To understand the importance of content marketing, it helps to know about the sales funnel process, where a potential customer goes from knowing nothing about a product or service to buying it.
Before the customer does that, there are various points in the sales funnel that guide him through the process. The customer will first find out about your product or service through Google search. Once he gets to know about your product, his curiosity is piqued and he will want to know more about your product – do his research. He may want to read a few articles or blogs with quality information about the product or service, read a couple of reviews, do a price comparison, before deciding to buy it.
The entire process usually takes no more than 15 minutes. The success of content marketing lies in getting the customer to buy your product or service at the end of the 15 minutes. We discuss just how this is done and how you can make content marketing work for you. Read on!
1. Get to know your potential customer
The key to writing great content related to a product or service is knowing the potential buyer. Why do they want to buy your product, what motivates them, what do they dream about, what’s their particular need or problem that needs to be addressed and so on. The key to content marketing is to create a demographic overview of the potential customer base, finding out the target customer’s gender, income, age, marital status, employment status, education and so on. Knowing about their hobbies and habits, their behavior on the internet, which sites do they go to, which keywords do they search for, are they impulsive buyers or in depth researchers – try to create a holistic view of your customers, which helps greatly as you create content targeted at them, which attracts them, gets their attention.
2. Where do you want the content published?
Just as important writing great content is knowing where to have it published. You should actually identify the channels to be used for publishing your content before writing it. This is because, by identifying the channels before, you increase the chances of the content being picked up. Also, a smart content marketing strategy is about identifying outlets to publish the content that is frequented by the target customer. That is why knowing where your target customers spend their time, and what sort of content do they like (whether audio, video, blogs, newsletters and so on) is so very important, and this is often determined by their age, gender, education or income. You should know which brands they trust most, do they like CNN or Fox News, do they read the New York Times or Wall Street Journal and so on.
3. Always keep your ultimate business goal in mind
While selecting a topic, always know your business goal. You may use topics related to your industry – “What are the best selling Vacuum Cleaners in the country?”; address a specific question – “How do I select a mattress for my home?”; talk about the trends in your business – “Top 5 Trends for DVD Players in 2014” or write a “how to” guide addressing your product – “How to clean up your PC using xxx”, or take knowledge taken from another domain and apply it to your own – “What does the movie Inception teach us about Cyber Security?” and so on. Remember, you should target the layperson with your articles, not a member of the industry. Your content should inform, entertain and entice. And there should be a real connection between what you write and the product or service that you’re trying to sell.
4. Does your content deliver value to the customer?
The key to content marketing is content that seeks to inform, educate, and delivers a greater value, rather than just try to sell a product or service. In a way, this is hard to understand, because the primary goal of content marketing, indeed the only goal, is to sell the product or service. But if the content comes across as too much of a hard sell, or too salesmanlike, a potential customer is likely to be put off. That is why it is so important to provide excellent information and educate with the content, and also to make it entertaining. A great content writer should come across as a knowledgeable person, rather than just as a marketer or salesman.
5. What’s your SEO / Social Media strategy?
A great SEO strategy and an effective social media campaign are integral parts of effective content marketing. There is no point in writing great content if it can’t be easily searched on Google. So it helps to know the basics of SEO and how to use SEO optimized keywords in the content. Equally important, one should have a proper social media strategy. How to get the content go viral on Facebook or Twitter, for instance.
Well, this is just an overview of content marketing. We hope you’ve found the information given here useful. We look forward to your comments and suggestions.