CONTENT MARKETING (INBOUND)
WHAT IS CONTENT MARKETING?
It’s an old and incredibly effective marketing practice with a new name – it’s actually the third name we’ve seen it promoted as in our careers. First it was Pull Marketing vs. Push Marketing. Then Education-based marketing. Then Inbound Marketing (and is still called that) and now simply Content Marketing.
The model and practices are grounded in the fact that most consumers prefer being educated than being sold to, that they prefer to buy from someone they like and trust than being sold to buy someone slick and pushy with a good deal, and that they prefer to have some choice and control in their buying process, than being continuously interrupted by invasive promotional messages.
Content Marketing is a way of positioning yourself or your company in a way that you can be found by people interested in what you offer but are initially searching to learn, gain knowledge and understand things that will help them make effective purchasing decisions. Then providing valuable and helpful knowledge that establishes your credibility and fosters trust over time, making you the most likely person or company they will buy from.
How can you attract users without interrupting their user experience? Without annoying them? What if you could attract users to relevant information related to your product? You can with Content and Inbound Marketing! In the form of blogs, videos, podcasts, infographics, quizzes, ebooks or slidedeck presentations.
Here’s an example.
You own a beauty clinic in Toronto. You want to attract customers to come in for facials and skin care services, but you don’t want to annoy them with “in their face ads” (sorry for the pun). Instead, you create a guide called “How to Get Rid of Your Acne,” which includes opinions and tips that really worked for professionals and consumers to get rid of their acne. By understanding the target market’s needs (pains & problems they want a solution for) and offering to share valuable information at no charge, you’ve just created what’s called “clickbait,” a piece of content that users are interested in clicking on to learn more.
You have created a valuable piece of content for the consumer. You appealed to their needs, emotions and insecurities and gave them valuable solutions to resolving their acne for good. Now if the guide was helpful and valuable, the consumer has gained trust with your brand. You’ve educated them and added value. Those are the main components of content marketing: adding value and educating the consumer in turn for the consumer to trust your brand.
Consumers will accept being marketed to if the content is informative, adds value or educational or gives them something they want/value for free. What can you give away for free that your potential customers will value and appreciate? A free guide or ebook, helpful audio or video, a white paper on a new research study, a free course that you drip-feed by email and many other ideas.
Here are the steps we usually follow:
- Step 1Educating and Adding Value is part of the initial stages of a consumer purchase journey. You created content to lure in consumers and they clicked on your relevant content.
- Step 2Lure Them in Further & ASK FOR THEIR EMAIL. They are already interested in the content you gave them. What about a free promo code for one of your products or additional guides or white papers that further educate them (while building trust in you)? Now all you need is to grab their email address and get them to subscribe to your email marketing or social media channel. Allow consumers to give you permission to add them to your mailing list to send out relevant content and once-in-a-while promotions. Let them know they can unsubscribe whenever they want to. (email marketing, inbound marketing, permission-based marketing).
- Step 3Regularly & Respectfully Engage with Your Email Subscribers- warm leads/ engaged audience/interested audience. You have a list of email subscribers in the palm of your hands. You can strategically craft emails catered to their needs and wants. Consider the first email you sent to them and why they were engaged in that initial piece of content. They wanted a solution to one of their problems and you provided that. Now, you can relay relevant information, content that educates and entertains, and carefully crafted promotional offers. They may not be in the buying mindset or stage, but they trust you, like you and feel you respect their “INBOX”, so they stay on your mailing list. Warmed, nurtured leads who know you, trust you and like you are 6 x more likely to become a paying customer than a brand new prospect.
- Step 4Be Social and Broadcast Content Everywhere. If you’ve created relevant content you want to share it everywhere. If it’s engaging and relevant users are likely to share it across social media channels. Even promote it as sponsored facebook posts or ads.
What you’ll see happen?
- MORE SITE VISITS
- MORE LEADS
- MORE FOLLOWERS/ FANS
- MORE REPEAT BUSINESS
- MORE REFERRALS