After the golden age of advertising as the best way to generate sales, it appears that customers and consumers expect now something different from the brands. Today, we all wish to make conscious choices before buying. We want to inform ourselves about our alternatives. Reading or watching content has become the new normal before making a purchasing decision.
And the result is clear: although content marketing costs are 62% less than traditional marketing, it generates about 3 times as many leads1, and conversion rates are nearly 6x higher2. Looking at such numbers, it seems obvious that in specific situations, content marketing makes the difference.
Whether you have just started a new business, you are about to launch a new product or service, you need to educate your customers, you want to position yourself as an expert or you are working in a very competitive environment, you will benefit from content marketing. Let’s discover how.
1. You’ve just started a new business
Build trust and brand awareness
As a fresh entrepreneur, one of your main preoccupations is probably to get your brand known. Content marketing is the most effective way of building awareness to your targeted audience.
By creating content that answers the questions of your potential leads and customers, relevant traffic will significantly increase on your website. Just as your products meet a need, your articles answer the questions that your prospects are asking.
If you publish consistent, targeted and quality content, your prospects come back to your page when they need information. They become aware of your brand as a reliable resource.
Learn to know your prospects
Indeed, engaging, educational, and valuable content contributes to create a relationship between your business and your audience. Moreover, it demonstrates that you know your topics and establish you as an expert in your field. You gain the trust of your leads and customers when you understand the issues they are facing and you bring them the right answers.
Being aware of your prospect’s issues is necessary to develop useful content. The other way around, content marketing also helps you to better know them. By tracking which content is the most successful, which articles people share, which eBooks they download, you are able to finetune your content strategy.
Content analysis is an excellent way to gain insights that you can use to create accurate buyer personas and better understand your market segments.
With time, your content is becoming very targeted to your prospects, making it more effective than traditional advertising, that rather reaches a broad, non-specific audience. It is now well established that content marketing generates about 3 times as many leads as traditional marketing and advertising campaigns1.
In addition, content marketing is not only great for lead generation, it’s also affordable. Even if you outsource your content marketing or need to hire someone, typically costs are less than the half of outbound marketing tactics.
Maximize ROI for small businesses
Small businesses, especially when newly launched, often rely on traffic on their website to find leads, convert them into customers and develop their sales. Efficient content attracts quality leads, who share the content they like on social media and within their network, participating in increasing brand visibility.
Content marketing is very powerful if it delivers the right message to the right audience and at the right time.
It is also proven to influence conversions. Once customers get used to come to your page to find answers to their questions, they are more likely to buy from you when they need a product or service related to those questions.
For small businesses, which need to optimize a limited marketing budget, content marketing is the preferred tactic. Since it is affordable and highly effective, it leads to an excellent return on investment over time.
2. You are launching a new product or service
Don’t rely on paid advertising
If you are about to launch a new product or service, you certainly budgeted advertisement somewhere in your promotional plan. Although paid ads can still help to acquire customers, they are becoming less and less effective. Indeed, nearly half of all web users are blocking ads today3.
In 2020, customers and consumers wish to make informed choices before purchasing. This is true both for B2B and B2C. Answer questions, give information, be helpful without asking your reader to buy from you, and you build a relationship with your audience that becomes trust after a while.
Solve a problem
Your new product or service has been created to solve a problem or fill a need. Your targeted audience is spending time looking for a solution to that specific problem, mostly on internet. To attract qualified leads to your website, give them answers to their questions through well-documented, educational and consistent articles, eBooks, webinars or videos, without explicitly promoting your products or services.
To attract the right leads, your content should align with your product or service: both are there to answer the same questions, solve the same problem and offer appropriate solutions.
Sharing your knowledge positions you as an expert in your field, builds trust with your prospects and increases their awareness for your brand. Efficient content marketing efforts result in attracting qualified leads, stimulating their interest for your solutions and converting them into buyers.
Generate qualified leads
With launching a new product or offering a new service, your ultimate target is to increase sales. To achieve that, you need to attract qualified leads that are likely to buy from you. Content marketing helps to build awareness and increase traffic with users who are searching for your particular offer on the web.
By publishing the right content for your target audience, only people who are really interested in your business see it. It means that you are avoiding a profusion of unqualified leads that you may generate with other marketing tactics. Your sales team can focus on following up leads with ideal buyer profiles, saving time, energy and money.
Improve lead conversion
By reading your content, your audience collects the information they need to make an educated purchasing decision. At the same time, their connection with your brand increases. It is only natural that they reach out to you the day they are ready to buy.
To facilitate the process, your content should guide your audience throughout the customer’s journey until purchasing: awareness, consideration, and decision.
In the awareness stage, your visitors have just realized they have a specific problem. You provide them with general blog articles that explain ways to solve it. While reading your content, your visitors recognize your expertise and start to trust your brand.
In the consideration stage, your visitors evaluate the different solutions to their problem. At that point, they come back to your website and look for more detailed information, like longer articles, eBooks or videos. They already consider your brand as a potential resource to help solve their problem.
In the decision stage, your visitors are now able to make an educated choice, and see your brand as expert in the field. To simplify the conversion of your leads into buyers, your content should always include calls-to-action. CTAs guide users to a landing page like the description of the relevant products or services, and finally to your contact page: your leads are ready to make the last step.
3. You need to educate the customers
Explain your innovation
You did it! You used the best of your experience and expert knowledge to design an ingenious product or create a completely new service. Congratulations! Now, how will you let the world know and understand your innovation? Most important, how will you reach your target audience and help them realize that you can solve their problem or fill their need in a different way?
Highly innovative businesses request more than just communication: they need customer education.
Targeted content is an excellent platform to provide explanations about unique ways to solve a specific problem.
Publish targeted content
People looking for information around that problem will naturally land on your page. This is the best opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and show that you can provide answers. Without directly promoting your products or services, you provide your visitors with free content especially designed for the purpose of educating them about a specific topic and innovative solutions.
Build understanding and trust
With such type of content, you are not only educating your audience, you are also building trust in your expertise. Customers’ trust is important for all companies, but it is crucial if your solution is brand-new, so that people follow you and are ready to try something they never tried before.
In order to build trust, your content needs to be very informative and educational. Your articles, and more generally all material available for your audience, like eBooks, videos, etc… should explain the context of the problem, tackle the opportunities and challenges, the pros and cons of the different solutions available, and give all information necessary to help understand the innovative part of your solution.
Convert prospects into advocates
Your content should be designed to support your brand through all stages of the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration, decision, loyalty, and advocacy. Depending of the stage, your potential customer has different questions about the product or service that you are offering, from looking for general information in the awareness stage to commercial details in the decision stage. In addition, each content should include a well-timed call-to-action.
Even after the purchase, your content still has a role to play. To ensure customers’ loyalty, continue to publish information they may find useful, like how to best use your product. As marketer of a brand-new product or service, you may especially rely on word-of-mouth to develop your sales.
In the advocacy stage, make sure that you provide your customers with content that they can easily use, forward or repost to recommend your product.
Throughout that process, your leads and customers share information about themselves, that allows you to offer personalised content and nurture your relationship with them. Informed, educated and satisfied customers are your best brand ambassadors.
4. You want to position yourself as an expert
Showcase your expertise
You are working in a challenging field with major or sensitive issues, like health, nutrition, science, security or safety. Or maybe you offer high-tech or complex technical solutions. To gain the trust of your potential customers, it is key that you demonstrate that you are an expert in your area. Even if not the only one, content is an excellent way to showcase your expertise.
Each time you publish articles and other educational material, you are demonstrating your experience and expert knowledge. You show your audience that you own your subject. They realise that you know the context, the issues, the challenges, but also the opportunities, and you are able to give valuable information and answers.
Focus on quality over quantity
While it is important to publish regularly to keep the interest of your leads and attract them on your website, if your objective is to be recognized as an expert, you should pay particular attention to the quality of your content and all material you make available to your audience.
Whether you are working in a field that is sensitive (like health) or very technological (like cars), your potential customers want to know that they can fully rely on the information you provide.
The same is true if you are working in B2B, when the quality of your customers’ products strongly depends on the quality of yours.
Build brand authority
Regular, consistent and high-quality content brings leads to your site and builds trust in your expertise. Over time, your content is commented, shared, reposted and back-linked, increasing your brand exposure and authority. In addition, you can further enhance your brand authority by asking industry or health organisations to approve your content, or collaborate with key opinion leaders or influencers.
Creating useful, educational content, together with being active in your community, can bring your audience to consider you as a thought leader in your industry.
Publishing quality content also helps build your website authority online. When the traffic on your website increases, search engines are likely to rank it higher, contributing to boost your brand visibility further.
Turn visitors into customers
Whether in B2B or B2C, we all want to deal with experts who understand our needs and issues, and are able to bring the right solutions. Make sure your content meets the expectations of your potential customers, and they will naturally turn to a brand they trust when they are ready to purchase.
5. You are in a highly competitive environment
Set your brand apart from its competitors
Whether you own a local small business that needs to compete with major brands selling similar products, or you are working in a field together with many other players, you are looking for the best way to set your brand apart from its competitors.
Content marketing helps to show your audience what makes your company special and different from its competitors. Based on the information they receive from you, your potential customers will make a conscious choice between you and your competitors.
Develop your brand personality
Your brand personality plays a role in the purchasing decision. How do you want to position your brand? Serious, professional, fun, committed to a cause? Your content should reflect your brand personality.
The type of content, the tone you use to write or speak, the way you structure and present the information, that all contributes to anchor your brand’s personality in the minds of customers.
Connect to your target audience
Your brand is unique and so is your content. They especially resonate with your target buyers and show them what makes your business special compared to competitors.
Keeping on creating content around the value of your brand establishes a relationship with your target audience. Over time, you attract leads who understand better and better what differentiates you from the others.
Once it is time for them to purchase, they choose a brand they trust – in this case yours – over a competitor’s brand.
Cultivate customers’ loyalty
Satisfied customers strongly contribute to a positive brand reputation. The service you provide after the purchase participates to their satisfaction.
Publish contents that are useful to people who already bought your products, like guides, how-to videos or other types of visual contents explaining how to get the most out of your products or services.
Moreover, repeated sales probably represent a significant part of your company’s revenue. Helpful content helps you to strengthen your relationships with current customers, encouraging them to rebuy and making brand advocates out of them.
When your content is informative, useful and valuable for your customers at each stage of their buyers’ journey, they share it on social media. It generates backlinks and more traffic on your page. Your website’s authority increases and it ranks higher in search engine results. So, keep your site content relevant and up-to-date. Don’t forget that your competitors are probably doing so as well!
If your business is in one of the situations mentioned above, it is easy to understand how content marketing can make the difference. An efficient content marketing strategy develops your website traffic, propels your business to the top of search engine results, increases your brand visibility and finally boosts your sales.
Now that we all want to make more conscious decisions before purchasing, it is time to make informative and educational content available to your customers. Give information and answer questions around specific issues related to your business. Post it in different places to attract the relevant audience. Establish your brand as a trusted authority in your industry and yourself as a thought leader. Boost your visibility, build strong relationships with your leads and convert them into buyers. Keep on publishing consistent and high-quality content, and you will be rewarded with customer loyalty.
Content marketing is a long-term strategy that requires a variety of formats, valuable content and well-timed publication in the right places. Whatever the size of your business – start-up or market leader, start now and develop a content strategy with the clear purpose of connecting with your targeted audience. Content marketing is more than a trend, it is the foundation of your digital marketing strategy. It is riskier to do without it than to invest in it.
3 GlobalWebIndex, 2019
© 2020 – CREAFED Marketing & Text Creation – IF – creafed.com