What is Content Marketing?
Content Marketing (in my mind anyway), is about lead generation through ‘thought leadership’ and creating marketing that adds value to your potential customers. People will only contact you if they feel it’s within their interest to do so. This means you have provided them a +ROI decision during their time on your website, or wherever you placed your content.
These days, according to research, attention spans are shortening. Be it the advent of social media or how fast-paced our lives have become, people will only give you so long online to impress them. “Keep reading, I promise at some point it gets interesting” won’t cut it. If we are talking B2B time is even shorter! So its is extremely important to communicate what you want your potential client to do quickly. You need to provide them a reason to keep on your page and provide that all-important +ROI for your product or service.
The value of creating informative content for the marketplace of the 21st century should be at the top of your marketing spend. Content Marketing can be done in many different ways and for whatever reason your business needs. These reasons may include;
- Launching a new product or service,
- General marketing,
- New channels or markets,
- New branding initiatives
- Thought leadership and best practices.
Content Marketing Real Pulling Power!
Content marketing is, of course, what you use when you want your customers to find you more attractive than your competitors. You want the pulling power so you can approach your target customers with confidence, knowing you have what it takes to make them yours. You need the right patter, the good looks, and the real swagger to convince them you are a perfect choice. Once you have them hooked, content marketing will then help you nurture, and even get them to the ultimate point, the sale. Content Marketing is all about showing your potential customers how you ‘talk the talk’, but also that you can actually ‘walk the walk’ too.
Know Your Audience Well
Getting to know your audience is extremely important for content marketing, speaking with your current client base to find out where and how they find you are a great start if you don’t know already. Because content marketing can come in many different forms, what you use and where you use them and the timing of how you do it needs to be right.
You need the right combination or content mix and it should be based on one continuous theme for you to achieve your goal, as not, all your prospects are the same and each will use a different form of media channel to find what they are looking for, it’s also important to use a mix of channels to get your content out. Knowing your audience will help you create not only your content but also, the where and how to place it to get the maximum effect.
Targeting Your Audience
As I said, knowing your audience will let you know what type of content, as well as when and where to place your content for the biggest impact. But, it will depend on what stage your audience is currently at within your sales funnel. A sales funnel is the process your customer takes during the sales cycle, from prospect to actual sale.
Knowing where in the funnel your customer is, will help you create content relevant to your customer. Content that he not only reads but actually wants to read. Rather than just throwing something out there that potentially will be ignored. The sales funnel looks something like this:
What to Use, Where, and How?
By knowing your audience and where they are within your sales funnel, will allow you to know the answer to these particular questions.
- Best practice cheat sheets
- Video 1-2 mins of length
- Social Media posts
- 3rd party marketing
- Promotional sales
Prospects are the ones that need the education on your industry and your business. You are educating them on what they actually want, by giving them valuable content that they can share or just digest. This builds credibility and trust and also forms a possible need for the product and service you are offering without turning them off with a full-on sales promotion. You are pulling them into your funnel.
Potentials are the guys that need the nurturing, a bit more convincing. 3rd party marketing, recommendations, and even newspaper clippings will work with these guys. Add in some more education and then a dash of sales stuff and you should be able to pull them through.
Customers are the ones that have pretty much got there, at the precipice of buying and so need that final push. Often they could reverse back into the potentials in which case, no worries, you may need to add extra in the education part and you went too quickly or too much on the sales.
Electronic media is the fastest growing marketing tool out there, and 92% of all customers look to the internet before making a purchase decision. So your content needs to be designed to be out there on the web. In the right place at the right time for your target audience at the right stage within the sales funnel.
- Blog like WordPress or blogroll for the blog posts (obviously, but also for infographics)
- Social media Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram to name just a few
- YouTube and Vimeo for the video content
- Your own website for things like E-book downloads and cheat sheets
- Presentations – slide share, emails, and LinkedIn
These are just examples and not definitive
And now the how…
The how is the tricky part. Not enough on the pull and the prospects won’t come, too much on the sales and your potentials could walk and go too easy on the sales and your sales team might not be able to get the customers over the line. Getting that balance right to pass your customers through to sales can be precarious. This is why it really does come down to knowing your audience and doing the research; it is the true backbone of content marketing.
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