- On December 8, 2016
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Out with the old and in with the new!
Gone are the days when marketers could persuade consumers simply with some catchy jingles and flashy images. Today’s consumers don’t give a second look to the cliche and rundown ads from the 90’s.
In fact, with a storm of information coming their way, they take all the necessary precautions to avoid the cookie cutter ads by installing ad blockers on their browsers. According to one study, approximately 200 million people worldwide have installed ad-blocking software.
But that doesn’t stop the smart marketers from presenting their services. We find our way around it with online content marketing.
What exactly is content marketing?
There is a lot of buzz around the word content marketing but Digital Marketer sums it perfectly-
“Content Marketing is the intersection of advertising and publishing”
In simple words, publishers attract the attention of the audience through great content. Marketing part comes in the picture, once the audience is accumulated. Brands advertise their services in and around the content (where the audience is) and influence them to purchase their service.
Create great content -> Gather Audience -> Advertise
How does content marketing work?
Content Marketing is a long-term plan that helps organizations build a relationship with their clients. Through a continuous flow of precious content, they build a brand image and collect loyal fans. When the consumer is ready to make their purchase, they are highly inclined towards buying your services.
When you think of content marketing, did you immediately think blogs and Facebook updates?
You are not entirely wrong, but content marketing goes a little beyond that.
Let me show you how.
While watching Captain America- Civil War last summer, did you realize you were subjected to a piece of content marketing from Audi?
Image Credit- Google Search
Yes, with the success of the previous 2 installments of the movie, it was already established that Captain America was a great piece of content. Audi realized the potential here and teamed up with the Marvel team to launched their “The Chase” marketing campaign.
As I said earlier, people are attracted to great content. Fans of the movie were in awe at luxurious Audi automobiles rushing around the superheroes unscathed.
Yes, online content marketing is a huge thing and can’t possibly be covered by just blogs.
Are you thinking how can I boost MY business with content marketing?
If yes, you have come to the right place.
To start with content marketing, you need to find your ideal customer. You need to know how, what and why are they likely to buy from you.
Here, we’ll share all the elements necessary for you to build your content marketing strategy.
#1 Create the perfect marketing and sales funnel.
A perfect marketing and sales funnel is the surest way to highlight a brand’s unique voice and draw out the best results for lead conversion. Your ideal customer will go through 3 levels of content before converting into a paid customer.
Image Credit – Digital Marketer
At each of these stages, the mentality of the prospect is completely different. Keeping that in mind, your content will need to be cultivated accordingly.
Step 1- Make them aware
You will often see that not only your ideal customer not aware about the service you offer, let alone the problem you are solving for them. So at the first stage, your content will have to show them your expertise and how it will help them.
Step 2- Let them play the field
Different people react differently to different situations.
Once your prospect is aware of the problem, facilitate them with all the choices available to them and let them evaluate their options. They can choose to go with your competition or they can opt to not do anything at all.
Step 3- Strike while the iron it hot
The next step is crucial, this is where they make the final decision to swipe the card or not. Your content here will urge the lead to become frequent buyers from you.
How to decide what content to be presented to the customer and at what time?
Take a look at the fantastic content funnel by Digital Marketer. They accurately show what type of content works at what stage of the conversion funnel.
Image Source: Digital Marketer
TOFU – Top Of The Funnel
Understand that at this stage it’s only about education and awareness and not about sales. The goal is to raise awareness about the problem and how your services will solve their problems.
Your top of the funnel content needs to be catchy, relatable and most importantly it has to be freely available.
The type of content you can use are:
■ Blog posts
■ Social Media Updates
■ Digital Magazines/Books
■ Audio/Video Podcasts
■ Print Magazines/Newsletters
■ Primary Research
At the top of the funnel, a majority of the marketers provide content that is useful or content that connects with the target audience.
Check out how iiSuperwomanii, uses YouTube as a medium and shares emotionally driving content on her YouTube channel. Just by that, she has collected over 9 million subscriber fans and has built her own brand.
MOFU- Middle Of Funnel
Now that your audience knows about you, the next big goal is to convert the prospects into LEADS. The focus of the content here changes from educating the crowd to start making money from them.
How do you do that?
You get their contact details so that you can send them your sales pitch.
How do we get the contact details?
We bring out the lead magnets. Basically, you bribe your audience for their contact details. We offer them a piece of irresistible content in exchange for their contact number or email address.
What can be offered as a lead magnet?
The lead magnet content can vary from:
● Educational Resources (Case Study, White Paper, etc)
● Useful Resources (Swipe File, Checklist, etc)
● Software Downloads
● Discount/Coupon Clubs
Check out how Basecamp on their website is informing people about the issues of project management and the solution they offer.
Notice the form on the right?
In exchange of the user’s contact details, Basecamp is giving away a basic version of their platform for free. They are using their service as the lead magnet itself.
Once the prospect signs up, they transcend to the Bottom Of Funnel.
BOFU- Bottom Of Funnel
This is the moment of truth.
All your content marketing efforts boil down to this stage. Your content here should be focused on lead nurturing that would urge the prospect to swipe his card for you.
What type of content will help you do that?
● Demos/Free Trials
● Customer Stories
● Comparison/Spec Sheets
Social media giant Facebook uses client success stories to entice leads evaluating their services.
And eZee Technosys– a hospitality IT start-up, provides a free trial of their software to their BOFU leads. They are allowing their leads to evaluate their service before making the purchase.
# Step 2 Find the ideal distribution channel
Content marketing is incomplete without the act of distributing at the right channels. Distributing the content at the right place is what will bring traction to your landing page.
The trick behind selecting content distribution channel is to be where your audience is. What are your options?
Your website and blog are channels that are owned by you and are called your home base. On the other hand, social media sites, Google AdWords etc., and called outposts.
Source Image: Jeff Bullas
Your audience is present on the outpost and through your content you want to bring them to your home base.
To make things a little easier, a single piece of content can be marketed on multiple channels. With a little bit of tweaking, a single content asset could be published across numerous channels to maximize exposure.
For example, Hubspot markets their in-depth blogs through their blog channel, social media and attracts leads on emails as well.
Do you know why online content marketing works?
It works because you are not forcing people to buy something.
On the contrary, using your content, you are letting them know that you understand their problems and you are here to solve them.
Your audience should know that you are an organization that knows what they are doing.
They must think, “this is what I was talking about”.
The key to effective content marketing is regularly creating the content that people can immediately relate to.
A customer experience solutions provider- Qualtrics sets a great example of benefits of content marketing.
Image Source: Qualitrics
They published a white paper that offered their audience various tips on lowering costs.
Below are the results of their content marketing strategy
●They generated more than 2,500 leads
● In 30 days, they were able to generate $1,000,000+ in the net new pipeline.
● Largest attribution source for leads in 1H 2015
● Cost per conversion of less than $1.30/each
Are you still thinking how will your business benefit from content marketing?
According to marketing guru- Neil Patel,
“If brands can develop an effective strategy for creating content based on proper understanding of their target audience, they’ll not only drive leads but will also increase sales”
What results can you expect?
When it comes to content marketing…
… THERE ARE NO QUICK RESULTS.
Check out this fantastic graph used by Moz explaining the point.
Image Source: Moz
You have to give it your all, just to get things started. If you start a campaign today, it will be pretty silly of you to expect amazing results the next day.
Like planting an apple tree, it’ll take quite some time before you can reap the fruits.
You did everything right, now wait and watch, you’ll succeed.
After all this in mind, when are you planning to start your content marketing strategy?