What are your content marketing goals? If you want not only success but sustained success, this question should be visited and revisited often.
Every business will have vastly different content marketing strategies, whether they involve blogging about the benefits of certain products or infographics that people can share via social media to strengthen brand awareness. Though these strategies may vary, their goals should all be the same: to garner attention, build trust for your brand’s marketing message, bring people to your place of business whether online or in person, and generate leads that eventually turn into customers.
All content marketing strategies should also have a few common elements, such as the five I reference below. These five have helped shape my success with my own company.
Create a Sales Funnel
Before creating your content strategy, put together a sales funnel for each piece of content, whether that’s a blog, infographic, or landing page mentioned. Create product or service awareness for prospective customers. The rule of thumb is you have 30 seconds to capture their attention: The more respect and trust you can garner immediately (through a past client testimony, awards, or any recognition), the better.
Once that door is open, they’ll want to evaluate your product or service. Tell stories of other clients’ success, and always bring its most positive purpose in the simplest form. For example, we reiterate the fact that we continually offer the least expensive arrangements for those traveling into and out of Africa.
Finally, they’ll need to make the decision to purchase. Everything beforehand prompted them to this position. Now, what can you offer? Make the pitch valuable by offering whatever guarantees you can provide.
Understand Your Target Audience
You simply can’t start a content marketing strategy without knowing your target audience. The best route to learning who they are is through intense research of your top competitors, along with listening to the customers you already have and trust most.
Visit not only your competitor’s website but also any third-party publications they were featured in. If competitors have case studies, examine them closely. Check out their social media platforms and tap into their audience.
One way we like to listen to our current customers is through a simple email campaign. We send emails to our top customers, asking for a few minutes of their time to fill out a survey and offer suggestions for better service. In return, we offer a discount on their next trip booked through us.
Appeal to Your Audience
Every piece of your content marketing strategy should be appealing. Use visual elements and charts. Videos will always trump other media forms, but they do take some time to execute well. The next best thing is infographics and appealing charts that show statistics about your industry. Use all three of these elements together to consistently appeal to all potential customers. Always make sure the creative elements educate, entertain, and add value.
Include a Call to Action
Some businesses create a thorough content marketing strategy but likely let many potential clients/customers pass by because they forget to include calls to action (CTAs). Include easy ways to communicate with your organization in your material, whether it’s by email, phone or visiting your website through external publications.
We make sure our CTAs are sprinkled generously throughout our content, but not enough to annoy and deter any marketing message. Experiment and track results of each content marketing strategy you create and revise accordingly. Remember, the market changes often, so a content strategy that worked in spring may not work that fall. Constantly revise while keeping the CTAs strong.
Don’t Skimp on Content Creation
Never skimp on content creation. Once you put together the optimal content strategy, get that content created. If you’re seeking a writer to craft content for your blog or social media platforms, don’t hire a hack. Research and find a respected content creator who has experience and proven success.
The same goes for other mediums such as video or graphic designer; that adage of “you get what you pay for” speaks bounds of truth here. In the beginning stages of our company, we spent considerable amounts of time in-house creating content strategies, but sometimes outsourced the material to the wrong people. We learned, and hired a digital marketing agency known for its talent, and let them work on the creative side. Our results have been successful ever since.
Before you start any content strategy for your business, consider the above five tactics. As entrepreneurs, we have priorities that range from financial to administrative to marketing. We can’t lose focus on any element, especially a content marketing strategy, which sometimes gets pushed aside. Make sure your content marketing strategy is sound in order to build your customer base.
BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.