Content marketing is the only marketing left. -Seth Godin.
Any business owner today knows that the task of finding new customers has changed over the last 10 years. Proven advertising and marketing tactics simply don’t work like they used to.
The list of problems with old marketing tactics are only getting worse;
- Most advertising rarely gets seen or acted upon enough to justify the enormous costs.
- Telemarketing is inefficient and a ‘numbers game’ that erodes brand value. -When was the last time you bought something from a phone call?
- Specialist magazines and Yellow Pages were once the cornerstone of small business advertising. Now they’ve shrunk in size and readership, or in some case vanished all together.
Worst of all, most business’s thought they were keeping up with the times when they got a shiny new website designed… But even that’s not enough!
Have you noticed the traffic doesn’t convert into business like you thought it would ?
If you’re an expert at what you do, then we can be sure there’s people out there who need your expertise.
So how on earth do you go about getting their attention ?[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”323″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]To attract customers in today’s world, you have to accept that the WAY people buy has changed. In the past 5 to 10 years, buying behavior has been revolutionized by the web.
What your customer DO at each stage of the buying journey has evolved.
10 years ago, customers would call you if they wanted information about your services. Talking to sales people was the standard way to get information on your offering.
Now, instead of calling you, the first place people go is the internet. They’ll search Google, read articles and forums, and check out a bunch of different websites. They’re discovering WHO they will trust to solve their problem.
In marketing speak, we call this the buying journey. Today’s buyers expect and need to find informative content that helps them on their journey.
It sounds obvious when we say it here, but does your marketing serve customers this way already?[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”276″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]There’s no escape. Your clients are better informed than ever. This will only get worse (or better depending on your point of view) as technology and networks evolve.
To survive this shift in behavior, businesses need to start creating content. Your content should answer buyer’s questions and assist them with their problems.
What’s more, your content can position you and your business as the trusted person or brand they seek.
Start by researching what happens before a customer becomes a client. Then create content that ”maps” to this journey. With content, you have the opportunity to guide prospects. While guiding them, you can also deliver tons of value without being salesy or desperate.
There is a small but important caveat here; By ‘quality content’ I don’t mean ‘regular blogging’. I don’t even mean information that is well-written or produced. By quality content I mean information that’s primary mission is to be of value to the audience you want to sell to.
You can do this by educating customers and sharing deep insight on your topic or industry. Give them valuable tips on how to get the results they are looking for.
Business can prove how they’ve helped others with thorough case studies. The idea is NOT to sell in this type of content, at least not in the traditional sense. Your aim is to help people! Solve their problems, open their eyes, make them smarter and wiser buyers.
This type of marketing builds long-term value, trust and loyalty.
Instead of advertising, you’ll have more success producing relevant content for your customers. When a prospect finds your content and benefits from reading it you become desirable.
When you’re the person educating the market place you become a leader. People will want to become YOUR customer because you’re the authority.
Unlike traditional advertising, helpful content and tools will boost your other marketing activities.
Most traditional advertising tactics (and agencies for that matter) focus on short-term promotions. Direct mail for example, converts only a handful of people it gets sent to. Once sent, most people will ignore it and throw it away. This promotion is then scrapped in favor of next month’s shiny new offer.
Billboards or radio can work well for a period. Sadly, the ad will become stale and you’ll need to buy more space or airtime to see another boost in business.
There’s nothing particularly wrong with traditional strategies. If you’ve got big budgets and you’re getting a positive ROI, it’s GREAT!
But what if you have a small budget? What if you can only do advertising that has a positive ROI? If you’re not a big brand, billboards and radio won’t cut it. In fact they will probably leave you in serious debt with very little return on investment.
Even SEO and social media marketing are effective, but can take a long time to show results. For long-term value, the only way to go is content marketing.
This is because content will boost every other marketing activity you engage in. Content has become the cornerstone of almost all other online marketing activities.
Good content ‘matches’ the buyer’s journey and compliments your other marketing:
Content helps SEO by delivering web “real estate” and increasing your domain’s authority.
- It provides material for sharing and promoting on social media campaigns.
- It’s used to win more email signups through opt-ins
- It’s used as the basis for email nurture programs. Helping build interest and desire with your prospects.
- It will enhance the value of your landing pages and other web pages.
- It can help you build relationships with other people, online brands, and industries.
This is a short list of the most obvious places content can assist your other online marketing…
Content mapped to the customer buying cycle will also;
Attract new visitors to your site.
Guest posting on other sites helps you discover new audiences. Producing content on your own site makes people more likely to find and visit your site. Linking from your blog posts to you ‘sales pages’ will convert that traffic.
Build your brand
The more people see your content, the more they’ll remember you. Your reputation with these individuals will grow over time. In a world where everyone is glued to screens, your content is the new ‘customer experience’. So set yourself apart and win them over with authoritative and helpful information
Content influences conversions
Content that’s helpful combined with a clear call to action encourages direct conversions. This results in more leads and revenue for every site visit.
Content can turn into a separate revenue stream
If you produce outstanding content, you can offer it as a separate service from your business. This can take the form of selling education, training or ebooks to others in your industry.
4 ways making content for the customer buying cycle builds LONG TERM value.
Content is Evergreen
They call it “evergreen” content because the need for it doesn’t go away. Celebrity content, news, and other types of “current moment” material will tend to attract a lot of hits. Other content remains relevant for years.
People always want to know “7 Tips for Better Job Interviews” or advice when travelling to a new location.
There can be new developments to these topics, but the web means you can go back and update to remain relevant.
Content Is A Tangible Asset:
Unlike Google Adwords, content lasts forever. It won’t suddenly lose value or run out. This makes it a smart long-term investment for marketers and strategically minded business owners.
Content GROWS Your Web Presence.
Every item you publish is valuable web real estate that represents you. Unless you do something mad like take down your posts, your asset will get more valuable with time.
Your guest posts on other sites will be under the control of other website owners. This means you will have less control, but your content can still be indexed by Google.
Content Drives Compounding Returns
We’re all familiar with the concept of compound interest. As your investment earns interest, your pool of funds grows. You earn more interest with each subsequent round of compounding interest payments.
Producing content works in a similar way, since your content is more or less permanent. If you publish once a week, you’ll have 52 pieces the first year. So you’ll produce 52 pieces and get 52 pieces’ worth of results.
The second year, you’ll produce 52 pieces and see 104 pieces’ worth of results. The third year, you’ll see 156 pieces of results for your 52 pieces of work and so it goes on. This build up of value is multiplied by ‘network effects’. By this I mean the organic sharing and cross promotion with others in your space.
As you publish, your fame rises. As more people see your work, the more impact each piece has. Your influence and your standing will continue to grow as long as you produce.
Content Will Evolve, But Never Die
As new technology and new apps come to market, the way we send and consume content will change. Podcasts and video are starting to overtake written content’s popularity. It’s only growing too, with apps like SnapChat and Instagram catching on like wildfire.
No matter what transpires, content will always be important. The only thing that changes is the method of production and how audiences engage with it.
So are you Ready Start Your Content Marketing Strategy?
You have the opportunity to create the content and tools your buyers actually want to read, watch and use. Marketing that maps content to the customer buying cycle is a win-win for everyone.
Your customer gets the information they really want. Your glossy brochures are no longer discarded. And YOU get to establish your expertise and thought leadership in the market place.
The sooner you get it, and start creating content, the more successful you’ll become!