Today customers are completing 65% of their decision making process before engaging a sales person. This is generally by reading websites and blogs, downloading relevant eBooks and whitepapers. Depending on your content marketing strategy, you can either be part of the buying cycle, by engaging and educating the prospect, or you can miss out simply because you lack findable content. You need to publish targeted content that gives value to these prospects and demonstrates your industry knowledge and experience.
Fundamentally, content marketing is about attracting the interest of a specific audience by providing precisely the information they need to solve a specific need they have in their business, and continue to support them each step of the way through the buying cycle until they convert to become a customer.
With this definition in mind, before you start churning out content it’s best if you look at your business and determine who your audience actually is. Given that your ultimate goal is to generate revenue, reduce costs or further build a trusted relationship with your followers, aim to appeal to the influences and decision makers in the types of organisations you’re targeting. You can identify who these people are by looking at your previous opportunity data in your CRM system. Who were the stakeholders in the process of other, successful sales?
From this information you can build the personas of your target audience. This might be the size of the company they work for, their position in the business and buying motivations. The personas can change as you move through the buying cycle with an influencer usually tasked with doing the initial research and presenting to a decision maker as they get closer to a decision. When you write and review your content ask yourself, is this relevant and useful to this particular persona at this particular stage of the buyer journey?
It’s also important to remember that content marketing is not a sales pitch. What you’re doing is cultivating a relationship and providing relevant and engaging educational information will help do demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. Then you’re in a position to create a call to action to move the relationship to the next step in the buying cycle.
The content distribution medium(s) can vary based on the type of content and the type of medium of your target persona uses most. It can also boost other parts of your marketing communications. For example, by publishing a blog that links to some new piece of content on your website, you can attract the attention of new followers to your blog while also helping your websites search engine optimisation (SEO) by providing 434% more index pages and 97% more indexed links (Source: ContentPlus).
Sharing content with existing customers can also further cultivate those relationships if you do it right. When sharing content with existing customers, email marketing has the added benefit of providing you with the capability of tailoring content to suit their preferences you know from previous interactions, and being able to measure their responses to the current campaign within your customer relationship management system.
As with all marketing channels, always include a call to action to encourage your audience to interact with you and learn more, such as downloading a whitepaper to registering for a webinar.
What makes content marketing different to other marketing methods? The main difference is the way you can use technology to deliver your messaging across different marketing channels without the need for a technical person to do it and the ability to measure the effectiveness of those channels immediately. This means you can have fast feedback on the effectiveness of your content and you’re in a position to refine your marketing message for more targeted and cost effective campaigns.
This blog was written by Brad Tattersall for http://blog.pa.com.au. For more information, go to www.pa.com.au
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