Traditional marketing has become less and less effective as customers continue to shut off advertising by spending money on products that allow them to skip any form of marketing. Smart marketers have come to understand that the conventional type of marketing is increasingly becoming an inefficient tool in promoting a product or service. Enter content marketing, considered today as the most effective form of attracting customers and prospects.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is basically producing and publishing information that cultivates trust and authority among your target audience and potential customers. It is a method to create relationships and community with the aim of making your entity come across as dependable and trustworthy. It is a strategy to build yourself a reputation of being a thought leader in your field. It is a means for your business to drive sales without the “hard sell” schemes.
The principal goal of content marketing is to create significant and engaging content that prospective customers will love. Essentially, you can use content to:
• Connect with your customers and add them to your inbound marketing funnel and convert them into buying customers down the line.
• As a retention tool and keep them in your radar even after they have made a purchase from you.
• Attract leads and prospects and subsequently turn them into purchasing customers.
• Turn new customers into repeat buyers.
When done correctly, content marketing can be a very successful marketing strategy that can yield positive results for your business. It is quite easy to find the different types of content for marketing purposes, however, developing content that users will find noteworthy and useful can involve great effort and requires analysis and brainstorming. The two main elements to consider when creating content are the topic and the type of content. Fulfilling these two entails that you analyze the needs of your customers and address them through engaging content.
Creating content your customers appreciate
Before you can make inroads in relation to your content marketing plans, you will first need to develop content that will strengthen your brand and encourage customers to form strong ties with you and your business. When crafting content for your content marketing plans, consider these important questions:
1) Do my customers have concerns about the product or service I am offering?
2) What is my target market interested in aside from what I offer? How can you meet their interest and answer their needs?
3) What factors does my target audience consider when planning to make a purchase?
4) What information should I put out to help position me as an authority in my line of business?
5) Why will my target audience listen to me?
The answers to these questions will help you to discover what type of content is helpful to your customers. Following the brainstorming process and keyword research, you will now be able to come up with content discussing matters that your customers will find useful in an engaging format that is easy to digest.
As earlier mentioned, there are different types of content that businesses can use to attract customers and these can be launched in various ways. Here are content marketing methods that will help you attract customers.
Webinars and Events
A webinar is an online event hosted by a company and broadcast to a few selected group of individuals by means of their computers and the Internet. Also referred to as a webcast or a web seminar, a webinar allows a speaker from the hosting entity to share content like videos, web pages, presentations and other multimedia content to audiences from various locations. Interaction between participants is done via instant messaging or e-mail.
Webinars commonly have two major components: audio and visual. The audio component is typically transmitted through a viewer’s computer using speakers and media players or via a telephone. Meanwhile, the visual element is provided by an Internet browser or a web conferencing tool. Participants interact with each other with the use of an instant messaging tool or by sending e-mail coursed through a moderator.
Webinars are ranked on the top three most effective marketing strategies. In fact, according to research from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 62% of marketers use them for delivering content marketing. The three factors that make webinars effective marketing techniques are:
• Immersion, in which the host and participants interact thoroughly for 30 minutes to an hour, giving the marketers ample time to convince participants towards his goals;
• Real-time delivery of content, which gives marketers the benefit of presenting planned content and providing added content to participants to move them through the funnel faster; and,
• Convenience, which eliminates the need for travel and provides participants with presentations and content for easy sharing and access via mobile devices or computers.
Apart from webinars, there are also other forms of events that you can take advantage of such as live streaming events that you can stream to your viewers via tools that offer you a service to fully stream, record and engage your audience.
Organizing or hosting events
When organizing or hosting a web seminar, or any event for that matter, take the following into consideration to make sure that the event is successful:
• Online event tool – Online meeting tools typically have options that correspond to your event needs in relation to the number of participants, the features you will be using during the event, and functionality, such as recording, which will allow you to save the event and post it online afterward.
• Agenda – Create an agenda, considering the following: topic, duration of the event, people to invite, as well as a survey and a Q&A segment at the conclusion of the presentation. A survey is important as it allows you to find out your participants’ reaction to the event, which you can use to your benefit for your future sessions.
• Speaker – For your online event to be a success, it has to be presented by a compelling and engaging speaker. Having a winning speaker also prevents your attendees from multitasking or, worse, abandoning your event. In addition, the speaker should be well prepared to face queries at the end of the session.
• Content – Choose a compelling and helpful topic. Establish a set of key elements to help your audience solve an issue or accomplish an objective. Answer the question: “What will my audience gain from this webinar?” Also, the topic should be something you can leverage for future use, can provide value for prospects, and provides opportunities for additional content.
Guides are another form of content that your customers can find great value in, provided it is relevant and useful. Guides can be in the form of how-to’s and tutorials, which can be delivered in text or video format. A guide is an excellent way to drive traffic to a website and to give something back to a community. In order for a guide to be beneficial, it has to provide value to customers.
The guides you create can either be in any of these forms: ebooks, infographics, or through a question-and-answer format. When creating a guide for your customers, take the following into mind:
• Topic – Before creating a guide, come up with a list of possible topics and find out how much originality your guide will have. If it is easy to find on the Internet, it is pointless to create content about it.
• Information – Give the reader as much information as possible. Explain the entire process, from prerequisites to the compatibility aspect, and other relevant details. Provide a rating and an estimated time for the length of the guide or tutorial.
• Feedback – When providing guides and tutorials, it is vital to get user feedback in order to find out if the guide is useful and effective. Provide a commenting system and learn to determine helpful comments that you can use to improve the guide or in creating future ones.
Social media engagements
Providing useful content on social media that includes relevant images or videos is one way to drive up traffic to your business. But first off, you have to know where your customers and potential buyers are spending their time online. With the popularity of social media today, it is very likely that many of them are engaged in one social networking platform or another.
When posting content via a social page, you have to consider what content can make your target audience engage and express appreciation. No matter your niche, it should be valuable content and not just coupons or posts about your business. In the world of social media, providing information that is not always self-serving connects with your customers and prospects. It is a widely known fact that consumers love something useful, especially if it involved spending money to obtain it. So, rather than provide information about your business offering, you should:
• Enumerate its benefits for customers;
• Provide steps on how they can use the product or service more efficiently; or,
• Give details on how customers can obtain it at a lesser price (if you are having a sale).
It is important to remember that the key to succeeding in this channel is engagement, so you have to spend time in engaging with your audience on social networks. Engaging in the social media venue can be done by commenting, liking and recommending posts, sharing posts or updates, and answering questions or concerns. To make sure that you are reaching more customers, join popular social networks as well as the lesser-known but relevant ones.
Providing your customers with relevant information on the mobile phone medium gives you more chances of cultivating a relationship with them. Here are some pointers for providing content for mobile devices:
• Keep textual context short – Create content in a concise and direct manner that stirs users to action without too much scrolling. Highlight important points and set the content so that mobile readers can read the content without needing to zoom in. If content needs to be longer, make sure to break it up into shorter paragraphs.
• Make mobile-friendly videos – Videos are among the most widely used forms of media used by the majority of the public, no matter what device they have. Provide videos containing information your customers will find useful and enjoyable enough to share and spread to their network of friends and family.
In order to make sure that you are effectively using the mobile platform for your content marketing technique, you have to have a website suitable for access on mobile phones. Beyond resizing to fit the screen, you have to install a user interface designed for mobile. Include sharing buttons and links at the beginning and end sections of your content. When you have all these laid out properly, you should then provide an easy means for them to access information like product details, company contact information, and picking up purchases.
Keep your focus on providing content that your customers will love. Make your content offerings useful, practical and provide good value to readers and customers alike. Doing so can help make the advertising process for your business more effective.