The gift doesn't have to be huge or expensive. Some of my favorites are the things people give from their heart, that they thought about and spent time on, like the hand-made gifts kids are making in school right now. When I open that gift and they are looking at me with giddy anticipation, there is nothing like it. It's even better than the ecstatic face they have when opening their own presents.
There is a real connection between the giver and the receiver.
And that is what is at the core of content marketing. Content marketing is about giving. Giving the gift of your knowledge and your expertise. Giving it away for free with the intension of helping others, providing something of value to them and building a connection.
Of course, in the long run, we want that connection to yield a paying client. But that can't be the focus of the gift. Instead, approach it like a real gift when you plan, give, and react to the giving process.
Think about your prospective clients when you are planning your gift. Just like you do when you are shopping for your friends or your children. You wouldn't get your two-year-old a shaving kit. You want to give them something they actually want and need. Something they can use right now.
Whether you are writing an article, creating a white-paper, or shooting a video, keep your ideal clients in mind while you are making it.
Giving the gift
When you give your gift, do it with excitement and generosity. If you put your time into it and you thought about them in the process, it will come across. If you whipped out something quick and you are not proud of it, it will be like handing them something in a Walgreens bag with an ashamed face. "Here. Merry Christmas."
How you give the gift can come across online too. How you write about and how you present it are important. Show your sense of pride and anticipation, just like your children do… in your own way, of course!
After they receive their gift, be gracious. It is not the time to immediately call them up to make a sale or try to get them to buy in. That would be like giving someone a gift, and when they turn to you and say "Wow! Thank you. That was really nice of you." holding out your hand and saying "Okay, now where is mine?" Or a parent turning to a child who is thrilled with their new toy and saying, "Okay, now you have to do the dishes every night since I got you that."
It immediately changes the situation. It means your gift wasn't really a gift. It was more of a bribe. It tarnishes the relationship and gives a negative association to the gift itself.
Instead, follow up with the person to say "I hope you really liked it." Or to ask them "what did you think of it." Or even to say "if you liked that, then you might like this gift as well." Wow!
Now you have given them more of your time and attention, and started to solidify a relationship. Give that relationship a little time before you begin to ask for things, or offer things for sale. This isn't an exact science. And every sales cycle is a little different. Just make sure that your "ask" isn't tied directly to your "give" or you are negating the power of the gift.
While you are in a gift giving mood, start thinking about what gifts you will give to your prospective clients in the new year.
And have a wonderful, joyful and generous holiday season!