I make a lot of analogies when I talk about content strategy to try to make it more relatable, and relationship and dating analogies seem to work well. (One of my previous blog posts, which used Tinder as a framework to help you Swipe Right on the best practices and Swipe Left on common mistakes continued to be a favorite.)
These analogies seem to work particularly well when we think about content as a way to build a relationship with customers.
In a way, buying banner ads or making incredibly sales focused content is like walking in to a bar and proposing to everyone you meet, the moment you meet them. You assume that merely because they showed up to the same bar, they’re qualified and that they’ll be open to your invitation. You can almost feel the hot sting of rejection that would follow a swift slap on the side of your face.
And sure, you can keep proposing to everyone you pass. And maybe… eventually… someone will actually take you up on it and come home with you. But the chances of them being the right person, who sticks around and creates the long-term value you’re dreaming of, is pretty small.
Your chances of entering a healthy long-term customer relationship are much higher if you put in the effort to build the relationship, nurture the connection and lay the proper groundwork before going in for the proposal.
It’s not all about you. You need to listen to your consumers, both the things they explicitly tell you and they things they shouldn’t have to. Read the comments, take the calls, and take a long, hard look at the data. See high bounce rates on content like someone leaving a date early: was it something you said? Nobody accepting your invitation to click through to your content? Maybe you need a more compelling invitation, or a more compelling party to invite people to.
Give them gifts
Maybe not flowers and chocolate (although that’s nice too) but you should be offering your potential customers valuable information, resources, discounts, access to events, and entertaining content. You should be offering something that’s more for them than for you, showing you care about them and their happiness, that you respect their time and money, and that you want to be additive to their life. With brands as with friendships and dating, those are the people we keep around.
Put in the time
Like fine wine, saplings and caterpillars, some things take time to teach their true potential. Customer relationships are one of those things. A great first impression or interaction is just the beginning, a first date that went well. To keep that relationship growing in loyalty and value, you need to continue to cultivate it over time. Keep showing up. Keep bringing value. Keep listening.