I have holly bushes flanking my front steps. Only a few weeks ago, those bushes were literally buzzing with a very industrious horde of black and yellow harvesters. Each time I opened the door, I was greeted by the familiar sound of busy bees humming as they worked – a sound that I find both comforting and slightly alarming (having been stung more than once as a child). Now, however, the front stoop is suddenly quiet. The holly flowers have gone by and the bees, without so much as a backward glance, have moved on to greener pastures.
As I thought about the abrupt transition from constant activity to complete desertion, I started thinking about what my honey bees can teach us about marketing to the human “busy bee”:
Think like a busy bee: Bees are no nonsense creatures. They are a living metaphor for the hard-working type. They don’t have time to dawdle where there isn’t work to be done or important information to be collected. You’re first step in attracting the busy bees is to figure out what you have that they want. What can you offer that will fulfill the busy bee’s need to increase productivity and bring good stuff back to the hive?
Bloom: Once you think you know what content will bring the bees to your neck of the woods, you’ve got to create it. Keep the busy bee’s personality firmly in mind when doing this. Don’t put a lot of fluff around the good stuff. Bees are critical and cover a lot of territory in their work day. If they decide they can get the goods more efficiently somewhere else, you can bet they will be headed out of your sunny patch in a jiffy. So, make sure that you’re putting out blossoms that absolutely reek of hard core, must-know information.
Bring them in for a landing: You’ve created the perfect flower to attract your busy bee, now you’ve got to make sure he can get to it quickly and easily. Burying your content behind some convoluted click stream is almost as detrimental as creating the wrong content. Mother Nature does makes it easy for bees to get to the pollen by designing her flowers with built-in air strips that bees use to navigate their way to the pollen. Create a path to your content by promoting it on social sites like LinkedIn and Twitter. Make sure that whether a busy bee clicks one of those links or lands directly on your home page that you’ve provided a clear and easy-to-follow path to the content.
Cluster your content: Most of nature’s blossoms grow in clusters – either multiple blossoms on a single flower, or many flowers in a single bunch. Arranging the bee’s food source in this way makes it easy for the bee to gather more pollen in less time. You can encourage similar mass consumption in your human busy bees by strategically linking one piece of content to another, leading your prospect from piece to piece, keeping his interest and keeping him from flying off to another flower patch.
Generate a consistent supply: As I saw with the holly bushes, the minute the food source is gone, so are the bees. Marketing with content is not a one-shot deal, you’ve got to keep your busy bees consistently engaged or they will abandon you. It’s not their fault. They have a hive to feed and don’t have time to wait on your publishing schedule.
Give them something to “buzz” about: When I was a little girl, my mother kept bees; and one of the things I found most fascinating was the “dance” they did to tell each other how to get to good pollen sources. Honey bees do this dance as a matter of survival, human busy bees do it as a matter of networking. If you provide content that is worth talking about, people will talk and that talk will send more prospects your way. To summarize, make sure you’re consistently making the right content easily accessible, part of a larger content stream, and worth passing along. Got it? Good. Now go get your bloom on.
What’s your experience? Do you currently offer content that’s tailored for your busy prospects? Is it easy to get to? Does it lead the reader to more content?
This post is part of my “Marketing According to Mother Nature” series. From the birds and the bees to sharks and wildebeests, the natural world is full of metaphors that provide surprisingly relevant marketing insights. Take a walk on the wild side – you never know what might inspire you.