The Curse Of The Dull Company, And What To Do About It

In an age where content marketing is all the rage, some companies might think that they are at a bit of a disadvantage. For instance, if you run a septic tank cleaning company, you might not think that your customers will want to read blogs all day long about your latest adventures with slurry. And, of course, you’d be right. But that doesn’t mean that there’s no way at all that you can engage customers with your business.

A good example of a dull business engaging successfully with customers is Red Bull. When you think about it, Red Bull isn’t actually a particularly interesting company. Essentially, it makes and cans fizzy drinks in a factory somewhere, and then ships them out to its hyperactive customers, many of whom are so flipped out on its products that they have one twitching, unblinking eye that is bigger than the other.

But Red Bull manages to engage so successfully with its customers that calling the company “dull” almost seems obscene. Red Bull’s marketing includes things like sponsoring extreme sports competitions, coming up with its own extreme sports and connecting with adventurous communities all over the world. In essence, it made it’s slogan “Red Bull gives you wings” a reality.

The question for small businesses is how do they make their customers more engaged, especially if they’ve got limited budgets? Let’s take a look at what some experts have to say on the matter.

Host Product-Related Contests
Contests have always been a good way for companies to generate a buzz around their product. Coy Yonce, a marketing rep, says that his company takes the usual marketing tactics a step further. His target audience is children, and so he comes up with contests that both children, as well as parents and teachers, will love.

His product is educational games for children. So in order to get teachers interested in what he has to sell, he hosts a writing contest every year. The children have an opportunity to win a games consoles and the teachers like the fact that the kids are practicing their skills with an objective in mind. So far, his strategy has been a success, and he says that he will be expanding the number of competitions in the future.

Interview Industry Experts On Podcasts
The chances are that you’re in an industry which has something about it that is of interest to your customers. Zac Johnson, a blogging expert, has started doing exactly that for his industry – the SEO market. He regularly produces podcasts where he interviews top people in the industry, talking to them about the latest trends and what to expect from the future. It might sound like a bit of a dry topic, but it turns out that SEO is massively important to anybody wanting to start up their own business. As a result, Johnson has managed to attract a huge number of people from the startup community.

The great thing about the podcasts, Johnson says, is that they allow his audience to build personal connections with the people he interviews. They can not only listen to what they have to say but speak to them directly during the phone-in segment. On top of this, Johnson says that the podcast has helped him expand his audience, thanks to the fact that his regular followers now reTweet his podcast.

Be Obsessive About Design
It turns out that design is a lot more important than most businesses think. Recently a study found that companies that focus on better-designed marketing materials see their stock prices go up twice as fast as those that don’t on average. This is why Adarsh Pallian, a design consultant, says that companies should live and breathe good design.

One way they can do this, and engage customers at the same time, is through custom mobile apps, he says. These can help customers find what they’re looking for more quickly and easily than if they were navigating through a regular, browser-based interface. Not only does it help customers achieve their goals, but it also makes the experience a lot more fun.

Hire A Blog Team
The modern economy is full of unexpected surprises. One of those surprises is the fact that otherwise dull companies, like logistics companies, are hiring teams of writers to generate content for them. Lisa Curti who runs a health food business has done exactly that. She’s taken on ten writers in addition to her regular complement of workers, to educate her audience about healthy eating.

Having a website that is content rich, she says, is essential for her business. It turns out that her customers are very interested in the food that they are putting into their bodies, and the effect that it might have on their health.

The other benefit, she says, is that it helps to massively increase dwell time, meaning that customers stay on her site much longer than they do on the competitions. This, in turn, helps her to rank well on Google.

Make Feedback Playful
There’s nothing worse than going onto a website and immediately being hit with requests for feedback, even though you only just got there. It alienates the company from the people visiting its website and makes them work without receiving anything in return.

Jessica Baker, the woman behind a personal relationship online tool, does things differently. Instead of getting her visitors to fill out long forms, she approaches them with simple quizzes. When visitors complete the quiz, they are immediately shown the outcome and how their answer compared to everybody else in the community. Baker says that the quiz model is a win-win for everybody. Customers get to find out what people in the community think, and Baker discovers what her clientele do and do not like.

Focus On Customer Experience
Being able to experience the client’s journey with them is one of the most important aspects of marketing. Steven Picanza, a coding guru, says that businesses need to focus on leading their customers on a step by step journey of discovery, providing a great web experience along the way.

Photo by Gamble | Shutterstock

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