07 Mar If Content is King, Where is Yours?
Many of us are in business for a simple reasons. We love what we do or want to share it with other people. We draw deep meaning from our work and we love being able to be our own boss.
Reality hits somewhere down the line when bills and finances get tight and it’s not just enough to be passionate; it helps to be profitable. Many of us have overcome this by applying new disciplines to life and business (not taking away passions) that let you effectively do what you love.
If your business is growing you’ve probably taken steps to make the business operate better. You probably got someone to do the accounting and books for you. It hurt to let part of your business go, but there are people who specialize in that skillset, so it made sense to free up some time. You may have hired a manager or salesperson to help with some of the day to day lifting. Of course, you do it best but adding someone to the team adds dividends when you need some time to focus on a project or take a vacation!
There are reasonable steps businesses take to really narrow in on both what drives you the owner and what feeds your family. One of those steps is reaching new people with your services and products. Que Content Marketing.
Advertising use to do two things really well: Put the business name in front of a lot of people often, and tell them what the business did. After thousands of times of seeing a Campbell’s Soup can on T.V. we all bought them.
With the growth of business (notably small businesses) that is only natural in a thriving economy, there could be hundreds of similar businesses in your city vying for the same visibility in traditional media outlets.
New Advertising = Content Marketing
Slipping away are the days where a direct mailer to the North end of town brings in a slew of sales inquiries. Not to say that newspaper ads and mailers are useless today, they just aren’t as effective anymore.
Content Marketing has caught on in the years since the dot com boom because 1) content has driven so much of what search engines are looking for and 2) content that helped, rather than merely sold, made huge impressions on customers.
So, What is Content Marketing?
Undoubtedly, you have noticed businesses killing it with expansive blogs, social media reaches, and creative video content. Content Marketing is when you use those avenues to not sell, sell, sell but to pour value into your customer’s lives.
This is counter-intuitive at first thought, but makes perfect sense after you think it through.
Content Marketing as a Customer Funnel
I am new to the area that I am living in and had an itch for a hike. I remembered from an article that the place that I was going has several deaths per year. Naturally, I wanted to prepare myself for possible circumstances.
Being that I’m the average tech user that I am, I opened up Google and started looking things up. There was a local business that offered up some information along with a few tips to navigating the area that I was going to be in. I read up and it was useful. I even found a map with a list of a couple must see places.
The business added value to me because I had many questions and the business offered thoughtful answers to each one. They cared about my hiking experience. But they didn’t stop there. They also made available a couple things that could further help me out that they happened to specialize in. I ended up purchasing a durable map of the hiking area and a water bottle with a custom sticker. And, probably, when I need new hiking gear I’ll be coming back for a bigger purchase.
Content Marketing is a funnel. It starts wide and the hope is that potential customers sail on through to be actual customers.
The Four Parts of a Content Sales Funnel
1. Constant, Helpful Content
This is the meat and bulk of what you are offering to people. You write, record videos, and show pictures in a way that helps educate, inspire, or entertain your customer base. If you are in the cake business, it is 100% okay to write about the “3 Things You Need for Your Wedding Reception” even if the article isn’t about your cakes or cake business. You should be the first one to know that your potential customers have a party or celebration on their mind and so this type of article works. The funnel is wide open.
2. Making Content Visible
Whether you have a Youtube Channel or the all important Facebook Page, you need to make sure that your content is actually being seen. At first, you start out with 7 followers and no leads. And that’s alright. You are at the stage of providing value and building confidence in your brand.
You must make sure you are persistent in adding value. Because if value is there, followers and likes will follow.
You should mildly be aware of SEO. If people are asking questions that you are answering, but they can’t find your website, you need some work done. SEO lets search engines work for you and bring in people who are asking the questions that you’re answering. Visibility is important.
3. Clear Call to Actions Alongside Content
To carry on with the cake business picture, if you are writing that article, “3 Things You Need for Your Wedding Reception”, you need to make sure that you provide opportunities for your product or service to be seen.
Now, you aren’t writing a sales pitch about what you can do for them. You are writing to them something that helps them outside of your business services and products. This doesn’t mean that you hide from them about what you do. Obviously, in the URL they see CincinnatiCustomCakes.com or they can see what you do by going to your homepage; so you aren’t hiding who you are. You just aren’t beating them over the head with sales inundations.
What you do need is little opportunities, within the content, for people to find out about what you can do for them.
This can look like a lot of things:
- Strategic product placement in a side bar.
- Using the content to build interest/need for a particular thing that you offer (while not being “salesie”).
- Showing them more ideas in differents article, thus allowing them to trust you more.
- Getting them to follow you on your preferred social media platforms.
The possibilities are truly limited only by your imagination and the time you invest.
4. Hook Them and Keep Them
It’s good to get a visitor to your site and turn them into a customer. What’s better is turning them into a lifetime customer.
This part of the funnel deals with 2 things. First, you need to make sure your product or service was pleasing to them. If dealing with you was a headache, you will never see them again except for when you reread their dizzying 2 star review.
Secondly, you need to keep them. All to often we sell a single oil-change/cake/consultation and that is the end of it. It helped out for April 2016’s P&L but not ever again.
We keep them in the funnel by continuously giving them things that they are interested in. That’s why you see blogs about finance or travel that have thousands of articles. They write and engage people over and over. This keeps people clicking on your site and coming back. Offering continuous value keeps people interested when they have 1,345 friends and 497 pages on their feed.
Constant content keeps your business in front of people. And if all your content is helpful, visible, and has a clear call to action, you will have new and repeat customers for a long time coming.
Need some help coming up with a strategy for Content Marketing? Give us a call.