This is the second post in the “Content Connections” series.
We all know what a customer is.
The customer is that lovely, wise person who buys our stuff. Whether we sell a product, a service, an idea, a candidate, a change of habits … the customer is the one who buys.
If we don’t have customers, we don’t have a business. Simple enough.
But when you’re doing business online, particularly if you’re using content in your marketing, you need another customer. One who might never take out a credit card to buy from you … but who can still help take your business to amazing places.
I call it the second customer. This is the person who shares your content, tweets your post, talks up your product, gives you a great review on Yelp, and helps let the rest of the web know they should be paying more attention to you.
Some businesses pay far too little attention to the second customer … and some pay too much. Here’s how to get it just right.
What the second customer can do for you
The second customer has always been important — it’s that social connector who tells all his friends what a great job you do, or the fashion icon who makes your product an “overnight” craze.
But in the age of the internet, we have lots more connectors, each of whom has an audience, large or small, that they might share with you.
- A second customer might share your thoughtful content on Twitter or Google+.
- A second customer might link to you, or run your guest blog post, and find you a whole new audience.
- A second customer might write a witty, compelling review that convinces buyers you’re terrific.
- A second customer might introduce you to the business partner who can turn everything around for you.
Don’t great ideas just spread themselves?
It’s lovely to think that if we just duck our heads down and produce the absolute best content we can possibly create, that our content will fly around the web on magic wings and find an audience.
It’s lovely to think that, but it doesn’t work.
The web is social. Always has been, always will be. It’s people who share content, people who talk up the best businesses, people who create the businesses worth talking about.
Apple did their part by designing the iPod — it was customers who spread the word. (And then did it again with the iPhone, the MacBook Pro, the MacBook Air, the iPad, ad nauseum).
Evernote did their part by creating a useful, well-designed little application — it was customers (including lots of non-paying second customers) who let the world know how great it was.
Dos Equis did their part by creating a clever, over-the-top series of “big-idea” storytelling ads that took all the right risks. It was their customers (again, many of them second customers who don’t drink the beer) who couldn’t stop talking about the ads — leading to a 22% boost in sales, according to the company.
Second customers are tireless. They’ll roam the web — the entire web, not just your comfortable little corner of it — to find the perfect customers for your business.
But you need to give them what they want.
What the second customer needs from you
The content connector needs some things from you —
- Your content needs to be good. Really good. Thin, weak, generic stuff won’t do it. If you don’t know how to create something epic, partner with someone who can.
- Your website needs immediate appeal. If it looks spammy, shady, or just plain hideous, connectors won’t want to send their audiences there.
- Your site needs to be secure. Nothing makes your second customer look worse than sending their audience to a site infected with malware.
- Above all, your content needs to make connectors look incredibly smart and cool for sharing it.
Smart connectors know that their first duty is to their audience. When you help connectors by giving their audience a great experience, you will be rewarded.
Your first customer comes first
Now there are a few “businesses” out there that have millions of second customers … and not enough first customers.
Your primary reason for being in business is to serve your customers. To make their lives better in some way that is meaningful to them.
The world may talk you up — but if you don’t serve paying customers, your business will crumble and die. No matter how much funding you can scare up. No matter how much of a social media darling you become.
They come first. Their opinions are the ones that matter most.
But in the 21st century, in the globally hyper-connected world we’re in today, second customers are an invaluable way to find those perfectly lovable first customers.
This is part two of the Content Connections series
This post is just one part of a series talking about how to make connections with other web publishers — the kinds of connections that will serve your business.
It’s the other half of content marketing — what happens after you’ve created something worth reading.
To get the full series, just stay tuned here at Copyblogger. If you haven’t already, why not subscribe by email so you’ll be sure you don’t miss any of the posts.
You can read the first post here: