The internet is changing the way that people both buy and sell products and services. Today, most customers use the internet to research and read product reviews before making purchasing decisions.
Content marketing is the perfect means to reach customers at all stages of the purchasing process.
The internet marketing software company Marketo defines content marketing as the process of building authority and trust with customers by publishing information.
Understanding Content Marketing
However, many marketers fail to use content as an effective selling tool because they make the mistake of seeing it simply as a means to an end.
To understand and use content marketing to drive sales successfully, marketers should think like publishers when creating content.
What Marketo Offers
Marketo offers these six rules to follow for effective content creation:
- It should not be a blatant promotion.
- It must be relevant to the reader.
- Content should answer a question or problem.
- It must be relevant to the service or product.
- Content should offer proof, either social or measurable, such as statistics or research.
- Content should be well-written.
Your Plan For Content Creation
It is essential to outline a plan prior to content creation. The goals for the content should be clearly defined. For example, building a company’s brand recognition, introducing a new product, or building authority.
In addition, the content plan should consider the ideal customer for the product or service and the type of content should be geared toward that customer.
The Many Forms Of Content Marketing
When the subject of content marketing comes up, many people think of article marketing. However, there are many forms that content marketing can take such as video, podcasting, powerpoint presentations, whitepapers, product reviews, podcasts, books, or e-books.
The key is to match the customer with the content.
For example, videos are popular with a young audience. Teenage boys often watch live-action demonstrations of video games when they are deciding which game to buy next.
Teenage girls love to watch videos of other teens demonstrating how to put an outfit together or apply makeup. They are likely to buy the same makeup, clothes, or accessories as the girls they admire on YouTube videos.
Business To Business Products
For a business-to-business product such as productivity management or customer management software, a video recording of a powerpoint presentation is a good choice.
This still falls under the category of video content marketing, but it is focused on a completely different customer profile.
Product reviews are a good choice for products in the health or household goods categories. A product review provides social proof for items such as supplements or kitchen gadgets. Prospective customers are likely to trust reviewers about the quality of a product.
Marketers who are promoting services should consider podcasting. A podcast is an excellent format for building an ongoing relationship with customers. Service providers can use podcasts to demonstrate their expertise and to build authority and trust with their customers.
Books and E-Books
Books and eBooks can be offered as a premium to entice prospects to sign up for a mailing list. A well-written eBook can demonstrate also authority, create trust, and secure loyal customers. Use other forms of content marketing such as blog entries and article marketing to drive leads to your eBook offer.
Call To Action
Although quality content marketing should not be a blatant sales proposition, all content marketing should include a call-to-action such as signing up for an email list, requesting information, or making a purchase.
A call-to-action can be subtle and yet effective so make sure to include one in every form of content that you create.
Content can be a very effective means for selling products and services if it is relevant, high-quality and targeted to the ideal customer. Choose the content medium to reflect the tastes and preferences of your target audience. Videos might be preferred by some, while others prefer white papers or e-books.
Try several forms of content marketing and track their performance to improve your content marketing strategy.
See you soon,