Simple Tricks To Master
For business owners, established content marketers
Inform your content.
We’re all familiar with how the sales funnel works: the process of learning about a company, gaining understanding, purchasing and becoming a repeat customer. Within the sales funnel, different audiences require different content at each step, whether it is focused on building interest, solving problems or creating relationships. To focus your efforts, this funnel can be organized into three general categories.
Those at the top of the funnel need basic information about a problem, solution and industry. They should be encouraged to share information like their name, email and phone number so you can continue the conversation with them. This content should create curiosity that encourages the customer to engage with your brand.
As customers enter this stage, they have shown interest in your product and shared information or hit certain benchmarks for engagement: clicks, website visits and form submissions. Now it is time to introduce them to the unique benefits of your product and get them to a point of decision making. “Should I buy brand X or brand Y?” is the question customers in this stage ask and your digital and print content should address it.
• Creating relationships:
Customers who reach the bottom of the funnel are proof that you are doing content marketing right. Now it’s time to take those customers and inspire them to become advocates for your brand or product by submitting a quote or review, participating in a case study, being a customer reference and more. There is so much you can do to take the business of one happy customer and use it to create more customers.
Choose the best content types.
Not all types of content are equal. Some, like video, can be suited to virtually any stage of the sales funnel, but others lend themselves to specific levels of engagement. Evaluating the best type of content for a message is the next step in producing something that will reach the right customer at the right time. Building awareness at the top of the funnel? I focus my efforts on blog posts, infographics and two trendy 2018 content types: helpful and informative videos and long-form content. Engaging long-form pieces can provide a significant lift to your SEO marketing efforts and informational depth to benefit potential customers.
Lower in the funnel, demonstrate how your specific product can help potential customers. Content like e-books, product videos, white papers, webinars and side-by-side comparisons are great ways to get the customer to make a favorable decision when asking “should I buy brand X or brand Y?” Customer advocacy content stems from continuing the conversation with the customer after their point of purchase. Most often, we turn to email marketing with calls to action for reviews, check in via email and phone to gauge their willingness to be an advocate and, overall, aim to let them know how much we appreciate their business and genuinely take into mind their thoughts about the product.
Find the right distribution channels.
Effective content comes in all shapes and sizes — quite literally. From a 280-character tweet to a massive freeway billboard, there are many ways to reach customers. Utilizing the best distribution opportunity is key to finding the most customers with informed content.
Billboards and digital ads, for example, may be good for building awareness, but they do virtually nothing for creating relationships. Your blog and social media channels are ideal locations for top-of-funnel content. Partner with other websites and blogs for top- and mid-funnel content and include links that draw customers to your blog or website. Your own website is a great place for mid- and lower-funnel content, which boosts SEO and is conveniently located for customers who are taking a look at your products. Email marketing is also perfect for focusing on the mid- and lower-funnel by creating messages and segmenting campaigns to speak to specific topics and needs. The theme I always share is that as a marketer you not only need to create great content but you also need to be sure it gets in front of the right eyes. Selecting the best possible channels will help your content shine.
Check your metrics.
The final piece of the puzzle is to keep close tabs on how your content pieces are performing. This information provides a clear understanding of leads generated, engagement and conversion, which not only benefits the bottom line but also helps internally promote the value of your marketing efforts. Applied properly, metrics provide a solid roadmap for creating more effective content. By utilizing readership and customer feedback, marketing teams can optimize their content to perform better for the brand. In closing, here’s one bonus suggestion: If you’re not doing it, jump right in and start. Developing informed content, finding the right type and channel for distribution and keeping a close eye on metrics will result in great content that can be repurposed into a limitless number of new content pieces. The best way to have a strong 2018 is by starting early, and now is a great time to get going.
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