A lot of businesses market products and services that are not very exciting. And yet, they are things that consumers need and want – insurance, toothpaste, nails, software to do taxes, and diapers, for example. It is pretty hard to get excited about spending money for these items. This should not mean that if you are responsible for producing content for a less than exciting industry, you can’t still engage users in great ways. Here are 9 ideas for making your content a lot less boring for your customers.
Even a boring product or service can be written about with humor. Buying car or home owner’s insurance is certainly not a humorous activity. But there are very few people who shop for insurance in the U.S. who do not know the Geico gecko or Flo from Progressive.
These two “mascots” have many “adventures,” and have managed to make shopping for insurance a bit fun.
Even Charmin bathroom tissue finds humor far beyond just its bear mascots. Here’s a Father’s Day post on its Facebook page.
Publish Customer Stories/Case Studies
Human interest is always engaging – people love stories. If you can tell the stories of customers with visuals added, visitors will stay. And if the story is funny, poignant, it’s a winner and will be shared.
Regions Bank features customers on its site – in their own words, customers tell their stories, with videos that include their families. Most of the stories are poignant and speak of hopes and dreams for their futures. This is a great touch, especially for a bank that can be a rather boring business to consumers.
- Add Stories About the Company
Even though the product or service may be boring, there may be stories about the business itself or its employees that are not. One way content can add appeal and engagement for customers and a target audience is to become involved in a charitable cause. If they support that cause publicly on its website and social media pages they can also offer an incentive for customers to shop, by contributing a portion of the payment to that charity. Aflac Insurance supports children’s cancer research and has set up a Cancer and Blood Disorders Center in Atlanta, GA. What could be a more heart-tugging cause than children’s cancer?
Another company that has achieved fame for its charitable giving is Toms Shoes. For every pair of shoes purchased from its website, it donates a pair to someone in need, anywhere in the world. Its profits have soared in recent years, and it has moved into other causes – fresh drinking water in Africa and prenatal and eye care in undeveloped countries. Its website and social media pages showcase all of these efforts with great visuals.
Even a company with a “boring” product can do these things and spread its brand. Whatever your product or service may be, making social responsibility a large part of your brand will reap big benefits.
Use “How To” Videos
Deck stain is not a particularly exciting product. People buy it because they have to, not because they find power washing, scrubbing and staining a deck, particularly a fun thing. Cabot Stain has a series of 6 “how-to” videos on deck staining, as well as 3 videos from customers with their specific tips.
- Over 50% of marketing pros worldwide say that video content has the best ROI.
- Shoppers who view videos are 1.81 times more likely to make a purchase
- Emails with the word “video” in them are 19% more opened and 65% less unsubscriptions
- Mobile video plays have increased 844% since 2012
- 8 billion videos are viewed every day on Facebook
Razor blades are not exciting products. But when an explainer video for a subscription-based razor delivery “club” is so entertaining that it has achieved 22 million views, the company is obviously spreading its brand well. Dollar Shave Club has been a marketing phenomenon because it understands its audience and makes men’s shaving and personal hygiene amusing.
Since its launch in 2011, there are now over 2 million members of the “club.
Develop Lists for Q&A Sessions
Over time, you will accumulate questions that come from customers about your product or service. Instead of just having an FAQ page on your Website, you can turn those questions into a video featuring one or two team members and using products as props as the questions are answered. One point here: viewers are not expecting a professional video. They want to see real people in real situations, not some staged production. A good phone can easily be used for the taping.
Another optional alternative is an infographic or a slide presentation. Q&A lists that must be read are really drudgery for a potential customer.
Use News or Other Current Issues
Recently, it came to light that the city of Flint, Michigan had toxic levels of lead in its drinking. An emergency manager, appointed by the governor, decided to change the town’s water supply, and, in so doing, caused the corrosion of lead pipes that carried that water into homes and businesses. This is a perfect opportunity for a bottled water company to step up to the plate and donate water to the town, and to publicize that charitable activity. Aquahydrate, a beverage company owned by Mark Wahlberg and rap star Puff Daddy, recently donated 1 million bottles of water to Flint and have committed to more until the water crisis is resolved.
To do this effectively, it will be critical to have someone on board who is either a “news junkie” or to assign someone the task of going through an online news outlet every day, first thing in the morning. If a hot news topic fits in, then content will need to be created quickly so that it can be posted in a timely manner. This type of strategy is sporadic and inconsistent, but it can reap benefits.
Another method of marketing for timeliness of current event will be to anticipate those things that occur on a seasonal basis. For example, UPS has a busy holiday season delivering packages but almost as busy if the period immediately following Christmas when gifts are returned. It decided to create a new holiday, called “National Returns Day.” Promoted all over social media with ways for followers to get involved, it became a hugely popular event and will continue every year now. The official date is January 3, but it celebrates all of the returns that have occurred between December 26 and that date.
Appeal to Emotions of Viewers
Promoting a cause or charity is an emotional appeal. There are other ways to make emotional appeals as well. Using a video to demonstrate the value or benefit of your product or service and doing it in a way that appeals to emotion (humor, poignancy, awe, etc.) will give your content a greater chance to be shared. Emotions just do a better job of connecting companies and consumers.
Purple Feather is a copywriting service based in Glasgow. The biggest marketing tool the company uses is that words matter. When budgets are tight, companies tend to cut hiring copywriting professionals and take on that responsibility themselves. Purple Feather tries to show companies that this is a bad idea. In order to “prove” its point, it created a video that also appeals to emotions:
The video tells a story of a blind man who is begging on the street. He has a sign:
A content marketer comes by and changes his sign.
All of a sudden, he begins to collect many more coins. The marketer comes by at the end of the day, and he asks her what did she do to his sign? She tells him that she just changed the words.
The point it made; the appeal is emotional; the service is not being “sold.”
Your product or service may be boring or even distasteful, but you can spark it up with some interesting content that will engage readers/viewers and encourage them to share with their communities.