I am sure you’ve heard the term “give before you ask” in your marketing 101 class but not everyone understand what it means to “add value for your audience.” I’ve seen a lot of people again and again as the first form of introduction ask me to click on a link which will eventually take me to another page that will ask me to subscribe to a program or to buy a product from them.
Now why should I even bother to click through to subscribe or buy their product? I don’t know this person and I don’t know if I will receive what I have been promised? How can I trust this individual on the other side, whom I can’t see, if their first form of communication with me is to ask me to do something?
So what is missing here? Either the marketers don’t get the first principle of marketing or they do not up to date on the economy. I am not saying they are not making sales, I am just saying that they are failing to build a relationship and build a strong foundation for themselves.
First Principle of Marketing: You Must Give Before You Ask
If you operate a blog, you must know that building the trust among your readership is very important for your blog to be successful. This principle is not different than any other principles of marketing. One has to build trust and add value for their audience to grow a strong foundation and eventually be successful.
In today’s world, with social networking sites leading the way for human collaboration, it is rather evident that networking and building the trust of people is the underlying principle of successful marketing. In order to network and build trust with other members of the online society, you have to be someone who can add value to their way of living.
Just like you and me, people don’t want to be scammed. They don’t want to be lied to. They don’t want to be robbed. They are naturally built to be cautious about what they want to do and what they allow them to do. With everything happening online and with hundreds of spam mails in their inbox, people are naturally defensive. They only allow themselves to make the move to purchase a product or subscribe to a service, only if they feel they can trust the seller.
You have to understand that vast majority of the people, like over 90% of the world’s population, make moderate to low income. In 2007, The New York Times reported the following about United States:
“The new data also shows that the top 300,000 Americans collectively enjoyed almost as much income as the bottom 150 million Americans. Per person, the top group received 440 times as much as the average person in the bottom half earned, nearly doubling the gap from 1980.”
Can you believe this statistics? So it is 300,000 vs 150,000,000. Now there is a lot of zeros in one hundred and fifty million dollars. Now also note, in 2007, the economy was also performing much better than what it is doing today. So you can imagine the number and where it would be today. You have to keep this perspective in mind when you plan to market a product or service to a large number of audience. The world isn’t the same anymore. They will not easily take out their credit card from their wallet and punch it into a website because many of them don’t have the money or they have been scammed before by someone else.
So in this first principle of marketing, what I want to emphasize is that the only way to get people to let their guard down and trust you is to first offer them something that will add value to them. It can be a free product. It can be your knowledge passed through a blog or an e-book. It can be many other things. Just find a way to add value to their lives. As I said on my pervious article, what are you doing online today, people are always looking for information or looking to learn something new. Offer them what they are looking for first and gain their trust before you offer them a product or service that they have to pay for.
Now keep in mind, you don’t want to over commit and under deliver at the same time. Promise what you can deliver and keep your words. If you have a blog, write what matters for your audience. If you have a service, make sure it is reliable and the people can trust. Trust is something you can’t pay for. It has to be gained over time.
As the “social media” market grows, you also need to think about different strategies to market your product and services. People have many means now days to get feedback on product and services you may be offering. Hence, if you don’t have the reputation for your business, it will not survive for long.
Nonetheless, in this “Principle of Marketing” – Give Before You Ask article, I want to emphasize the point that you want to make your audience feel like you are adding value to them, that you are a trust worthy person, that they can trust what you are saying, that you are a human being and not a robot and that you will be there when they need help with your product or services.
The same “principle of marketing” can be applied to social media. If people fail to understand this philosophy, it means they don’t understand social media as well. They are just wasting time or spending ton of money to get the job done.
This is why I believe this concept or philosophy has to be the “first principle of marketing.”
Principle of Marketing: Are You Adding Value?
Have you ever thought about this before? I don’t want to belabor the point but it is important that you give it some thought.
Here is an exercise for you to try out. I suggest you come up with 10 different ways you are adding value to your network. Give a plus point to every new thing you do to add value for your audience. If your score is low, then you have to work on improving it by finding additional ways to give something back to your network.
Share your thoughts here on my blog. Leave a comment and tell us what you do to add value.