How to Reach and Engage Your Best Customers With Content Marketing



If you live in St. Louis and own a business you need to know Todd Abrams. Mr. Abrams started his marketing career when he went to college. Todd earned a B.A. in Psychology from Boston University. He then went on to earn a Master’s Degree from Northwestern University.

After college, he joined one of the largest advertising agencies in Chicago, Leo Burnett. He was responsible for working on large companies advertising campaigns like Kellog and Procter & Gamble. He worked with many of the global fortune 100 companies. He left Leo Burnett and moved to St. Louis to work for D’Arcy Advertising Agency for 14 years.

At D’Arcy Mr. Abrams's role was to work on the Anheuser-Busch account. After working for D’Arcy, Mr. Abrams became an Independent Marketing Consulting with clients such as Meritz. Later he got into the magazine business.

In a world of the internet and social media where “Content is King,” people consume more content than ever before. Mr. Abrams explained “Our business model is to help advertisers tell their story with engaging content. In fact, magazines are the original content business.”

Mr. Abrams described the importance of content this way, “Content must be education, engaging and entertaining. Today, in the magazine business you don’t (just) sell ads in the magazine; successful magazines now assist in the creation of article “content” by partnering with the advertisers. This content development enables marketers to tell an in-depth story to potential customers.”

This content works to better educate, establish trust, pre-frame the purchase, and provide compelling reasons to do business with advertisers. This content has even better engagement and consumption than any full-page advertisements can provide.

Businesses trust Mr. Abrams with his magazine to help them acquire customers for a number of reasons including saturation, exclusivity, and content creation. First, his magazine County Living achieves customer saturation with the appropriate reach. The product reaches the homes in the St. Louis market that can afford the products of his partners.

Second, each partner is provided with exclusivity protection. This exclusivity enables the partner to connect deeply and establish trust with the reader over time. Lastly, Mr. Abrams assists in producing the content ensuring each piece of content that is published is educational, engaging, and entertaining.

It has become more and more difficult for the publishing industry according to Mr. Abrams. There are a number of newspapers and magazines going out of business. Newspapers are going out of business fast because they lost classified advertising, people are not inclined to pay for subscriptions, and many people are consuming their news online.

Mr. Abrams express sadness for Mad Magazine going out of business. After decades of publishing the magazine has recently stopped publishing. The reason these publications are not profitable is that there are so many competing media in the humor category, and these general-interest publications are not offering distinctive content for readers, nor are they offering opportunities for their advertisers in the business model as partners.

County Living Magazine focuses on niche interests including home, health, and recreation. Partners help provide content of interest to the readership. County Living magazine includes articles from the former Director of Tourism for the State of Missouri John Robinson, and Gerry Mandel has a column entitled Random Musings that readers love.

County Living magazine also features local artists and craftsmen. Recent issues have featured a family business that is renovating historic homes in the city and another that produces art glass windows in their studio in Webster Groves. All things that are local and of interest to the readers and local St. Louis Community.

Partners can get the most “mileage” out of the jointly created content with Mr. Abrams by posting it on their website, posting a link of the content to social media accounts, sending emails to a current database of prospects, or including the content within a direct mail campaign.

If you are going to create content, you must first prepare to create content. To prepare for content creation do three things…

1. Determine who are your best prospects
2. Identify the needs and desires of your best prospects
3. Create a unique offering distinctive and beneficial for those best prospects

Because Mr. Abrams has created a lot of impactful content, his suggestions for finding your best customers were as follows:

Identify Your Best Customers – Get into your database. Go through your last 100 purchases. Identify the customers spending the most money with you. Who was good to work with? Where do they work? What do they buy? What is their current income levels? Where do they live? With is their average age? Try to identify who are your best customers and find people who look like that.

Spend Time With Your Customers – If you have a sales process that requires you to spend one on one time with your prospects, take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about them. Don’t rely on your sales team, if you have one, to give you the answers. Actually, sell your customers. During your sales process really get to know them. Their wants, needs, and desires. Understand exactly who they are before moving on in your presentation. One example is a home remodeler. They spend lots of time with their prospects, learning about their needs.

Survey Your Best Customers - You can always send out surveys to get to know your prospects. Make sure that you include demographics, income, and zip codes in your surveys. In a survey you can ask questions that people might not feel comfortable answering during a sales presentation. You can use a company like www.Surveymonkey.com for this process.

Create Focus Groups – Many business owners dread thinking of putting on a focus group but they are really beneficial. You can get customers and referrals to participating. You can ask very open-ended questions and it provides you an opportunity to really listen to feedback in a safe space. People who participate in a focus group tend to be much more vocal about their opinions. You may need to provide an incentive to get your focus group together but the information, if organized can really help to produce some great content and understanding of your best customers.

Call and Interview Your Best Customers – If you don’t have time for a focus group you might still be able to call and interview your best customers and get their story. You might also consider following behind your focus group with a call. You can interview/survey during this phone call. You will be surprised by what your customers are willing to tell you about themselves under the correct pretense.

To determine the needs and desires of your best prospects you have to look beyond your offering’s benefits and features. You have to understand the emotional needs that drive your customer’s purchases. Think about emotions such as social approval, security, responsibility, fear, and success. While all of these emotions should be considered in content creation the most important emotion to consider is the feeling of empowerment. Consumers take action when they feel they are making an empowered decision.

Since the number one emotion to include in your content is empowerment, empowered customers can afford your offering and have a need for your offerings. This empowered buyer also loves helping you to tell their success story with your offering.

According to Mr. Abrams the biggest mistake marketers make is running ads that are like business cards. Mr. Abrams said “I’m in this business. We have this for sale.” Or just showing a web address without offering a reason “Why” the prospect should go to the website.

For more information:

Todd Abrams, Publisher
County Living Magazine
314-432-1171 office 

Todd Abrams

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