Are you still using gophers to market your business?

I better explain ‘GOPHERS’. It stands for Gongs, Offers, Products, Hires, Events, Results and Sales. It’s the stuff of Marketing and has been for years. We send out announcements telling the world about our latest hire. We use Social Media to tell our audience about the latest trophy we’ve picked up at the industry awards ceremony and we love telling the world about our latest product features.

I’m willing to bet that 90 to 100% of the stuff you’re using in marketing falls into one of the Gopher categories.

And what’s wrong with that you may say?

What’s wrong with it is that customers are not interested in reading this stuff. Customers are bombarded with material like this, every minute of every hour of every day and none of it is interesting enough for them to open up an email or click on a tweet to read it.

Gophers are the least likely way that you can drive website visitors, especially at the very early stages of building relationships with prospective customers. GOPHERS don’t work but we keep using them. They’re the epitome of bad marketing nowadays, yet they still flourish.

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting we stop doing this stuff, I’m just suggesting that maybe for a little while we stop thinking about ourselves and start thinking about what our customers want and need.

So if we cut down the amount of ‘ME’ marketing we do, and concentrate on what our customers want then you might bring in better website visitors. This will give you the opportunity to develop an online conversation and give you a chance of driving conversions from a website visitor into a genuine lead. You just have to think in a slightly different way.

The first and most important thing is to think about your target customer/buyer persona/ideal customer profile and what they might be interested in reading or viewing.

Most of our customers are interested in doing their jobs better, solving problems, addressing challenges, managing people. We want to know about industry issues and stuff that helps us do our job better – almost everything except ‘Gophers’!

If it helps, here’s a little mnemonic ‘FOCUS’ to help you think about what interests your customers:

Frustrations, Problems, Issues
Objectives, Goals
Competition, Alternatives, Substitutes
Understanding, Knowledge, Expertise
If you think about these words then your content will start to be more interesting to your prospects, and they will click on your links or emails to read more.

The second thing is to think about the form of the content – is it a simple blog (600 words or more) or will it be an Infographic or a video. Mess around with the forms and see what works for your audience.

Why will this help you?

The answer is straightforward. Customers who come to your website, are not always ready to buy. In fact, in excess of 80% of website visitors are not looking to buy. Sometimes they may be looking to understand a specific problem they may have, or what potential solutions are available, before they even start the process of buying. The solution is to break the buying cycle down into three phases:

AWARENESS – Looking to understand their problem, or put a name to an issue. Sometimes customers may not be aware of the problem. They may, or may not, be aware that you have a solution.

EVALUATION – Customers are looking at different solutions, but may not be ready to approach potential suppliers. Customers should be aware that you have a solution.

PURCHASE – Customers have made a decision to buy.

If you use the FOCUS model then you can see that most of these categories fall into the Awareness and the Evaluation phases. The Gophers generally fall into Purchase or even a post-purchase phase. That’s why you need both. But think – 80% Focus, 20% Gophers.

To give you a flavour of the sorts of content you can produce, here’s some we’ve seen recently:

A Financial Services firm: “5 ways you can avoid a pensions scammer”
A Technology Services Firm: “7 ways you can improve security of mobile devices”
A Software company: “A checklist for defining your CRM requirements”
The key thing is to leverage your capabilities, knowledge and strengths as an individual or a company. That way you build credibility over time.

Health warning – This type of marketing, known as “Inbound Marketing” is a slower process and may need to be combined with other types of marketing.

Gopher definitions:

G is for GONGS – We love to tell people what prizes we’ve won, despite the fact that everyone knows they’re the most useless way of defining excellence, or anything else for that matter.

O is for OFFERS – Customers love to hear about our discounts, bogofs and massive reductions on our old stock.

P is for PRODUCTS – We love a product launch and our audience love to know about new products. Don’t they?

H is for HIRES – Surely our customers want to know that we’ve hired yet another ‘best employee the world has ever seen’ type person, who will now be part of the best team on the planet. Won’t they?

E is for EVENTS. That trade show that’s costing us an arm and a leg is vital to us for generating leads so we better get the word out that we’re attending.

R is for RESULTS – this is more like it, customers want to know that we’ve made a whopping profit. The times that we don’t publicise our results are when we make a whopping loss, oh never mind.

S is for SALES – our customers and prospects love to know about our sales wins, don’t they? Well actually, no, but hey, keep on firing them out anyway.

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