The blessing and the curse of 21st century communication is the access we have to potentially new customers and clients. Email marketing opened up a new portal directly to people’s mailboxes, which we promptly maxed out with unsolicited spam. Next, websites offered companies and individuals limitless space in which to express their worth. We spoiled that with poorly organized content and broken links. Most recently, social media has become the next frontier. Sadly, marketers are on the path to irrelevance in this virtual world as well.
The reason that so much content goes unread boils down to one simple issue: those responsible did not consider their audience. When writing successful interactive content (e.g., email, web, social media, etc.), one should always start from the endpoint and put themselves in the position of the recipient. If I went on a seniors cruise from Florida to Tahiti last winter, why would I want to learn about a young singles event taking place in Alaska?
That’s a rather stark scenario, but the point is that people receive so many messages every day that they can’t be bothered. Unless you are able to produce something that calls out to them in a pretty substantial way—their hobbies, age group, location—you’re going to lose them. In the best scenarios, you would be able to create content using a number of these types of factors. Send too many generic messages, and you may lose them for good.
In addition, you should consider the space for which you are writing. Content that belongs in an email will not exactly mirror that which is appropriate for social media. Again, you need to look at your audience to determine what kinds of information they are looking for in each type of space. People will go to a website if they want details about a public company’s earnings, to Facebook if they want to know how your team did in the JP Morgan Chase Challenge.
In the end, data is still king. The more you know about your customers’ needs, the better chance you have of creating content that is targeted to just him or her. Before pressing the send button or posting new content, send out a survey or use a CRM tool to track client habits and keep information up-to-date. With some research and a little bit of luck, this will start the chain reaction you were hoping for—a sale.
However, there are still a number of privacy and ethics concerns to address while you are going about your data collection. Make sure that you are aware of these restrictions wherever you operate. For example, Europe has strict data privacy laws that require you to give ample notice to each person from whom you plan to collect data.
Overall, to produce successful interactive content, you need to target only the people who will be interested in your communication. Collect data and keep mining it for useful information. However, be considerate of your fellow man. There are limits. In the words of Google: “Don’t be evil.”