Are you scaring away your best prospects?
When you’re new to content marketing, you might inadvertently send a frightening message to your potential customers and clients.
Your heart is probably in the right place. You’re trying to provide value and put your best offers in front of people — but your approach might miss the mark.
And that wrong approach might cause terrible conversion rates for your opt-in forms and low sales of your products and services.
Want to know how to stop scaring off your prospects, build trust, and start attracting tons of subscribers and sales?
The key is learning how to get birds to eat out of your hands.
Why content marketing is like ornithology
Let’s say you have a cute little group of finches in your backyard, and your dream is to get the little fellas to eat birdseed out of your hand.
The trick to earning the trust of the birds is to move slowly and quietly, so you don’t scare them off. Stand next to the tree or bird feeder where they gather, and let them get used to you. Demonstrate your trustworthiness and let them know you’re not going to hurt them.
Then continue to take tiny steps toward your goal, all the while being careful not to scare them. Let the birds discover you’re a source of yummy food by sprinkling birdseed on the ground and hanging out nearby while they nibble.
If you are infinitely patient, take baby steps, and don’t frighten them, eventually you can train the birds to eat directly out of your hands.
Here’s what you don’t want to do:
- Scream “I HAVE BIRDSEED!” at the trees where the birds hang out
- Shove your hands in their little faces to show them what you’re offering
- Wave your arms around to get their attention
- Anything else that makes you look scary, aggressive, risky, or alarming
How this bird story affects your content marketing
If you never plan on trying to get finches to eat from your hands — who cares?
But this story has an important lesson for all content marketers: Your prospects are just like birds.
They are highly risk-averse and hypervigilant, constantly searching for a reason to take flight and leave your website.
If you offer too much too soon or shove your paid products in their faces, they’ll fly away.
And you’ll be left alone, holding a handful of birdseed, wondering what happened.
Building relationships the bird whisperer way
How can you frame your offers to avoid scaring away your prospects?
- Start slow. Patience is essential when you’re building relationships with your audience. Be sure to establish trust before you ask for anything. When in doubt, err on the side of caution.
- Provide value first. When your website is new, it’s critical that you establish yourself as an expert (and build trust with your audience members) by giving away free value before you present your audience with an offer for your paid products and services. Start with a free report, educational video, or content library, and gather feedback from your audience on that content before you make your next move.
- Don’t ask for multiple actions. Whether you have an email list opt-in form or free registration page for your site, one major mistake new content marketers make is trying to do too much with a single page. If you present paid offers on the same page or form as your free content, you might confuse your prospects and they won’t take any action at all.
- Send emails with useful content to build relationships and increase trust. Once a prospect has signed up for your email list, you still need to proceed with caution. To build relationships, send consistent content notifications or email newsletters to prove your authority in your niche and provide value to your community members.
Win your prospects’ trust with a steady, consistent approach
When you approach your prospects carefully and consistently over time (and prove you’re a safe person), they’ll eventually feel comfortable buying from you.
So take small and steady steps, and don’t overdo it with aggressive sales messages. Your prospects will learn to trust you, and they’ll be far more likely to buy your products and services.
A little birdie told me you (and your prospects) are going to be a lot happier with this approach.