It can be difficult to sell a content marketing strategy to the average small business as they often don’t realise how it can benefit them. If you’re one of those, this post is for you.
First, let me ask you a couple of questions. Do you own a Sky box or PVR? If so, do you fast forward through adverts? Do you use an adblocker such as Adblock Plus? Do you quickly flick over the page of adverts in a newspaper or magazine?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you have discovered why content marketing is so powerful.
Advertising is now so prevalent and so annoying that we are becoming increasingly ad blind. This is where we see without seeing. We are so used to being lied to, misinformed, sold at, preached to and convinced we need things that our brains are rapidly learning to tune them out.
This is a problem for advertising companies as they have to work twice as hard to sell to us as they had to.
So how can you attract new customers without advertising or selling? Content marketing. Content marketing is a very effective way of selling without selling. The concept is simple. Provide useful content that offers real value to your target market and they will like you for it.
By offering value, your audience begins to respond to you. They take the first step on that long path to purchase. It’s a path that takes a little while to travel, but is more organic than paid advertising and longer lasting too. As we know from our own shopping habits, once we like a brand, we tend to stay with them. That’s what content marketing could do for you.
A good content marketing strategy will expend a lot of time and resources on presale content. This is usually the main focus of any strategy, to attract new customers. Usually it takes three points of contact between a company and a consumer before a buying decision is made. Content marketing is a way of achieving some or all of these contacts.
With presales, we build a case for buying what you’re selling. We can use promotional blog posts, white papers, case studies, microsites, reviews, special offers, trials and other methods to attract the attention we need to make that sale.
By making quality post-sales content visible to all, it can contribute both to existing customer satisfaction and to pre-sales customers looking to buy. If you build a reputation for offering value, supporting customers and for generating good ideas, people will be much more likely to do business with you.
Post-sales content also has another function. To play a part in any customer support capacity. By publishing how-to guides, FAQs, ideas on how to use your product, what to do if something goes wrong and any other idea you can think of, you provide proactive support that you won’t have to deal with personally.
The availability of this material also contributes to initial sales too. The more support your offering is seen to have, the more likely someone is to want it.
Value-add content doesn’t contribute directly to the buying process but adds brand authority, trustworthiness and builds your brand in the eyes of the buyer. If they see the enthusiasm you have for your products, the kinds of things you get up to using it, how you invest in your customers and how you interact with them, it all builds a positive picture in their minds. That not only contributes indirectly to the purchase but also builds your brand at large.
Make all this content sharable and much of the promotion is done for you too!