I've been a basketball player most of my life (point guard). Well, let's just say that I was a basketball player most of my life! I'm 42 now and the most I do with the orange ball these days is shoot some hoops in the driveway of my home, or teach the kids how to spin the ball on their finger!

The triple threat for modern marketing

In the game of basketball, there is a position that we call the “triple threat” position. Getting into the triple threat position requires that you bend your knees, hold the ball in close to your side (to protect it), and look like you're ready to explode into one of the following actions:

  • Dribble
  • Pass
  • Shoot

The idea here is that the defense has no idea which of the 3 actions you might pursue!  For basketball players, the triple threat is really only effective if you're good at all 3 actions; dribbling, passing, or shooting. Basically you want the defense to not know exactly how to guard you, and the goal is to catch them “off guard”.

I like to use the TRIPLE THREAT analogy in modern marketing for professionals and businesses. In order to build online influence, stand out from your competitors, attract a loyal following, and ultimately grow your business, you need to be really good at 3 things:

1. Content

Content can be published in many forms (text, video, podcasts, images, documents, ebooks), and a blog-driven website is the best tool for showcasing your content because it serves as a digital HUB that you OWN (you don't own your social media profiles, and they really should serve as channels for distributing your content and engaging your community).

If everyone can be a publisher, you must work hard to stand out. What is unique about you and your life experiences? How can you help others? What niche demographic would benefit most from what you have to offer? What are you willing to give away in order to build a loyal following?

All of these come into play when building a content plan and strategy. You must get creative. If you're an insurance professional, you don't necessarily want to be talking about insurance products. This is not interesting or relevant. It doesn't strike a chord. Instead, maybe you share stories about how people have rebuilt their lives after a tragic accident or event with the help of insurance.

Be a teacher. People love to learn new things that can give them a competitive advantage in business and in life. Whether you teach personal development tips, or business lessons such as how to  hire the right people for your company, focus on giving away lessons and ideas that your target audience can implement now. If your lessons are good, they'll be back for more!

Curate other people's content and be a resource.  With so much information floating around on the web, it really is difficult for people to find the good stuff. I believe content curators who can collect high quality insights for their niche markets can really get ahead. Platforms like Storify and List.ly are great ways to collect, embed, and share curated content on your blog. If you can't get creative and come up with your own insights, get out there and curate!

2. Community

Community grows from your participation and engagement with your niche markets in social channels. You need to go where the people you are trying to reach are spending their time and be consistently visible and valuable.

Make it a daily habit to update your status on your social networks of choice. If you're not visible, you won't even have a chance to be valuable. I use Hootsuite and Buffer to help me manage my updates and keep a consistent flow of updates going out at opportune times. Use tools to help you minimize time and maximize visibility!

In order to position yourself as an authority, I believe you must post your own content throughout social channels where you have a presence. Otherwise, your content may not get exposure. If your content is interesting, relevant, and resourceful, your social connections will pass it on.

Be mindful to not only post your content, but post related content from other thought leaders that can help your connections! It's a give and take. You need to showcase your personality, passions, interests, and expertise, but balance that with focusing on empowering and promoting the content of others.

Be personable with status updates. Include a question or an accolade when you post an update. For example, whenever I'm passing something on that I believe is a great piece of content, I'll say “this is a must read!” or “thanks to Joe for sharing this article!”. Even though you may have thousands of social connections, act like you're talking to a small group of people!  It's a simple tip that works extremely well.

Don't just post, ENGAGE with your connections! Consistently staying top of mind with your connections is super important, but what's even more important is paying attention to what they're sharing. Conversation is a high impact social media activity! Comment on what your connections share. Comments trump Likes in my book. Say something meaningful and start a conversation!

Remember, it's not about you. What can you do for others? How can you empower and promote them? This is a mindset. Participate in social networks with a relationship-building mindset. Go in everyday saying “who can I help today”? This will help you build a niche community, and a loyal following.

3. Contact

Contact is another important component of the “triple threat” marketing strategy. Going deeper with your connections and nurturing those relationships is critical to eventually converting them to clients. Those people who consume your content the most are your best opportunities for developing client or customer relationships.

Email or “database” marketing is an awesome tool here for staying in contact with the connections who have opted-in to hear from you. In a world where transparency rules, you can learn a lot about your contacts based upon what they're sharing on social media sites, and their behaviors when they open your emails and click through to your content.

Learning how to use email to provide a personal touch, insightful tips, and educate your contacts about who you help and how you help them is still a very valuable part of any modern marketing strategy.  Remember, the are more mobile phones than computers out there (to the tune of 5x more)! Many of your contacts will access your emails through their phones.

Email is not dead, it's just being better managed. This means you've got to have compelling insights to share (and don't forget that personal touch) each time you hit send in order to reach your contacts.

On every email I send out to my prospects and leads for my business, for example, I always include a snippit at the bottom that is more of a personal insight, quote, or idea that I want to share with them. The signature at the bottom of the email is MY name, and I'm the CEO of the company! I think my contacts appreciate hearing from me, and getting that personal touch.

People connect with people. I don't care how big your company is, find a way to get personal with your potential clients and customers.

Furthermore, lead nurturing tools from software such as Hubspot and Infusionsoft can really help you gather intelligence on your best contacts! These tools are expensive, so you may want to wait until you've developed some traffic to your blog and built a nice list of email contacts before making the investment.

To build online influence, utilize these 3 triple threat strategies to make sure you are reaching your target market in every way possible and cultivating relationships!  Are you adopting a triple threat position for marketing in the age of social media?