We have devoted all of our attention to tools to allow you to manage customer relationships and marketing. We have even talked about search engine optimization, pay per click advertising, and web design services. Another leg in your marketing strategy should be content marketing. This refers to the creation of material meant to engage and inform readers to increase brand awareness, and move them down the sales funnel. Let’s take a look
What is Content Marketing?
When it comes to content marketing, the customer matter the most. So you have spotted her and you think that she qualifies as your target customer, that potentially she can buy your product and become a long term customer. You want to be likeable to her so that she will buy your product. You start taking your first step towards her. When you introduce yourself she notices that she has heard that name before.
You’re that company that keeps advertising their stuff to her all over her Facebook page, her Twitter handle and even her Instagram! She is already devising a plan on how she will feign a headache so that she can avoid this discussion. It is a free world but she wishes you tried content marketing with her, this way she would know you care about her as well.
See, content marketing is created to provide consumers with the information they are seeking. Your product is more appealing to them if the marketing that comes with it is entertaining and is easy to connect with. Far away from your social media campaign only strategy, customers want to have pleasant experiences with the products they are using.
Content marketing is useful because people come into the sales funnel at different points. Sometimes they aren’t looking to buy. Sometimes they just want to know some basic information so they can start thinking about buying in the future. If you attempt to beat them over the head with the benefits of your product, you’re going to turn them away. It’s kind of like herding cats. You have to make them come to you; it does no good to try to corral them.
Here are some strategies you can use to start your content marketing campaign
Strategies to use in Content Marketing
Target Audience: It’s a social media era; content must be good enough to deserve tweets, retweets, Facebook likes or shares. The quality of the content must be able to attract readers and keep them engaged.
You must think and act more like a publisher. For example, have you ever heard of Discover Africa? Let me tell you of their success story.
They are based in South Africa and they book over 8,000 vacationers per year.
This company was founded 10 years ago by Steve Conradie and Andre Van Kets; they started out with web marketing and SEO. This was not so common back then, so with some basic tools their keywords ranked high and they drove lots of web traffic to their site. This really worked for them and the company was in a good place.
Unfortunately, it was not long before their competitors started catching up and web marketing could no longer place them ahead of the pack.
So they went back to the drawing board. They classified their target vacationers in personas. The personas included;
- The Holiday Makers
- The Business Guy
- The Family guy
- The Weekenders
- Sports guy
- Travel industry player
Their buying stages strategies included to attract, inform, engage and convert. They included a mini marketing campaign in every post that they published since just publishing content was not enough. They reached out to influential marketers in order to earn links to posts,
Now they are ahead of the pack again, through their network of tourism providers they design vacations, book travels, accommodations and activities through their network of tourism providers.
The profitable action is that they earn a commission on all the bookings made through them.
Social Media Listening: This is another strategy that will engage the attention of a consumer. Through social media you get to really listen to your customers. Social media will help you understand what the consumers want.
To drive this point home, it is necessary that I tell you about a company called Lulumon Athletica. A fitness apparel retailer brand whose stocks declined after it was forced to withdraw women’s pants from the market. These pants were branded as transparent.
Many of the customers took to social media complaining about it. The brand took to social media as well but it was talking about a completely different topic which was unrelated to the customers’ complains. This led to their doom.
What they ought to have known is that during a crisis, customers tend to talk and it was their mandate to respond to their customers’ enquiries and views. That is how powerful social media is to a brand’s impact,
Sometimes brands do not fully give the required attention to their customers on social media because of all the noise generated on social media.
It is helpful to learn to differentiate between the genuine issues of clients from the irrelevant noise.
Social media as a platform for content marketing helps you gain input and ideas from customers on what we think you should do to make your product better. When it comes to sales, it will enable you to discover phrases that indicate a potential customer wants to buy. For example, they may ask where one can get a certain product.
On social media you get to become knowledgeable of what your target audience members are searching for and what interests them. You will definitely realize their less obvious interests and intuitive interests which you may have been overlooking unknowingly.
By creating content that combines their experiences, interests and your product in a useful and entertaining manner, your target audience will generate a lot more likes, shares and tweets.
Solve a common problem: This strategy of solving your customers’ problems will have them at the word solve. Ensure your content is effective enough to address your customers’ problems. It’s as easy as providing simple answers to their most pressing issues.
When it comes to content marketing strategies, set clear goals in mind and reflect how you will achieve them with the content that you are feeding the consumers.
Always review your data in order to be in a position to develop even better content in the future, whether you are using newsletters or campaigns. Assess what interests your readers most when they are reading, listening to or viewing your content. You can do this by keying in keywords to see what it most driving them to your site.
Last but not least, do market research. Get customers talking by asking them what they like. The insight you gather will be priceless, not to mention beneficial. Surveys and emails are great avenues to conduct customer follow ups.
Always ensure to follow through with execution of your goals, track your successes, and make changes to your timeline if need be.
In order to formulate these content marketing strategies, the following tools will come in handy;
Content Marketing Tools:
As it has been reported that 76% of marketers increased their content marketing budget in 2015, it is crucial content marketing tools to help you in your quest. Some of them include;
- Google Analytics: It will help you customize reports and to measure how much your website traffic has been impacted by your social media.
- Curalate: By using data, Curalate will allow you to discover which images on Instagram and Pintrest are most captivating to your target audience.
- MarketMuse: It identifies gaps in your content, searches and finds keywords for you and compares your site to your competitor’s site in order to give you a better perspective of how you are doing.
- Marketo: It will help you on your content marketing quest by integrating emails, social media, and offline events. By using demographics, it helps the sales team prioritize prospects.
- Tweetdeck: This social media management and listening tool tracks mentions and hashtags, it manages multiple twitter accounts for you and schedules tweets ready for posting.
- Tumblr: Over 100 million blogs are hosted on Tumblr and it helps share multimedia content.
- WordPress: With WordPress you can create customer themes, publish contents as well as moderate comments on your site.
It’s also important to be aware of some of 2016’s content marketing trends. Some trends to note are: There is an emerging tendency to rely on and utilize large scale survey. Snippets of information from millions of social media platforms are being put together to form a story.
Twitter has a new project called Lightning, it is expected that with Lightning, you will be able to load videos and images instantly. It will show various events taking place that users are tweeting about. From breaking news to pre scheduled events to cultural events and moments, Lighting will be able to cover this.
The use of algorithms will see an increase in 2016, artificial intelligence is currently being used to search the website for information, to combine this information and produce articles. It is expected that it will be able to carry out even more complex tasks.
The use of the digital assistant Google’s Knowledge graph is on the rise, it provides users with information and instant answers to questions asked.
Digital assistants like Siri have reduced traffic to web pages because with them, you don’t have to click on sites; they provide the answers you are seeking.
We hope that this has been helpful. We have elaborated on the many benefits of content marketing. In particular, it’s great for getting people into the brand awareness stage of the customer lifecycle. With content marketing you can engage your audience and really help set your brand apart and above from all the noise in the online marketplace. The mantra here is that “content is king”, and it really rings true. Brands that engage in content marketing are going to have an easier time acquiring and maintaining customers.
Stay tuned for that next article!