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Digital Marketing – If You Only Invest in One Thing

Short and simple – people have been conditioned to try before they buy.

We test-drive cars and try on clothes, we attend Open Houses, and pet ALL the cats at the animal shelter. We go on dates and taste-test ice cream. We are nervous about committing to something unless we’re almost sure it’s exactly what we want.

But here you are, looking at a screen.

You can’t shake our hand or watch us create marketing content. So how can you get that ‘test-drive’ experience that makes you willing to work with us and your customers willing to buy from you?

It’s different for every type of business or profession, but the more you allow your potential buyer to ‘test-drive’ what to expect after signing a contract or typing in their Credit Card #, the better success you’ll have in making the sale.

How do we give ‘test drives’ without giving everything away for free?


Content is the life-blood of marketing. It encompasses almost everything you’ve ever said, written, designed, or produced about your product or service that is seen by your customer.

Content Examples:

  • Blogs
  • Videos
  • Photos
  • Posts
  • Podcasts
  • Brochures
  • e-Books
  • Real Books
  • Infographics
  • Virtual Tours
  • Presentation
  • Packaging
  • Website

The list goes on and on, but the type of content you should invest in depends on your target market and resources (time, talent, and budget).

For example – here you are reading this blog I had the time and talent to write. The fact that you’ve gotten this far into the blog tells me:

a) that I have not entirely bored you with my writing

b) that you are interested in this topic and therefore probably our target market (unless you’re an industry competitor – shout out to you guys!)

Either way, you are probably someone who owns or is associated with a business or organization that needs to reach a target market of your own, and you’re looking for better ways to do so. No, I’m not psychic – creating content is like baiting a hook – what you put out there, determines the type of fish you’ll catch.

Experience vs. Informative • Passive vs. Active

An overly simple graphic on different types of content (note – many types of content can overlap between experience and informative – passive and active)

I am not the fisherman in my family, that’s my sister. But if you ask her – you’ll hear that certain fish are drawn to different bait with various velocity:

  • Trout will be drawn to salmon eggs over nightcrawlers.
  • A tourist is drawn to videos over an e-book.
  • An online shoe shopper is drawn to a photo of heels over a description of the heels.
  • A dentist would be drawn to an article about teeth over a photo of teeth.

When determining which type of bait to use on your hook ask yourself these questions:

  1. What does your target market want to know about your product?
  2. How much does your target already know about your product?
  3. How long can you expect your target market to spend to achieve 1 & 2?

I’ve created a graphic to better illustrate this concept.

If your answers to 1, 2, and 3 above were:

  1. Not sure they want to know anything
  2. Very little
  3. Not much

That should tell you that you need experience-based content that is passively consumed.

If your answers were more like:

  1. If my solution will fix their problem
  2. A decent amount
  3. They will invest the time to learn more

You’ll probably have better luck with information-based content, and you have the choice between creating passive or actively consumed content.

Marketing innately loves passive content. Although it tends to be a bit more of an investment to produce, it is wildly easier and less costly to circulate. The more you are able to show your target what to expect, rather than tell them what to expect – the closer they’ll get to feeling like they’ve gone on the test drive, and the more likely they’ll be ready to commit.

Strategies for Creating Passively Consumable Content

So you’ve decided to invest in passively consumable content. How do you make the most of it?

1) Make it Timeless:

Say you’re hiring a videographer or photographer. Keep dates away! Do your best to keep holidays out of the shots – decor & festive attire have no place in something you’d like to use year-round. Other ways dates can sneak in and ruin the timelessness include – pop culture references, trendy clothing/fashion style, and cars. Believe it or not, I’ve come across some amazing photos clients have of their property – that looks about the same compared to the property today. And if it weren’t for the same 1997 Dodge Caravan – I remember climbing into as a kid – sitting in the parking lot, I wouldn’t have questioned you if you told me that photo was taken last summer.

The same thing goes for clothes and pop culture references – these little nuggets that are great to use to show you’re ‘hip’ and ‘with it’ in your inexpensive and disposable content have no place in your longterm, timeless content – “Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’ll let you finish, but Beyoncé has one of the best videos of all time.”

2) Make it Quality:

This goes a bit with the timeless piece – as we can mostly assume ‘top quality’ today will be ‘good enough’ down the road. But this also goes with the test drive analogy. If you’re getting your target market close to the actual experience of what it’ll be like after converting – and it’s not a smooth ride – chances are they aren’t going to buy.

You want that video to feel like they’re on the campground, looking up at the stars or the blog post is written in a way that feels like they’re talking to you in person. Give them that in-person, test-drive, taste-test quality.

3) Make it Versatile:

A prom dress – for the most part – can only be worn to prom. But spend that same amount of money on some kick-ass boots, jeans, shirt, bag, and blazer and you’ve got yourself an outfit you can wear multiple times on multiple occasions, then mix up before people start to notice you’ve been wearing the same outfit over and over.

So if you’re only able to do one thing to improve your marketing this year, don’t invest in the one-time-only option, invest in longterm, quality content.