This article originally appeared in ‘Over The Counter’ Magazine – a trade publication for the veterinary sector
Your knowledge is a vital marketing asset
This is the first in a series of article that I will be writing about marketing for OverTheCounter magazine. I have written similar articles over the last few years for publications including Pet Product Marketing and Pet Business World News, as well as presenting talks on the same subject at conferences such as PATS and BETA.
Writing for OverTheCounter presents a different opportunity and a different set of challenges for me, as you, the reader, is different. As SQPs you are constantly learning and are hungry for knowledge. What I would like to introduce you to in this first article is the benefits of your knowledge, from a marketing perspective.
People with a large amount of knowledge on a subject can either largely over estimate or largely underestimate the marketing potential of that knowledge. Those who overestimate it tend to think that they should just shout about what they know and expect people to be interested and listen. This approach tends to fail. Customers like to feel that they are engaged in a two-way conversation, rather than being lectured. On the flip side people can think ‘this is interesting to me, but a bit boring for most people, so I won’t even talk about it, never mind shout’. In that case customers don’t get to find out anything. The obvious place to be is in the middle.
Back in the olden days, before the internet became available to anyone to publish what ever they liked, marketing was about trying to make one clear message about what you (or your store/ surgery) had to offer, and then getting this message out in as effective a way as possible for your budget. The marketing world has changed now. The ‘buzz-word’ in marketing today is content. Content is king. This is because the internet both allows anyone to publish content and allows anyone to search for content. Compare this with the written word 20 years ago when only newspaper and book publishers could get written content to a wide audience, and if you wanted access to this content you had to pay for it, which greatly reduces the amount you would consume.
Content being king is a great starting point for marketing for SQPs. You are always learning new things, so why not write about them? Start a blog about everything that you learn. Each time you learn something new write a blog post about it. When people are looking for answers for their problems they will turn to the internet, search, and may find your post. This will promote you, and your store/ surgery if done well.
Once a month, or once a week, if you can, print out some copies of the posts that you write and hand them out to customers in your store/ surgery who will be interested. You could do this as a newsletter. On the bottom of the printout have the web address of your blog. If people like what you write they will visit your blog and read more. On your blog you should have the ability for people to sign up to receive blog posts by email, or links to your twitter or facebook accounts. That way when people read your blog and like it they can sign-up or follow you. Each time you post a blog you should tweet/ facebook/ email it to your growing band of followers.
The most important thing that this does is postion you and your store/ surgery as ‘knowledge leaders’ in the area that you are writing about. This means that your customers will see you as knowledgeable experts. One huge benefit of this is that when you are trying to sell them a product or a service, they know that you are offering this from an expert’s point of view, not just to make money. This builds trust and trust builds loyalty. Building trust and loyalty are the foundations of the best businesses.