People buy from businesses they know, trust, respect and believe they can work with. They choose products and services to help their own business in some way.
It might be to do with lowering costs, improving efficiencies, growing market share, maximising profit, etc. The results those businesses get must be greater than the cost and effort of buying and using the products or services.
The Foundation of Effective Marketing
Your marketing is Step 1 in helping your prospective customers and clients to trust and respect what they see, read and hear, so they want to learn more.
The more they learn by following your marketing message(s), the more they should want to do business with you, buy what you sell and then want to keep buying.
That is the goal of all marketing
Some marketing models are more effective than others when it comes to attracting, interesting and encouraging prospects to want to make contact, stay in contact, learn and buy.
One very effective marketing model is “hub and spoke marketing.” It is effective because it helps prospects learn:
- What your business does and how it does it.
- What products and services you offer that will benefit them.
- How your products and services will benefit the prospect’s business.
- How they can check, verify and confirm that they can trust your marketing messages.
- How to get not just more info but info that is specific to them and their needs.
- How to make contact, stay in contact and reap the rewards of buying and continuing to buy.
Delivering all that information is called content marketing
Different people make decisions in different ways and, as Australian psychologist Allan Pease made plain all those years ago, you must:
- Provide content in ways to suit their buyer preferences.
- Put your marketing content where your targeted prospects will see it.
- Make it easy for them to learn more.
- Encourage them to make contact and stay in contact as they move forward in their buyer journey.
That encourages them to make the right decisions in ways that are right for them and at times that suit where they are in the buyer journey. And that brings us to Hub and Spoke marketing.
What is Hub and Spoke Marketing?
Basically hub and spoke marketing is a model where you:
- Publish an important piece of content about your business, a product, a service that is, in some way, at the centre of what you do or you provide.
- Publish additional pieces of information that explain, give examples, show results, offer proof, discuss, explore, etc. to support your important, “hub” content.
The first piece (1) is the hub. The other pieces (2) are the spokes.
A prospect might search for a topic and find the hub content or a spoke content. They read, see or listen (depending on the medium you use) and take the next step. That step may be to click a link from the hub to a relevant spoke topic, or from the spoke topic back to the hub or form a one spoke topic to another spoke topic and then to the hub.
All content will have high SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) by, for example, using keywords and appropriate internal and external links.
The hub content enables and encourages the prospect to want to learn more, get more involved and make decisions. The easiest decision is to keep clicking links to different spokes until they are satisfied that they have learned enough to want to make a more involving decision.
Why Does Hub and Spoke Marketing Work?
The hub and spoke marketing model works for five main reasons. It:
- Contains high quality information that encourages a prospect to get and stay involved.
- Is mutually supporting, so each spoke and the hub help to deliver the total message.
- Can be produced to deliver content in ways that suit each buyer persona, thus maximising attraction, involvement and decisions.
- Can be reused in different formats to make it easier to find in online searches, thus maximising the effectiveness of each piece of content.
- Automatically refreshes and revives both the major hub content and the optional formats of the spoke content.
How Does it Maximise the Results?
Different personas want content delivered in different ways and emphasising different features and benefits of the products and services being marketed.
Let’s take some simple examples.
Each of the four buyer personas below has preferences for the content they want to learn about, how they want to learn about it and the conclusions they want to draw, so they can make their decisions. Let’s briefly take each in turn. These are just simple examples to make the point.
Type 1: the Director
Directors are task-oriented, demand respect from their suppliers, respect the supplier’s “brand” and they focus on facts and hard evidence. They read white papers and expect an executive summary, subheadings and bullet points to deliver information efficiently. They will value infographics, interviews with current customers and videos of processes. Directors buy “results” more than how the results were obtained. Providing proof encourages a Director to sign up for more proof or helps them move quickly to a “buy now” decision.
Type 2: The Relator
Relators are people-oriented, they want to be comfortable with the people they will buy from. They like facts and figures delivered in story form. The white paper the Director will read can become a slide share presentation, a video interview or video presentation. Blog posts should be more narrative than bullet points.
The interviews the Director will use as a “respect” element will be seen by the Relator as both informative and how likeable the people are. Relators sign up for more information so they can continue to see the “people side” of the results.
Type 3: The Co-operator
Co-operators are team players. They consume guest posts, video interviews, videos of how things are done to get products out the door all prove how good it will be to work with this supplier.
The Director focuses on the results. The Relator focuses on examples of who else got those results. The co-operator wants to feel part of it all. They keep linking from spoke to spoke and on to the hub. Ask “nicely” and they will sign up to continue the relationship.
Type 4: The Detective
Detectives are task and detail oriented. Detailed explanations and description in both text, audio and video format provide proof to the Detective. Detectives will follow the spokes and will sign up to receive new information so they can keep satisfying themselves that the results “speak for themselves.” Then they will buy.
When you reuse the same content to satisfy each persona type’s preferences, you maximise the content’s value. When you use different mediums – text, graphics, video, Q&A’s, case studies, etc. – you speak direct to each persona using the same basic material.
Give your prospects the option of what to link to next (fact sheet, interview, slide explanation, etc.) and they will choose their preferred route. When they have each seen, heard and learned enough they will make the final decision.
Treat each “hub” as a product launch or brand-enhancement launch. Market the launch as well as the content. Invite everyone who sees it to share their contact details, so they can get each spoke from then on.
Use the opportunity to ask each new contact to indicate how they prefer to receive new information. Give them options so you know how many of each persona has signed up. This will help you to decide the format of the next spoke content before you reuse and republish that content for the next persona group.
As your library of content increases, the number of links and keywords increase. The more hashtags you use to advertise new content via Twitter, the greater search results you get.
Create a plan to create and publish hub and spoke content. Timetable the plan so you not only publish as you want to, but you do it as your prospects who have signed up want it. The schedule is important for the obvious reason:
- The Directors will be disrespected if the schedule is not met but will respect you for staying on schedule.
- The Relators will not like it that they have been ignored but will like you more, the more they learn.
- The Co-operators will feel they can’t work with a company who doesn’t meet their expectations but will want to when their expectations are met.
- The Detectives will decide this company cannot be trusted but will trust you to deliver products or services on time.
By staying on your hub and spoke marketing schedule, you win and keep your prospects. They are much less likely to look elsewhere. When you “own” your prospects’ expectations, you maximise your results.
We know it is not always easy to do everything yourself, so please contact us to discuss “hub and spoke marketing” with us, or so we send you a hub and spoke planning spreadsheet.