Modern marketing is changing for the better. The days of cold-calling customers in the hope that you find someone ready to purchase are long behind us. Now, people want to engage with a business that recognises their needs and cares about solving them.
Inbound marketing is about providing valuable content to nurture people from stranger, to lead, to customer. In fact, businesses with blogs generate 126% more lead growth than those without.
Content is pretty important, then.
With all of this in mind, your business needs to have a winning content strategy in place in order to stand out from the competition and entice potential customers. But, how do you do this? Luckily, that’s what we’re going to explore now.
Let’s get started shall we?
Know Your Customer Better Then They Do
The first step to building a winning content strategy for your business is to ask one very important question: who is your content actually for?
Is it for yourself, key stakeholders, or colleagues? No, it’s for you customers.
This is an easy conclusion to arrive at, but the answer will shape your content. What your customers find funny, engaging or educational may not be immediately obvious, so when it comes to writing great content as part of your strategy, knowing your audience is key.
Learning about your customers is an art in itself and requires its own strategy for success, but, broadly, it boils down to these three elements:
- Identifying their challenges
- Knowing their goals
- Deciding how best to delight them
Content marketing plays a huge role in delighting your customers, but in order to know their challenges and goals, you need to create detailed customer profiles, that, in turn, allow you to perfect your content strategy.
In short, creating customer profiles allows your content to achieve the most important aspect of your marketing: providing value.
Want to learn more about mastering customer profiles? Take a look at our blog.
Commit to Your Goals
Once you have your customer profiles, it’s time to see how they fit into your overall marketing goals. It may be that greater knowledge of your audience causes you to rethink some of your aims or create new ones entirely. Either way, once you have your marketing goals, commit to them.
Part of creating a brilliant content strategy is recognising that you won’t see results overnight. Content marketing requires the patience and steady-hand to make small, reasoned changes that help improve your strategy over time.
As cliche as it may sound, content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.
With that in mind, resist the urge to alter or disregard goals. Of course, your aims may need changing, but this shouldn’t be done without a lot – and we stress a lot – of thought.
Having clear-cut goals are essential to measuring the success of your content strategy, and by tinkering with them, determining the return on investment of your marketing becomes impossible.
Show Your Personality
Putting yourself out there – whether in a personal or professional capacity – is a big step. The temptation to follow the crowd and play it safe is common, but not always the answer.
For businesses that aspire to be market leaders, stepping out of this comfort zone is crucial, as a successful content strategy demands innovation.
Using content to stand out is the most effective way of ensuring your business stays front-of-mind for potential customers, and this is best done by showing your business’s unique personality.
At the heart of all customers, is the desire to be treated as a person, not just as a walking wallet. Therefore, showing your business’s human side, whether through humour, empathy or insight, is vital.
There are some simple steps to quickly build this personality, such as more creative Meet the Team web pages or company blogs written by different members of your business. The latter in particular is a great way to demonstrate the personality and diversity of tone that you have at your disposal.
Social media is also an essential tool for showcasing personality, with different platforms more tailored to different tones. Want to provide an in depth, educational service? Use LinkedIn. Or, if you prefer to show your funny side, jump on Twitter.
Focus on Quality, Not Quantity, and Always Educate
Once you have your customer profiles, have set your goals, and have prepared to show the best of your personality, you may be tempted to rush and populate your website with loads of new content.
Remember though, the purpose of content marketing is to provide exceptional value to your customer that makes your business stand out from its competition. Therefore, don’t rush the content creation process. A small number of insightful blog posts will do more to delight customers than a website full of information.
Long story short: prioritise quality over quantity.
Similarly, don’t forget that visitors to your website have likely arrived because they have a challenge or question they want answered. You can be the best writer in the world, but if you don’t educate or engage your reader, they are less likely to stick around.
Taking the time to ensure that your content is detailed and doesn’t simply retread the same ground as your competition sets your business up as an authority. People are much more likely to return to you for further content, and eventually go on to make that purchase.
Build a Personal Experience
We’ve already spoken about the need for your content marketing strategy to connect with your potential customers on a human level but how else can you build a personal experience?
Due to the wonders of technology, it’s now possible to go even further than this. Marketing software such as HubSpot allows you to embed smart content across your website and email marketing that changes depending on who is viewing the content.
If you know someone is from a specific industry, such as the legal sector, you can automatically tailor your writing to provide a more personal experience. Instead of using the term ‘business person’, you might use ‘legal professional’.
Simple little changes such as these can help a customer realise just how suited your products or services are to them. All this helps cultivate the feeling that your business is perfect suited to the needs of any potential customer visiting your website or reading your emails. The result? On average, personalising web experience sees a 19% uplift in sales.
Nurture Your Leads
Great marketing strategies are built on one simple fact: that people aren’t ready to purchase straight away.
When was the last time you made a major purchase on a whim and without conducting thorough research beforehand? The internet provides an endless supply of user-reviews, opinions, and options, so businesses can no longer rely on visitors to their website being ready to purchase immediately.
As a result, it is now more important than ever to nurture leads after they have left your website. Email marketing is playing an ever-growing role in generating customers, and with two-thirds of emails now being read on a phone or tablet, creating concise content is crucial to providing value on-the-go.
Great email marketing is all about knowing where in the buyer’s journey your potential customer is. If they are only just beginning to consider an issue or challenge they may need to resolve (awareness stage), you don’t want to send them sales-focussed information about purchasing your product or service.
If they are ready to purchase (decision stage) but are looking for the right company to do business with, provide them further information about yourself using, for example, case studies.
Take Your Marketing to the Movies
A lot of this blog has referred to written content, so let's take a moment to appreciate the (relatively) new kid on the block who is redefining content marketing: video.
One-third of online activity is spent watching video, so it’s fair to say there is a demand for this visual content. This makes sense, as videos can often provide more information in less time than written content. More than this, video gives a unique insight into a business, whether by going behind-the-scenes or by showcasing the people that make up a company.
And, the best bit?
Video content is easily attainable and doesn’t have to come with a large price tag. You don’t need expensive equipment – a modern smartphone and tripod will do – and there are plenty of free editing software tools and thousands of tutorials online to show you the way.
By adopting these fundamentals, you can create a winning content strategy that generates more leads and delights customers.
For more information and advice on how to implement your business’s content strategy, why not book a free Marketing Assessment?