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What is ‘Content marketing’? It’s publishing online content which is not explicitly promotional, right? Yes and no. The definition is not complete if we don’t include the fact that it is done to simulate the audience’s interest in products and services. So, simply put, you are selling your services without saying that you are doing so. Tricky, right? It need not be if you follow some very elementary principles in designing your content marketing strategy.
It’s imperative that you identify a target achievement before setting out to implement a content marketing strategy. The aiming-for-the-stars-hitting-the-mountain approach may work; only if you are lucky. If you want to hit the mountain, train your sights on the peak. If you want leads, customise your strategy to reach the right people rather than aiming to generate more traction.
Once you decide the goal, it’s crucial to determine who will help you achieve that goal, in terms of customers. For instance, if you are selling a pest control service, it’s essential to tailor your communication to a homemaker whose profile could be something like this:
Your customer is a 35-year-old married homemaker with a kid. Mary (fictional character) has housemaids to help her with the dishes but cooks food herself. She is educated and tech-savvy and does use her smartphone a lot.
Your profile could be different, but the idea is to zero in on your potential customer. Even if you are selling a B2B service, it’s necessary to simulate a character portrait of the decision-makers. Remember, it’s about people; you ain’t targeting bots!
So where does your consumer generally go; when online? In the above example, the chances are that Mary may be frequenting online shopping websites, food blogs, and spending time on Facebook. It would then make sense to place a blog or a video about your pest control services at these sites to remind her that she has roaches in her kitchen. Is there a point in putting your content pieces on a sports website? Got the drift, didn’t you?
Would you want to have a look at visuals filled with witty repartees or a testimonial video with a homemaker? Make stuff that amuses ‘coz something that pleases will stay in mind for a longer time. Next time, when Mary sees a roach, she should spoof the character in your video!
However, if you make an entertaining piece without a hook, the chances are that the content would be consumed, but the conversion from a reader or a viewer to a prospect may not happen. Make sure that your content piece leads the customer to a logical next step. After all, the idea is to motivate the customer to try the product, isn’t it?
Create a way for the customer to follow. Once Mary sees the Facebook video, lead her to your YouTube channel to watch more videos. Once there, take her to your website for more information. Once on the site, direct her to the blog page. On the blog page, carry a distinct call-to-action to download your brochure. Once she goes through it, lead her to schedule an appointment where she finally picks up a package. By the time she accesses the payment link, she would have started trusting your services.
Ensure that the transition between stages is neither too long nor too short. If it takes longer, your audience may lose interest. If it’s too short, they may start smelling a rat. You wouldn’t want to be conned into a purchase, would you? For instance, after Mary goes through a video on Facebook, send her a polite message introducing your YouTube channel. Spamming her with messages and mails pushing the channel link may have the opposite effect of turning her off.
Everybody out there wants to get a feeling of having made a purchase, rather than being sold to. Let your user feel that they have come across a great deal after having searched for it. More than the purchase, it’s the fact that they have ‘unearthed’ a great service/product that will make them feel it worth their attention.
Make it a point to track the progress of your content marketing strategy. Use data analytics to check whether the numbers of users are consistently increasing across various interfaces. If the numbers on YouTube, for instance, are growing, but website visitors are not, then it perhaps means that people are viewing your videos for entertainment only. It’s better than no visitors but still does not serve your purpose. Make course corrections, wherever necessary.
Lastly, don’t berate yourself into feeling that you are conning the customer into buying something that they don’t want. On the contrary, as a content person, you are trying to invite people who may benefit from your offer. Think of it as if you are paying the toll for the car behind you on an interstate highway. If the guy at the wheel follows you inquisitively, he will be impressed. If he does not, he will still thank you! 😀
If you want to create a winning content marketing strategy using the above tips, give us a call. We’ll be glad to help. 😀