7 Ways to Reach Customers Via Content Marketing
Businesses, non-profits, and media outlets ignore Content Marketing at their own peril.
Dan Steiner, CEO of Elite Legal Marketing, puts it quite succinctly: “There's simply nothing more important than killer content in the digital marketing space.”
While there’s certainly nothing new about the concept of content marketing, it remains a vital element that can reap big rewards if done correctly. Conversely, a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approach simply won’t work for savvy consumers who have the Internet world at their fingertips. Instead, businesses must create unique, high-quality, and authentic content that informs and is useful, interesting, and entertaining. That content can take the form of text, video, images, surveys, graphics, webinars, or podcasts. Still, it must capture the viewers’ attention and – most importantly – lead them to take action.
“Content is the backbone of any drive to interact with your readers or customers,” says Shai Aharony, CEO of Reboot Online. “It is the most important opportunity you have to impress the reader with your knowledge, expertise, or ethos. The quicker publishers realize this, the quicker their websites take the place they expect in the industry of their choice.”
The reason content has dominated the marketing industry in recent years is quite simple. It is still the best way to connect with your customers or potential customers, especially online, where they increasingly spend most of their time.
Great content marketing also “Centers around the customers rather than itself,” writes Steve Olenski in Forbes Magazine. “It attracts people rather than interrupts them, and it’s more about them than it is about you.”
Marketing Coordinator Rose Burberry-Martin, contrasts content marketing with traditional advertising, saying: “Content marketing informs, entertains, educates, and offers utility. It’s also there when people decide they want it, rather than trying to thrust itself upon them.”
Steiner suggests making content the central core of your online marketing strategy because it reaches customers in at least seven key ways:
Answering Questions – Consumers often search for answers to questions online, in areas as mundane as fixing a bicycle tire to as exciting as planning a vacation. So, when your content answers their questions, your website may land at the top of their search results, putting you at the forefront of the very people you’re trying to reach. Besides answering their questions, you can also give them information about your business and what you do.
Establishing Yourself as the Expert (Thought Leadership) – Think about the companies whose products you use and trust. Why do they come to the forefront of your mind? Perhaps it is because you perceive them as leaders in their particular fields. For example, we often tell people, “I’ll Google it” when they ask us for an answer to a question. Google has morphed from a company name to a verb in our culture simply because they are considered a “thought leader” in their industry.
As you become a “thought leader” in your respective industry, your content will begin showing up more frequently in search results. That is because your solid content marketing online showcases your subject matter expertise.
Speaking Directly to Customers - As you create content your customers find helpful you establish a connection with them. They feel as though they are having or can have a dialog with you. Blog posts, videos, webinars, or personalized responses that directly answer their questions in your area of expertise demonstrate that you care about them. For example, suppose you own a flooring company. In that case, you could put together a series of videos explaining how to replace a hardwood floor. A financial planner can attract new clients who need help with managing their business finances by answering questions about thorny economic issues small business owners face.
Encouraging Loyalty – Not only does content have the power to engage your customers. It can also instill trust as they consider whether to buy a product from or hire you for the services you provide. As potential customers or clients regularly read, hear, or watch the content you provide, they will more likely begin feeling a personal connection to your brand. Over time, that builds loyalty. Your regular blog or podcast allows you to connect with customers while building that loyalty as you engage them over business challenges, community involvement, and even social issues.
Opening a Dialogue – Your content should allow you the opportunity to begin a conversation with your customers or potential clients as they comment on your blog or social media posts. You can gain valuable insight from their interaction as well as answer their questions and even complaints. As they see you taking their comments and feedback seriously, that builds loyalty and keeps the dialogue – and hopeful the business – flowing your way.
Keeping Content Flowing and Accessible – Research shows that nearly three out of four customers prefer getting information from articles or blogs rather than ads. As you regularly update your blog and other pertinent information, you are putting content online where customers can find it. Plus, you can share a greater amount of content than you could in an ad. As a result, customers are more likely to buy from you rather than one of your competitors. That is if you have great content along with a sound content marketing strategy.
Selling Through Content – Content can serve as your most effective sales tool, especially if you incorporate photos or short videos into your online posts. For example, suppose yours is a product-related business. In that case, you can utilize content marketing by posting a "how-to" video or a five-step way to use the product. For companies specializing in services, photos of your staff busy helping others, or – for a financial planner – a blog detailing a step-by-step plan to get out of debt. The goal is to paint a picture of your business that compels clients or customers to learn more about you, so you become their “go-to” person.
Content continues to reign as king when it comes to being an effective marketing tool in your business toolkit. That is true for your website, Facebook, and even LinkedIn, which is primarily geared toward business-to-business interaction. A different form of content marketing, by building an effective LinkedIn profile highlighting the services you offer, you can attract other business professionals looking for that service. From there, as they visit your website, they’ll learn more about you and how your services can solve their particular problems.
As you utilize content marketing to communicate information that your ideal customers are interested in reading about, you’ll see better results in potential leads. Then, as you continue to monitor your efforts and tweak your content strategy, you’ll see more sales and higher profits.
Dave Ficere is an Author, Editor, and Ghostwriter with over 30 years of experience in broadcasting and writing. When Dave is not writing and editing manuscripts for clients, you can typically find him narrating and producing audiobooks.
To learn more about Dave, visit him on LinkedIn.
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