First off what is content marketing about?
Content marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on creating and distributing valuable and relevant content to draw a target audience with the ultimate objective of making that audience buy your products and services and, thus, create profits for you.
Content marketing also enables you to establish yourself as an authority in your field and be recognized as a thought leader in your niche. This helps build trust with your market.
And when you provide your audience with relevant content, you are able to help them solve their problems and assist them in resolving their issues which, in turn, makes them trust you.
The trust that is created then results to customer loyalty.
With content marketing you do not have to implement hard-sell promotional tactics. When prospective clients read your content and find relevance and value in these, you would already have accomplished most of the marketing work.
The trust that is built during this phase of the selling cycle is created and greatly helps convert them into buying customers.
The Customer Purchase Lifecycle
To better grasp the significance of content marketing it is essential that you understand the steps in the customer purchase lifecycle.
This is the cycle from the time a customer learns of a product or service to the time that they actually make a purchase. These are the controlling factors that determine how close a potential customer is to becoming a paying client, which is your ultimate goal as an online marketer.
When you understand the cycle you will understand how important content marketing is to your marketing strategy.
Your ultimate goal as an internet marketer is to make profit and to be able to sell you need to understand your potential customers and how they think.
Once you do this, you are able to plan out a marketing strategy, which includes content marketing, that will enable you to realize this.
Before people reach the purchasing decision, they normally would like to get more information for a particular product or service.
It is important for them to understand the concept behind the product before they even consider buying that product. This is called product awareness. People usually get this information from several mediums – television, newspapers, magazines, online search, Facebook, Twitter.
Today people tend to gravitate towards the online medium to do their research. Whenever one needs to find out about anything today, the first impulse would be to go online and “google it”. For example, someone looking to buy kids’ dresses would be interested in getting information on what styles are trending nowadays, the prices and where to buy this.
Buyers go through a decision phase where they try to find products or services that will suit their needs. The research will include comparing several similar products and finding out each product’s pros and cons, good points and bad points.
A lot of people tend to find product reviews help a lot in making a decision. Product reviews done by people who have actually tried the products or services will usually be instrumental in making the decision to buy. These reviews can be found through Google research, Facebook and other social media channels.
Good internet marketers usually deliver convincing reviews on their blog and highlight their products or services in their social media tweets, posts or calls to action, which will help sway readers’ decision and give them that needed push to buy.
The Purchasing Phase
This final phase is where the buying action takes place and this is where the prospect is converted into a customer.
During this phase a buyer has made up his mind and is ready to buy and it will normally be difficult to change his decision. The search and research is done at this point.
Your ultimate goal as an internet marketer is to get people to reach this point by walking them through the process and helping them buy.
It is important that you understand some facts about your potential customers.
Customers today have, more than ever, more access to information about available products and services. And they spend money for something that will improve their existing situation or solve a problem that they have.
Another fact is that people buy only from people they trust and they rarely buy on their first exposure with a product or service.
It typically takes around 7 contacts (website visits, emails, newsletters, etc) before they reach the trust stage and eventually the purchasing phase.
Knowing this, how then can your business benefit from Content Marketing?
Content marketing has become one of the most powerful tools for connecting with your customers and growing your business. Following are only some of the benefits that content marketing can bring your business:
Drive traffic to your site. When you provide relevant, quality content that solves your target audience’s need or problem you automatically create inbound traffic. And the more pages or posts that you have that address their needs the higher traffic your site will generate.
Help position yourself as an expert in your niche. Customers buy only from those that they trust. That trust is created when you are able to establish yourself as knowledgeable in your industry and publishing informative quality content is an effective way to do that
Create engagement with your target customers. Engagement builds trust. And trust creates loyal and sustainable customers who will patronize your products and services. And when you are able to maintain the engagement and trust with them you
Help your customers to transition to the purchasing phase. As I mentioned above, customers pass through the research and decision phases before deciding to buy. When you have quality content that are relevant to their needs and are able to resolve their dilemmas, then you are able to create a link with them and become their go-to resource. The trust that this creates becomes a great factor in deciding to purchase from you later on.
Create product or service awareness with your target audience. When you create and promote relevant, quality content you are able to inform your audience about your products or services. This not only time-saving but it is also a cost-effective way of selling. As you create engagement with your audience, you are able to build lasting relationship with them. And this all translates to more profit for your business.
Generate more leads. Businesses that use content marketing as a strategy generate more leads than those that do not. When you create content that zeroes in on your target customers’ needs you are able to establish yourself as a trusted brand and can build a relationship with those customers. And when your customers are ready to buy you will be at the top of their list.
What are the types of content that you can use in your content marketing strategy?
Following are just a few of the types of content that you can use in your content marketing strategy:
Lists. List posts are very popular and some of the most effective types of content. Headlines like ”How Is On Page SEO Done? 15 Powerful Ways” have a way of attracting a targeted audience. Content that presented as a list is easier to remember and people seem to be more drawn to a numbered list. You will never go wrong with this type of content.
How-To. How-to content shows a step-by-step guide that is another very effective type of content to use. It is informative, and if presented right, is very easy to understand and learn from, thus, its popularity. It is also a targeted form of content because it is specific to a searching market.
Images. When used properly, images can enhance your text content. Images also have a higher chance of attracting an audience, thus, increasing your chances of getting found in organic searches. People are visual beings and are naturally more drawn to images when presented with a choice.
Infographics. Infographics are attractive and because people are highly visual these are very powerful tools to use in your content marketing strategy. People also generally love facts and statistics thus, infographics are very popular. And because they are attractive, people tend to share them more than text posts, thus, giving your site more reach.
Videos. Videos convey the message very effectively and is another powerful tool to add to your content marketing strategy. A lot of people relate better to videos than to text posts and find these easier to understand and follow. Besides, your competition is using videos extensively so it would benefit you greatly if you leveraged these for your marketing strategy.
Product reviews. Doing product reviews further helps you to establish your authority in your niche. When you share your experience with particular products and give your recommendations you also increase engagement with your audience as you share with them your views. Here is a sample of a comprehensive product review that you can check out.
Testimonials. Testimonials is another powerful content marketing tool that you should use. Comments and endorsements based on first-hand experience with your products and services adds to your credibility and are testaments to your reliability.
Ebooks. You can also offer a downloadable product in the form of an ebook as part of your content marketing strategy. This allows you to hit two birds with one stone – you get to bolster your authority as you share your expertise and at the same time, when you give this in exchange for your audience’s email address, you are able to build your mailing list.
Case studies. You can also present case studies of customers you have been able to help and share their success stories with your audience. Through case studies you can show the value that you offer that you are offering your audience. This is another powerful way to influence your prospective customers into transitioning to the purchasing phase and making a buying decision.
These are only some of the ways you can use content in your marketing strategy. I am sure, as you go along, you can think of many others. And whatever content type you choose to use, it is an established fact that content marketing can and will provide your business numerous benefits. You just can’t ignore content marketing if you want to achieve enormous gains in your business.
Do you have a content marketing strategy that you would like to share with us? Just leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you on this.