Content marketing is one of the most successful methods of customer engagement used by businesses for centuries. Although the buzz around content marketing is new, it’s been around way before we had the Internet or the very first website in 1991.
Content creation is probably the most challenging and time-consuming aspect of acquiring and maintaining customer engagement. Rules have changed quite a lot since Google Panda, which now favors quality, substance, and relevance over quantity.
This gives users a much better experience by providing them only the most relevant information from online searches, and, from the standpoint of online marketers, an incentive to create high quality, shareable content throughout the Internet.
Defining Your Target Audience
Content marketing revolves around the target audience, customers and clients, who are the main source of revenue for nearly all kinds of businesses.
Defining you target audience should always be the first priority before starting off with any business venture. Over time businesses may expand or evolve to include additional products or services which could also mean redefining the target audience in every stage of a company’s lifetime.
For a small brick-and-mortar business the target audience could be just the people within or around the city who might be interested with what the company has to offer. However if the brick-and-mortar business has an online component then it could include a national or even international audience.
Setting the Tone and Purpose of Your Content
When you’re absolutely certain about your target audience, the next step is to determine the purpose of creating content. Depending on which stage of the sales funnel you’re currently working on, you could also set a different purpose in creating your content. Some of these include:
• To stimulate interest
• To inform or educate
• To entertain
• To persuade
Content creation, to be most effective, should be a part of a larger system which works hand in hand with every aspect of the business instead of being a separate strategy on its own. Most sales funnels rely on a systematic approach to content creation to lead their clients from one stage to another.
During the initial stages of client acquisition, the purpose for creating content is usually to stimulate viewer’s interest.
Writing copy for landing pages is one great example of how content can be used to start a conversation with the clients. This may also include subscription to a free monthly newsletter or a quick survey for collecting relevant customer information.
Potential clients respond differently to different content. If they want to know more about the company, its products or services, your purpose should be to inform or educate the audience about the benefits and advantages of using or applying them, whether it’s in a form of free content, an informative blog post, infographic, or YouTube video.
The latter part which involves your prospects taking action requires a more persuasive form of content or writing. Content creators needs to be able to make the final push to lead conversion by conveying a sense of urgency and what they stand to lose for not taking action.
Following-up with your prospects is essential to lead conversion at this stage of the customer’s journey.
Being able to define the purpose of content creation allows businesses to accomplish their sales and marketing goals more efficiently.
Holding viewer’s interest is the next important aspect of an effective content marketing strategy. It not only helps with lead conversion, but in the long run, it would also help increase the company’s visibility through online search or social media.
When creating content, keep the following characteristics in mind:
- Usefulness – Viewing or reading content will use up some time from your target audience. Creating content that is useful is an incentive to spend more of their time viewing or reading them in the future.
- Relevance – What’s in it for them? Creating content that is on point to the viewers or readers is a sure way to keep an audience. This applies to email sequences where clients receive updates based on how they respond to a given call-to-action (CTA) or data gathered from subsequent surveys.
- Timeliness – Proper timing is also key to maintaining interest. Blog postings, for instance, should follow a certain schedule or pattern where readers could expect something new from time to time. This applies to any type of content whether it’s a YouTube v-log, new findings or research, press release, etc.
Improving Online Visibility
Online content can be used to leverage your marketing efforts due to the fact that it can be viewed or shared across multiple channels. This is particularly true with high quality, shareable content.
Marketing experts have already developed some of the most effective ways to increase visibility through search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), email marketing, and social media.
Each method has its own ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ but for most startups with limited budgets, improving visibility can be achieved through social media and email marketing.
Some CRM services incorporate these two features to enable small businesses to communicate with their clients at very little or no expense at all. Link-building through SEO or paid inclusion in search engines through SEM, although quite effective in extending reach, could entail higher expenses.
A Better Alternative for Small Business Startups
Having a good sales and marketing app that goes hand in hand with creating content that really speaks to your audience is by far the most reasonable, if not the only way of starting up and growing a small business.
Small Business Dream goes beyond by offering client acquisition tools through its survey creator and landing pages along with sales and marketing automation features. Find out how at www.smallbizdream.com.