a new point of view. Not “thought leadership” that tries too hard to seem self-important. Prospects will notice a point of view that’s fresh and an attitude that’s encouraging.
Prospects are attracted to content that’s practical and approachable. Content that supports incremental changes in their thinking and actions. Content that rewards them by being enjoyable and practical. Startups can benchmark how well they address topics compared with other brands. They should ask themselves: What’s better about their advice compared with advice offered by others?
To attract prospects content should have a distinct point of view, and be appealing. The best content has an elusive quality: it feels special. A good tactic is to do a competitive audit of your content.
- Does your content say the same things, and sound the same as your competitors?
- Do any competitors reach your prospects with different content that’s more appealing?
Few startups perform a competitive audit of their content. Yet they wonder why they aren’t developing as many leads as they’d like. Marketers tend to view content as a tool to generate leads. Growth marketers consider the role of content from a wider perspective. They realize that interest is a key indicator to track. If interest is tepid, then leads will be as well.
Growth hackers should measure whether they are building interest. They will want to experiment with how they can get better building interest. They can fine-tune their content, measuring what themes and messages draw the most interest.
One important indicator of interest is what’s called recirculation. After viewing your content, do visitors explore other content you offer? If so, they are signaling that they consider your content special. They are curious what you have to say.
Content can help marketers understand the motivations of their prospects, by looking in detail at the performance of different content. Even underperforming content can sometimes yield useful insights.
- Why is some content not attracting interest?
- Is the topic not compelling?
- Is the topic not important to the segment you are trying to reach?
- Are you targeting the right segments?
Probe these issues with surveys and analytics to learn why might not be engaging with prospects. Your content in the attraction stage is an early signal of how well you understand the people you are trying to sell to.
Customer attraction presents many growth hacking opportunities. The variables are endless. The data can be rich.
Attraction is not a mystery, but a journey.