Welcome back to another episode of Monetization Nation with Daniel Burstein. In our previous episode, we talked about customer-first marketing and how putting our customers first is vital to our business sustainability. We also shared how to help our customers perceive the value of our products and services.
In this episode, we continue our conversation with Daniel where he tells us some of his secrets of successful content marketing and how to leverage digital products.
The Biggest Tectonic Shift Affecting Business Owners Today
Daniel believes today’s biggest tectonic shift is the shift to the empowered consumer. When he started in the advertising industry more than 20 years ago, advertisements were more like one-way conversations from companies to potential customers. The advertisers and the brands had most of the power and control. This was essential because they could get their messages out and broadcast them.
In the past, customers had only limited opportunities to share word-of-mouth referrals. If they were unhappy, they would tell one, three, or maybe 10 people. Now, customers are empowered and use digital tools to share their opinions. This is why we have to understand how important a customer-first marketing strategy is. Our goal isn’t just to sell a product, this would be short-sighted. Our real goal is to have a successful customer. When we have a successful customer, and they refer us to their friends, we’re going to have a much greater chance of sustainable business success.
Having Successful Customers is Our Goal
Our goal is not to sell a product; our goal is to help the client be successful. This is more important today because clients have more power than they’ve ever had. If we have enough successful customers, we will probably have positive customer reviews. This will drive more business and give us more credibility. But if we have too many unhappy clients, we’re not going to survive for long. Thanks to Google reviews, Yelp, Facebook, and other platforms out there, the customer is empowered like never before. If we’re not creating true value for our customers, it’s going to get out there, and ultimately will ruin our business.
Leveraging Digital Products in the Business
Daniel believes we’ve become used to digital products and so we take them for granted. However, he thinks it’s against human nature to buy a digital product. When we sell a digital product, it’s all about perceived value. Take books as an example. When we go into a bookstore, we can see the book, flip through it, and get a feel for it. With an ebook, all a customer sees is an image on the screen. We must realize that customers don’t perceive digital products as we do.
We need to ask ourselves, “How can we test our products with customers and understand how to communicate that value to them using the four elements we talked about before: appeal, exclusivity, credibility, and clarity?” Daniel believes the biggest mistake entrepreneurs make with digital products is they assume that customers perceive the value just as they do.
“Treat your content like a product.”
– Drew Davis, author of “Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships”.
Secrets of Content Marketing
Over 41% of Americans use an ad blocker (Source: neilpatel.com). Since content is usually not treated as an ad, it has a much better chance to get the message across without being blocked.
Daniel spent a lot of time in content marketing in his career. I asked him to share with us his best secrets of content marketing.
1. Content is Not Free
Daniel’s first secret is that content isn’t free. Oftentimes companies think that when they do a free webinar, a free email newsletter, or a free blog, customers will be rushing in, which is not the case. When we talk about content, we need to look at our content as an actual product, a digital one. We need to ask what we can do to create a value proposition for this content even if it’s only a free webinar or a free email. Customers may not be paying money for this content but they’re still paying with their time and attention.
2. Give Value Away for Free
The second secret Daniel gives for successful content marketing is to give value away for free. If we’re looking to monetize digital products, we need to know where the cutoff between free and paid is. Daniel gives an example of having a digital course that has 20 sessions. The cutoff here would be to give two sessions for free. Then we can take information from those two sessions and turn them into webinars every month.
Another way to know if we have good content is when we have really good interaction with our audience. This means asking questions on social media or email. This is also where we need to decide when we can treat those questions as paid services or helpful engagement.
3. There is an Abundance of Good Content
Daniel noticed that when companies start with content marketing, their struggle is that they think they don’t have any content. What they don’t realize is that many companies are content-generating machines. This content can be the questions that they’re already answering for customers, an area where a lot of content is already being created. We need to look at the content we’ve created or we’re creating and develop a content marketing strategy.
The Most Effective Ways to Monetize Content
Daniel believes that when it comes to monetizing content, it’s simply about putting in a lot of hard work. We need to create something that has a unique value in the marketplace. So, the competitive analysis would be the biggest thing we have to do. The first thing we should do when we’re working on a paid content offering is to start with a landing page. We should create a landing page that has the four elements in it: it’s appealing, exclusive, credible, and it’s clear.
We also need to look at competitors, because this is what customers are doing. We want to put the page we’re creating for our content against the other offerings of other competitors. And when we have an appealing offer that is exclusive, credible, and clear, that’s when we have a chance to succeed with our monetized content offering.
In the end, Daniel believes it’s important to remember that we are more than just our jobs and our roles. In his case, a marketer during the day, a person, a dad, and a husband at night. And so, he encourages people to bring their whole selves to work and realize that they’re people too. A lot of times marketers are failing because they act as marketers only and forget all their other dimensions. They write in ways they would never talk to other people. And this is how they think of their products. Daniel advises us to think of ourselves when we’re selling our products. What would an actual real person think about this? How would they react if I was talking to a real person, instead of talking like a marketer or writing on LinkedIn? How would I talk about this? What would I say if I was in physical proximity to someone if this wasn’t digital?
Our end goal is to create value for our customers and communicate that value.
Thank you so much Daniel for sharing your stories and knowledge with us today. Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:
1. Our goal is not just to sell a product, our goal is to help the client be successful.
2. If we’re not creating true value with our products, the word is going to get out there, and ultimately it’ll ruin our business.
3. Content is a very crowded marketplace. We must ask ourselves what our value proposition is and what customers are willing to pay their attention and interest for even if there’s no monetary cost.
4. A lot of times our biggest failures come from having that blind spot from working in our office where we’re only looking at our digital products and digital offerings and forgetting that there are real people just like us on the other side of what we’re doing.
Connect with Daniel Burstein
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