We all enjoy prospective customers who make decisions quickly and purchase without blinking. We also covet those customers who tell friends about their positive shopping experiences. You know the ones I am talking about.
How can we create more prospects and customers like this? The simple answer is content marketing.
Content marketing simply means "information that informs and even entertains your customers and prospects on their terms using digital media."
A simple example of this is a lawn mower sales and repair company I saw recently. In the blog section of their website, the proprietor posted a short video and included some text on the negative effects of ethanol fuels in lawn mowers. Within 60 seconds, I began to vividly understand the benefits of using real gas and also the expensive consequences of using ethanol.
Undoubtedly, this blog post was emailed to their customer base and probably posted on their social media accounts for further outreach. So, with this one piece of content, people got to know about the business by visiting the website, opening an email or browsing through Facebook.
1. Trust. The primary benefit for this repair company was the creation of trust. Trust is a precious commodity, and the proprietor created or reinforced that trust in 60 seconds.
2. Outreach. Customers will go to all types of digital media and at different times of day. The proprietor was able to reach a larger audience with minimal effort.
3. Evergreen. In this example, the video and text are relevant today and probably will be for years to come. The repair service could post this content daily, weekly or monthly on social media, driving more traffic and building trust.
4. Shorter sales cycles. With the addition of product-oriented content, the sales cycle time will undoubtedly go down.
5. Viral. Once the content is on social media and people like or share the information, it increases the outreach. It can also become viral, and a much larger audience than your followers will see it. This is where your favorite customers get to spread the good word to their friends.
6. Better search results. Search engines love new content, especially images and videos. The frequency and volume of blog content can push a website toward the top of the page on Google.
7. Increased website traffic. With increased traffic to the site, prospects and customers may find more reasons to buy and buy more often.
The largest challenge is to get into the habit of posting content on a frequent basis. This starts by constructing a content calendar and committing to some kind of activity in a routine you can manage. Do not try to make it a large effort at the beginning. Instead, incrementally build and measure the activity with the results.
Another challenge is managing the technology. Some blogs are not easy to operate; if you are not familiar with the nuances of each social media platform, it can be tricky on the first few rounds. Technology barriers are dissipating rapidly, so it may be time to upgrade the website and the blog functionality to make life easier.
The final challenge is creativity. Some people don't thrive on displaying their creativity. If that is the case, find others in the business who would enjoy the challenge of operating the content creation and distribution. Younger generations are typically comfortable in this environment.
Clint Parr has lived in the digital communications industry for more than 20 years as a tech CEO, COO, marketer, salesman, consultant and entrepreneur. He currently is a Partner and CMO at liquidfish, a leading digital marketing and custom development company. He recognizes that technology can be overwhelmingly complicated, especially in the website and mobile applications industry, and someone needs to simplify it for decision makers.