Everyone knows the old ways of marketing are long gone.
In a world where 75-90% of the research that people do before they buy is done by the time they reach out to a vendor (Forrester), how do you insert yourself into the buying process?
It doesn’t matter whether you are selling a product, service or acquiring donors or volunteers, success lives or dies with the customer relationships you build and maintain. It’s the reason why you go to the same neighborhood restaurant (where the food isn’t the best, but you love the waitress), or why you always buy from Amazon (because you trust they have what you need and it will arrive when they say it will).
So, the question becomes, how does one build those relationships, and with it the critically needed trust and loyalty, in the crowded world of the Internet.
Well, like any good relationship in life, it takes understanding, nurturing, patience and a little TLC.
Here is one very important and basic rule to understand:
Stop trying to shove your sales message down your customers’ throats. It’s downright tiresome and boring. And, here’s the really important part.
You’ll have a lot more luck generating leads and sales, if you help your prospective customers and give them useful information (using content) that makes their lives easier.
said it best – “good content
helps your customers do their jobs better, makes them smarter, wittier, better looking, taller, better networked, cooler, and more enlightened, and with better backhands, tighter asses,
and cuter kids (from Content Rules
). If you can’t do that, then make them laugh (we certainly could use more laughter in the world).
The content you create needs to be either useful or entertaining – its that simple. The best way to create this kind of content is through storytelling.
If you don’t know how to tell stories, find someone who does and hire them, because each buyer persona and social media platform require a potentially different message and format. Once you have your stories and your content, insert them along the decision making path for your business.
Here are three key content messages to remember when launching a content marketing strategy:
1. Create Valuable Content – Not Marketing Collateral
We touched on this above. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to have “bottom of the funnel” content. In other words, once you have a prospective client who has gone through the research process, spent some time “getting to know you”, compared and contrasted your product or service with others in the market and then decided they are ready to take a look at your product, you want to have specific marketing/sales collateral.
What you don’t want to do is serve this collateral up front (at the top of the funnel). The top and middle of the funnel is best served with educational content :
- ebooks/white papers
- Case studies
- Buyers Guides
- Success Kits etc.
Top of the funnel content pulls a potential buyer into your sales funnel. Middle of the funnel (MOFU) content is what pushes that new lead into buying mode. Middle of the funnel content doesn’t just solve a buyer’s problem; but shows your product or service solves that problem.
2. Content is the Currency of Your Brand
In just a single minute on the web, 216,000 photos are shared on Instagram, a total of $83,000 sales take place on Amazon; there are 1.8 million likes on Facebook and three days worth of video is uploaded to YouTube. Cashback site Qmee created the below infographic which pulled information from PC Magazine, Business Insider and other sources to create the snapshot.
As a marketer responsible for creating awareness and thought leadership for a brand, it’s easy for a brand to get lost amongst all of this content. Even more important is understanding how critical the role content plays in defining your brand. Without it, in this day and age, you have no brand. With that said, it’s important to create content that is unique to your brand. Create your own flavor and style. You do this, by first understanding who your customer is and creating buyer personas. Then, create content targeted to those customers. Have fun with it, be conversational, take chances, be bold, think out of the box; you’ll be amazed what can happen.