Three quarters of B2B and B2C customers say they prefer informational articles to adverts, while 80% and 74% of a business sample say the most effective ways of marketing are via social media and articles respectively.
A lot of this is executed via inbound marketing, the art of earning customers attention by producing content they find valuable. According to The Whole Brain Group, it has five-stages:
- Create compelling content for all stages of the buying cycle, such as blog posts, eBooks, and videos
- Get found by people who need your products and services using advanced search marketing techniques and social media
- Convert visitors into leads using landings pages with clear calls to action, and then nurture the relationships using social media and email marketing
- Convert qualified leads into customers by focusing on customers at the bottom of the sales funnel (those ready to buy)
- Analyze and adjust your marketing tactics to determine the best ways to reach and convert potential customers
Since then inbound marketing has evolved into content marketing, but the core principles remain the same. Over half of a sample group of business owners report content marketing is the most impactful tool for generating leads, ahead of brand awareness and sales.
Therefore, executing content marketing is key, as customers are no longer fishing in the old pond- now they are fishing in Google, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. If you aren’t on page one of Google, to a consumer you don’t exist.
Your marketing department should be producing content all the time– remarkable content is like a magnet. Sometimes it doesn’t even have to come from your marketing department.
Perhaps one of your employees has worked with a customer who has had an interesting experience regarding your businesses field of expertise, and that employee’s gained knowledge from those events could be turned into useful content in the eyes of your customers.
Another key area is the headline. Over three-quarters of the people who visit the page with your content will either skim read or click off it, so it’s important to grab them with the headline. Stick to a set of rules:
- Know your post inside out so you can work on a headline that gets to the heart of the subject matter
- Always use how, what, why and when
- Make an audacious promise to the reader
- Use interesting adjectives
With regards to the content itself, create genuinely useful content for many niches of your target audiences, not to overtly promote your business, but to build rapport. Also create on advice documents that your costumers would want, and then give it away for free, but make sure they have to contact you for the content, thus creating a lead. With video marketing, publish the transcript of the video and add it to your sales literature.
All of this will educate your customer about new ideas that will nudge them towards your funnel. It doesn’t attempt to convert people immediately, instead sewing seeds to be harvested later.
So how does this fit with landing page optimisation, which aims to convert people immediately? Well, content marketing is about romancing prospects, where is landing pages are more like honing pick-up lines.
So how do you get conversion with content marketing?
Put simply, testing in moderation. If you are not testing you are squandering traffic- 60% create new content, 40% test and refine.
Here are some general considerations regarding the process of content marketing:
- Get into database marketing – your database has value
- Marketing is not a part-time job
- Don’t spend all you money on developing a product and say you have no money left for marketing
- Forget ego marketing and focus on benefit marketing
- Focus on quality and build what customers need, not what you think they need.
Finally, perhaps the most important thing to remember about your content:
Content is only king if it resonates with your audience.
This article was taken from a discussion of the Business Exposure Group.
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