In September 2018 I went to MarketEd.Live Marketing Conference in Nottingham. It was an amazing experience — as these conferences always seem to be. What made this conference so impactful was not only the learning (more on that below!) but also the people I met.
I have become part of a group of people on twitter who have formed what may well be the longest twitter thread in twitters relatively short history! These people are from all over the world: Ireland, England, Greece, Slovenia and different parts of America. When 7 of us met in person the decibel level in the pub was quite something! It feels that we are using social media in the right way — to make real, meaningful connections and friendships.
Anyway, now about the learning. I learnt so much that I feel the need share my learning journey with you. So get your wine, beer, coffee, whatever you fancy and tuck in to my 6 main course take aways.
At the end I provide you with some extra nibbles that you can take away and action to help you grow your business.
The first message was the strongest and the one which resonated throughout the whole conference:
It’s not about you
Q. Who enables you to succeed in your business?
Q. Without whom would your business fail?
A. Your customer
Q. Who is reading your content?
Q. Who are you making content for?
A. Your customer
The single most important factor which determines your content should be your customer. You need to understand their problems, questions, fears, objections, wants, needs, and concerns. You need to emotionally connect with them, get closer to them in order that you can completely understand them. When you get to that point, and only then, you will start producing content that they truly understand and connect with.
Don’t just design your brand because you like the colour blue; do some research into colour theory to find which colours appeal to your target audience.
Don’t just write content which YOU think is funny, think about what your consumer will laugh at.
“You need to become obsessed with your customers.” CHRIS MARR
“The quieter I become, the better my business becomes.” VICTORIA TAYLOR
Don’t forget the ‘social’ in social media
It seems that people are forgetting to be social on Social Media.
Writing and publishing great content is fantastic and we know that we need to do this on a regular basis. Taking and sharing photographs and images is really important too. Putting out content is essential for any brand, otherwise no-one will know who you are or what you do.
Are you actually communicating with your audience or is it a one way stream? Are you posting on your channels and wondering why you get so few likes and comments?
When we meet people face to face, we have conversations where both people speak in turns, we respond to other people’s comments and reply to their questions. We don’t just talk and talk and talk: we have a CONVERSATION.
Are you doing this on social media? It’s vital that you treat your on line conversations in the same way as your off line ones.
“Content Marketing is like a first date — if all you do is talk about yourself, there won’t be a second date” EMMA LEECH
“Stop contenting and start commenting” CHRIS STRUB
Be the Wikipedia of your industry
Be the most knowledgeable in your field. This way people will want to come to you rather than anyone else.
Did you know that on average, 70% of the buying decision is made online before someone contacts your business for the first time.
Yes, 70%, that’s a lot right?
This means that the customer comes to you already armed with a huge bank of knowledge. Customers are no longer naïve and easily influenced into buying something because the sales person is good at their job. Customers are savvy and discerning and ask tricky questions!
You need to ensure you have more information than they do about your product AND that you have more knowledge than your competitors.
“You need to be the only viable option in your niche” HANNAH McCREESH
Don’t disrupt the customer experience: add to it
How long is 5 seconds?
Five seconds seems like a really long time when you’re watching the arrow go round and round waiting to ‘skip the ad’ before watching something on YouTube.
Do you think anyone LIKES watching those ads? It fees like a punishment to have to watch the ad before the enjoyment on the other side. It’s a bit like your mum making you eat your brussel sprouts before she’ll let you have pudding.
Pressing ‘skip ad’ as soon as that 5 seconds is up, means firstly; that you haven’t watched the ad and secondly; the chances are you wouldn’t have a clue what the product was because you were focused on the rotating arrow rather than the screen.
So why bother making content that no-one wants to watch and that just gets in the way? Make content that people want to watch, talk about and, above all, share.
“Advertainment: the new frontier of millennial engagement” TIMOTHY ARMOO
“Rather than disrupting what people are interested in,
why not BE what people are interested in?” TIMOTHY ARMOO
Listen — to your audience
Listening to your customers will build understanding, which builds trust and authority.
With the increasing use of AI, bots, analytics etc., if you listen in the correct way you can get a really detailed picture of who your customers are, what they do and what they like. You really can understand them, which means you can target them in a more efficient way.
You can now accrue so much information about your customer that you really can tap into them and find out what defines them. You can create content that is so personal to them that it feels like their own content; and if it feels like their own content, they will want to share it with their friends — thereby amplifying your brand message.
There are many ways in which you can personalise your content just for your audience: this can range from giving personally named ‘golden tickets’ to students in freshers week (Loughborough University) to direct targeting on websites based on user activity on line.
How you gain the information is one thing — how you utilise the knowledge is what will separate you from your competitors.
“Create content that helps your customer live the life they want to live.”
“You need to put your brand into their world” HOWARD JONES
Listen — to your competitors
What you watch and read is your ‘input’. What you take in determines what you put out — i.e. your content.
Treat it like eating (oh no, not brussel sprouts again!); you eat food that is bad for you and you don’t function as well as if you eat healthy food.
What are the inputs coming into your brand?
If you’re watching junk, it’s more difficult for you to create something of value to your customers. Spend time seeing what your competitors are up to, get inspiration from others in your field, and your ideas will flourish.
“Look at other communities before you build your own” CHRIS STRUB
So that is pretty much the day in a nutshell. Well, there were lots of starters and side orders that I will be sharing with you in different ways, but these were definitely my main course take aways from MarketEdLive 2018.
Now for you to do a bit of work!
Sarah Clay’s 4 daily tasks for you to take away
- Comment on at least 10 different people’s posts every day (I have to thank & credit Chris Strub for this one!)
- Create Audience Personas for your brand. They’re a really great start to any campaign. If you haven’t done this before, find out more.
- Spend 30 minutes a day reading/watching articles by your industry professionals to become the Wikipedia in your field.
- Spend 30 minutes a day looking at what your competitors are putting out — learn to recognise content which may or may not be appropriate to your brand.
And finally a huge thank you to all the speakers, organisers and helpers at @marketEd.live.
I strongly advise you to check out and follow these guyls:-
If you have any questions, please email me – I promise to answer: firstname.lastname@example.org