The Magic Bullet

There is no “magic bullet” in advertising. Despite reports to the contrary, social media tools are not the exception to this rule. While we’re at it – television, search marketing, radio, outdoor, bus benches, bathroom stall posters, sky writing, giant inflatable guerrillas, and tissue packs don’t qualify either. If you current marketing strategies are not producing results, moving them around to different media will not make a difference.

It’s true that social media and digital content are revolutionary forces that are literally unraveling traditional advertising models. You do need to know about Twitter, Facebook, UStream, WordPress, Typepad, Friendfeed, Flickr, Slideshare, RSS and all the other emerging platforms. But the most important thing to remember is that if your product or service is not remarkable and relevant to a well-defined niche there is no amount of friends, followers, viewers, subscribers or fans that will make up for it.

I realize that the whole “create something remarkable and relevant” thing is a little overdone these days so here’s a specific shortcut: Educate Your Customers – otherwise known as information marketing. Information marketing is the act of creating educational content about your product or service and marketing it (giving it away for free) to interested customers. Executed well, it’s probably the closest thing you’ll find to a “Magic Bullet” for marketing. There are numerous advantages to this strategy including:

  1. The content is inexpensive or free to produce
  2. You are offering something of value instead of trying to sell
  3. It gives you an opportunity to provide much more information than you can with traditional ads
  4. Provides a database-building opportunity
  5. Can enhance SEO efforts
  6. Differentiates your business from most competitors
  7. Takes the focus off price
  8. Trackable ROI
  9. Scalable
  10. Great way to leverage social and other digital platforms

Looking for ways to get started? Start a blog, write an ebook, record an audio presentation, make a handbook or users guide, produce a “how-to” video, create a survey, or publish an interview with an expert in your industry. Don’t do them all, pick one or two and knock it out of the park. Don’t look for shortcuts – create it yourself. Take your time, do your research, make it valuable and stick with it. We’ll talk about what to do with all this stuff in future posts.

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