Businesses engage in content marketing, social media and email marketing to get attention, and to turn that attention to turn into new business.

Plans are put together, budgets allocated, agencies picked, and activity begins.

Numbers are low initially – “only a 5% increase in blog traffic in month one” – so up goes the frequency and down goes the quality. Up go the sales requests:

“Get in touch”

“Sign up here”


…and out goes the value.

When sending mailshots to businesses we’ve never met, or to lists we’ve never reviewed, it’s abstract. We don’t know these people directly, so it becomes all about the numbers. How many opened? Clicked through? Responded?  The question is rarely on the quality and always on the efficacy.

But, oddly, as soon as it is certain that your target market will see your content – when we finally set up the ‘client facing newsletter’, for instance – the attention changes. Fear creeps in, and we question the work we’ve done to date.

Why is that?

It’s obvious, I suppose. Silly question.

These people pay the bills. Don’t ask too much of them. Do not piss them off. Tread carefully.

“Not sure that article’s quite up to scratch… best leave it out.”

“We only just emailed them, we don’t want to pester!”

If I know the people who are paying the bills will see all of our communications, I make sure that they get something useful, that we don’t ask too much of them, and that we don’t piss them off.

But, when we buy that list, blog daily, automate our social, it’s like we’ve just accepted that no one’s going to notice. (What the hell are we doing here!).

Now, I’m not suggesting that there isn’t a balance to be had. We must weigh our desire for creative gold with the need for regular activity – data driven tweaks and build-measure-learn iterations. Growth is always the goal

The start point must be, do what works.

But remember this:

What works is the work that brings in customers; the clients that refer clients in to you. And these people are very much like your existing customers. You know, the customers that stick around, that pay for the project and the retainer (vs. the one-hit wonders).

So why do we respect one group and piss off the other?

Your audience is should be created equally, whether targeting potential or existing clients, and whether you know the recipient or not.

You wouldn’t spam you customer base, so don’t give the unknowns a rough deal either.



Photo credit

Letterbox from Pixabay

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Tom is the founder of Future Content, a specialist content agency located in Bristol, UK. Tom is the winner of the 2016 'Acceler8' award for Entrepreneurial Leadership from RBS and Entrepreneurial Spark. You can find Tom on Twitter @HTSandford. If you ever visit Future Content's offices you'll find Tom near the table tennis table.