As a business owner, you don’t want to waste your time putting out content merely for the sake of having something out there. You want to invest in content marketing that converts. Content marketing has become the driving force behind brand awareness, product promotion, and sales. It’s the avenue used to not only acquire but also to retain customers, and when done properly, it will set your brand apart as the authority in your niche industry.
What is Content Marketing?
In its most basic form, content marketing is the avenue by which you inform, educate, and entertain your customers so that they may understand your business, products, and services. It allows your consumers to be more informed before they purchase, and once they have, your content provides an ongoing relationship with them to amplify loyalty.
Selling without Actually Selling
By providing relevant, useful information, you’re able to sell your brand without really selling. Think of it as your friend that offers you advice on which phone to purchase based on the phone they own. They don’t actually have any stake in what you buy as they aren’t making money off of your purchase. However, they are offering you quality information relevant to what you’re looking for. They’re providing you with an in-depth review of key features, incredible accessories, and exciting attributes that their phone has versus other phones on the market.
More than likely, you’re now interested in looking into the phone that your friend has because they’ve just offered you a vast amount of helpful information without grilling you like the stereotypical car salesman.
In much the same way, content marketing is a friend lending you sound advice while seeming to have no stake in your decision. It’s an art to achieve, but once you do, your business will start seeing a vast increase in your conversion rates because of the content you’re putting out.
Content Marketing and the Customer Journey
When putting together any content calendar, it’s important that you look at all stages of the customer’s journey, from the start when they don’t even know your company’s name to after they’ve made a purchase and you’re looking to keep them coming back. Effective, converting content marketing covers every stage of their journey and leads your consumer through the buying process. If you miss one part, you’ve missed the opportunity as a whole to get and keep that person as a customer and brand supporter.
Stage One: Awareness
In the awareness stage of the customer journey, you are building awareness of your brand and creating content that informs and creates interest in your products and services. During this stage, you should ensure the content you are putting together covers topics that your consumers are actually looking for.
How do you know what topics to cover? It’s easy. Ask your employees. Find out from your team members what questions they get asked all the time. Think about the topics people are searching for online in regards to your industry. These simple questions will open up the door to understanding what your potential customers are searching for, and you can take each of those top asked questions and turn them into topics for your content marketing calendar.
Stage Two: Consideration
At this point in the customer journey, they now know who you are and what your brand is about. During the consideration stage, the end goal is for them to contact you directly or fill out a form requesting more information.
The consideration stage in content marketing is where you’ll answer common questions that solve the problems of your consumers. You can easily achieve this at the same time you’re pointing out the key benefits of your products and services. Comparisons of other brand products are great to place in stage two because it acts as that informative, helpful friend. You’re selling your brand without the customer feeling like you’re selling.
Stage Three: Decision
In content marketing, the decision stage is where the content that you’ve created up until now joins together with the content you’ll create here and results in conversion. It’s important to remember that you can’t successfully convert at a high ratio in this stage without properly developing your content marketing plan in the previous two stages first.
For the decision stage, your content should be increasing confidence in what you’re offering. This is where you’ll inform on pricing, deliver promotional advantages, and guide your customer through the buying process. In many cases, it helps to develop a sense of urgency around your offer.
Stage Four: Support
Stage four of the customer journey is crucial. Having a customer buy once from you is good. Having them repeatedly buy? Obviously better. But having them repeatedly buy, engage with your brand online where others can see, leave great reviews, and tout your products and services to their friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers? That’s where the magic is. And you can’t get to the magic without the support stage.
It’s important after your content marketing plan has converted a customer to confirm in their minds that they made the right decision by choosing your company over all the others. Gratitude goes a long way, so you should always have communication set up to thank them after they’ve made a purchase. Each and every time. This is also a great place to ask for referrals, testimonials, and/or reviews.
During this stage, provide your consumer with relevant information that will keep building your relationship with one another. Tips, tricks, and user guides are a great place to start, and if you want to make them feel even more of a special connection to your brand, offer them exclusive deals that they get as a repeat customer.
Content marketing that converts is a complex and ongoing process, but it’s a necessity of the digital age where majority of consumers are getting their information online before ever entering a store or purchasing a product.
If your business could use a leg up in content marketing, Connections is here to help.