Content has always been an important element of marketing, however, how content is created and delivered has changed with modern marketing. No longer can companies push their product out to the market. With so much competition in the market and buying behaviors changing, you must get customers to know, like and trust you and your business. This does take time, however there is a great payoff.
It must be noted that simply creating content will not get you the results you want. You must create a full process, often times referred to as a ‘marketing funnel’. I’m going to walk you through this process. Once implemented you can begin bringing in leads and converting those prospects into buying customers. Best of all this can be done without a large salesforce.
Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
In a nutshell, content is the message that you package in the form of an e-book, blog, white paper, case study, infographic, podcast, webinar and so on.
There is a plethora of information online. My guess is you have a few favorite individuals or businesses whose advice you seek on your favorite topics. Well, that's exactly what creating good content can do for your business. It establish you as an authority on a particular topic. It also helps keep your name top of mind with your target audience, differentiates your brand, and as a client told me, it makes your business 'relevant'.
Everyone is going after those coveted first ten spots (page one) on Google. To get there, you need search engine optimization (SEO). Content creation can help you do this.
Often times if you’re having trouble getting your business name to appear, you will have more opportunity by creating blogs that answer the most pertinent questions of your customers. When your ideal customer enters their most pressing question in Goggle your blogs will appear and answer that question.
Good content can be a way to exchange your expertise for a target's email address. This opens up great opportunities for lead generation. It is this exchange where the magic happens. It converts this reader of your content to and actual lead.
Before you begin putting together a content strategy, you need to have a clear understanding as to who you are writing for? How well you do you know your audience? What are their pain points, hobbies, business topics of interest.
This will help you identify what to write about and how to package the content.
Creating an opt-in is done by “gating” your content offers such as those listed above: industry e-books, reports and customer case studies. Gating content refers to requiring a user to submit their name and email address via a form prior to receiving content. The item of interest is sent via that email address to the requestor.
This is a very effective way to increase your database. Not only are you providing valuable to your potential customer, you are showing yourself as knowledgeable and trustworthy. Better yet, willing to make an exchange for a content piece are most likely interested in that topic and what you’re are offering, further helping you target specifically to your audience.
You can’t simply write a great blog or host a podcast and then simply ask people to subscribe to your email list. Yes, this is done, but it is only after a person has effectively established themselves as an industry expert and gained trust of their audience.
If you are not to this point yet, as most of us are not, consider offering something your customer would value. Examples include: checklists, swipe files, shopping list, templates, discounts and more.
Say a person, who fits your ideal customer, reads your blog and is interested in the shopping list you are providing in a download. Terrific, but how is this exchange made?
First you will want to include a call-to-action within your blog. That means you will want to include a hyperlink, a call-out box, a pop-up box or all of the above. This link, however it is created, will link to a landing page.
A landing Page is a single page within your website where you can direct visitors to one particular offer without the distractions of everything else on your website. The goal is to bring the visitors to your landing page for the purpose of completing the lead capture form.
Sometimes people will come to your landing page without completing the opt-in form. To increase the likelihood they convert remove the main navigation for the top of your landing page.
Also, keep your messaging consistent on both your CTA (call to action) and the headline of the landing page. If people click on a link for a free offer and then find out there’s a catch on the landing page, you’ll instantly lose their trust. Similarly, if the headline reads differently than the CTA, it might lead to confusion, and the visitor might wonder if the CTA is linked to the wrong page.
Don’t stop your communication at the offer exchange. This person has already expressed interest in the topic you have presented. Now it is time to keep this relationship moving by nurturing this lead.
It is important to note that most people who visit your website, read your blog or download your content are not ready to buy. However, be known, liked and trusted will take some time and that is why lead nurturing is so important.
This can be done through a series of emails or by consistently delivery valuable content.