Content marketing—a form of advertising—should earn a bigger presence in your annual marketing budget because it does four valuable things: 1) moves future customers down the sales funnel in a way that makes them believe it was their idea, 2) drives engagement, 3) connects the marketing team with the sales team and 4) provides 24/7 traffic back to your website.
To accomplish this feat, start speaking directly to your prospects—about their wants and needs, as opposed to new products and services.
Are you ready to embrace this trend to get more bang for the bottom line?
Key messaging is a series of talking points that capture the essence of your brand story. Let’s face it, once you have a story, you must repeat it and reinforce it again and again and again.
As you develop the brand story, there are a few key points that you must grasp:
1. People Pay More for Experience
An organization creates an experience every time it interacts with a customer at every step along the way from nurturing, engaging, purchasing, delivery and support. The compilation of outcomes from each stage makes up the “experience,” which customers process to determine future buying decisions.
Make sure you are able to tell stories about your company’s experience and, more importantly, about the experience it provides.
2. Helping is the New Selling
People no longer seek, they search. So how do you get them to find your brand? Be helpful. That’s how to draw people closer to you and your brand.
From a content perspective, there are two “levers” that you need to pull to generate more revenue. And if you like alliteration, you’re going to love this formula: Reputation + Relationships = Revenue.
In other words, the better reputation you can build for your brand, the more relationships you will have. From a business perspective, more relationships equal more revenue.
Most salespeople leave the “reputation” variable out of the equation. You need to increase sales by 20%, right? So, what do you do? You send out emails, make calls, attend conferences and networking events. You know exactly why you want a relationship with your prospects, but do they know why they want a relationship with you?
And that is why “reputation” is so important.
To build reputation, you should consider giving something of value first…which is where “Helping is the New Selling” comes in.
Make sure your content is helpful so your brand will become likable. People do business with people they like. And people have a strong tendency to like people who help them.
When it comes to communications, how you say something is more important than what you say. And that’s why your content funnel should showcase a diverse amount of content formats.
Here is a sampling of content formats that move prospects:
1. Press Releases
Press releases are a formal marketing document that contains “news,” which is what separates it from other content pieces. If it’s new, important, interesting or shiny, then it’s probably news.
Press releases are written in an inverted-pyramid style, which means the most important news is at the beginning of the release. Background information fills out the remainder of the release.
When we distribute a release, it’s one of the most viewed items on the website and it’s normal to see a 75-80% increase in traffic to a targeted link, like a “Locate Your Sales Rep” page.
People have craved news since the beginning of time. And that need hasn’t gone away.
2. Case Studies
Case studies are very valuable because they answer both “marketing” questions in one shot. They demonstrate your company’s expertise and experience in various industries. And often times, they can become long-form testimonials as long as you have a willing customer.
Blog writing is a great way to generate nurturing content pieces. More importantly, they are strategic delivery systems. Most people think they are stories.
So, what are they delivering? Blog writing delivers targeted links that you want your prospects to click on so they can take action. Blog writing also delivers keywords that place your blog high up in search-engine results so your prospects can find your content…with the targeted links that they will click on so they can take action.
In addition to generating more website traffic and more writing for SEO, blog writing delivers a strong ROI. Last week, I reviewed a client’s Top 10 blog posts for the quarter and the fourth most popular blog was one that we haven’t put any time or energy behind for the last 18 months! And yet, it’s still driving pageviews.
Blog writing creates a repository of online content that serves as 24/7, on-demand help for your prospects whenever they are in need.
When it comes to explaining processes or products, a visual depiction may work better than a wall of words. Infographics can help you tell the story in an engaging, colorful way. People tend to retain visual information easier than the written word, especially when it comes to complex concepts.
If you can’t physically get in front of a prospect, video is the way to go. Videos help capture you…as you are. Videos help you be seen as a real person, much like your prospects.
In addition, micro-videos work well in any space.
6. Social Posts
Social media is today’s word of mouth. Sharing the other content formats that I have mentioned will make your social media efforts successful.
Just remember, there are two types of people on social media: People who are curious and people who are bored. People who are curious are looking for educational, longer-form, more in-depth information that answers their questions. People who are bored are looking for entertaining, shorter-form, superficial information. (Remember when I mentioned that micro-videos work?)
Up to this point, I have talked about landing a customer with a content funnel. But is that it?
Absolutely not. The only thing more valuable than business is repeat business. These are people who already know and like your brand. These are people who have already spent money on your brand. Please don’t exclude these people. Old business is more valuable than new business because you don’t have to invest any more marketing spend on them. And that means higher margins and more ROI.
You can create how-to content that will build your relationships with customers after they make a purchase so they will be more motivated to spend more with your brand in the future.
The how-to content should answer three questions that your customer will have in relation to the product/service that you just told them.
- I want to know.
- I want to go.
- I want to do.
You will need to develop content that highlights smart ways prospects can use your product or service. They may also need to learn additional skills or knowledge to maximize return on their purchase. How about creating content for that?
In addition, you could create product instructions, user manuals, maintenance guides or FAQs.
The possibilities are limitless. Just remember, you aren’t really selling a product or service. You are selling an experience. Now, make the experience as rich and as memorable as you can.
From a content perspective, calls-to-action or CTAs are the difference between a bounce and a conversion. To make things more interesting, CTAs turn marketing into modern-day psychology.
So how can your content compel someone to take a specific action? The concept of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is a great place to start because it is based on exclusivity.
As CoSchedule.com puts it, playing with someone’s built-in fear is challenging because fear is always based on something else.
For example, let’s look at the specific triggers that you can leverage:
- Panic: “If I miss out, I’ll never know if this could have changed my life!”
- Greed: “I have to have everything.”
- Comparison: “I don’t want to be the only person without this!”
- Curiosity: “Could this possibly be as amazing as they describe?”
- Pride: “I got it and you didn’t. Ha ha.”
These are themes and concepts that you will need to leverage to craft your next winning CTA.
Like everything else in digital marketing, make sure you listen to the analytics. Data actually talks. Be confident to know that you will eventually hit it out of the park but humble enough to allow the data to guide you.