Do clients only want your content?

In this linked article, Chris Brogan talks about customers wanting a “better path” – that they need a solution to their problem, and content is not necessarily that solution.  Chris goes on to suggest that the use of some emerging technology, plus content, may be what businesses need to implement to improve client experiences. He challenges his reader to consider how to use technology with content:

“look beyond content marketing, digital marketing, social media marketing, and *just* marketing as a way to drive more sales and retain more customers” (Brogan, Chris, posted April 26, 2018)

I think his point is well taken especially after an experience this last few weeks with one of my clients.  Unbeknownst to me, my client (Inherent Wellness Inc) had planned to attend a networking event over the weekend to prospect for new clients.  His business just launched so he’s pursuing a client acquisition strategy quite aggressively.  He has website content in the website I put together for him, he has created an Instagram account, a Facebook account, has looped in his Linkedin account, and is learning about Google Analytics and Search Engine Strategies.  We have been chatting about content, building momentum, and marketing locally since his primary service is an in-person one.

Sounds good right? He’s doing all the right things to get his business launched and off to a great start.  I’m so excited to be on this path with him and so pleased to see him already having success in getting paying customers in the door. Yeah!!!!

But you know what?  There was a technological problem this weekend with his online appointment booking software.  We’d been having some troubles with it for a few weeks, and while I thought I had found the problem and resolved it, between Wednesday last week and 8am Sunday morning, something went horribly wrong.  My client went to book a client using the online booking tool on his website and got the dreadful looking page I’ve used for this post.

It took me a few hours to sort out a short term fix and thankfully my client was gracious and kind and understanding.  Obviously I’m now looking for a different tool for him, as he has lost faith in the one I originally recommended.  Even though its working on two other websites, that’s not the point – it didn’t work for this client. His needs were not being met and he lost at least one sale that we know of. I don’t feel so good about the whole thing, but I’m grateful that my client trusts me to let me work through fixing the problem and making it right for him.

The lesson here, going back to Chris Brogan’s point, is that the content my client had written wasn’t enough – the sales process was reliant on a technological tool (in this case a piece of code in the website) and not the content he had written.  While it wasn’t AI or blockchains, technology was supposed to be enabling the sales process.  When that scheduler worked well, it worked great and led the client right into the specific call to action of the business, automated an onerous process, and integrated email notifications for both parties (etc.).  The technology was an enabler to helping the client move their solution forward – not the content.

As someone who works on websites regularly and is always looking for ways to automate processes that support my clients, I totally get what Chris is saying – aside from offering content that is useful to your clients and that establishes you as an expert, also look for technology (old school or new) that enables and supports your sales process and that enhances your clients’ experiences with your services. Don’t waste their time or yours if there is good technology out there that will ease your client’s path to solving their problems and making it easier to do business with you.

After all, as its been said elsewhere, for clients to do business with you, they need a great experience; and without paying clients, yours is not a business but a hobby.  You will have more paying clients if you find smart solutions to add to your content.

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