One of the most powerful attributes of the social web is that sellers can engage buyers during every phase of the purchase process. That may seem easier said than done, but with the opportunities available, the results are worth the effort.
Great content is your path to victory. Expert content marketing engages the buyer no matter where they are in the buying cycle and often turns fans into customers.
Advertising talks at people. Content marketing talks with them.
For each phase of a buyer’s journey, there is a corresponding type of content that supports it. When you’re successful, your content reaches the right person at the right time with the right content.
What’s the fastest way to success? A written content strategy.
Content Marketing Strategy
One of the most overlooked factors in content marketing is a solid, workable, written content strategy.
These four foundational factors must be defined in order to solidify your content marketing strategy:
- Why people buy from you
- What you’ll do
- Who you’ll do it for
- What benefits will accrue for your brand and your customers
Companies must evolve and adapt to changing customer expectations.
Leaders must consider two important operational factors when preparing their strategy:
- Someone inside the organization must be in charge of content.
- The organization must integrate a “culture of content” within daily operations.
The 7 content marketing touchpoints
Focus your efforts on these 7 touchpoints as a foundation to guide your content marketing strategy.
- You only get one chance at a great first impression. Make sure every company profile on the web is visually-consistent and welcoming.
- What ways does the company differentiate itself online? Buyers have developed cynicism. If people have seen or heard similar messages somewhere else, it reduces their motivation to engage.
When a company fully understands its ideal customers, targeting with content brings those people much closer to the sale.
People don’t like ads, they like stories. Hyper-Local Content – images, video and written word about the company that depicts how awesome it is to be a customer – increases engagement with people. Don’t overlook these opportunities to engage.
Relationships build trust; trust builds relationships. Illustrate how other customers trust you.
Blogs build trust. When I spoke at a conference recently, I asked, “Who has a blog for their store?” Only about 1/4 of the room raised their hands. Let me tell you straight:
- If you don’t have a blog, you’re leaving money on the table.
- If you don’t have a blog, you’ve missed a chance at developing trust with your prospects.
- If you have a blog and you’re not optimizing its content for search, you’re selling yourself short.
- If you have a blog and post benign information about your products, no one will click on it or share it on social media.
If there’s any way for you to let people try your product/service out before they buy, do it.
In the auto retail, this would be the test drive. One of the biggest challenges dealers face is getting people to come in for the test drive. However, with the Know, Like and Trust actions in place, trying your product should be their idea.
People sometimes need an incentive. They want to feel like they’re sought after and important. They want to know what’s in it for them. Use small incentives to guide prospects to the next level of the sale. Offer an e-Book or white paper with information that makes the sale more comfortable.
In this stage of the buying cycle, customers want to see content that assures them they’re making the right choice. They’ve done their research and are looking for an insurance policy.
Examples of great content to share with them would be customer testimonials and personal stories about your best customers’ experiences.
Promoting your content at every touchpoint is important but at the Buy stage it’s mandatory.
Your content strategy must include Facebook ads. When prospects are close to a decision, it’s crucial to keep them engaged and Facebook ads’ targeting is second to none.
71% of consumers have ended their relationship with a company due to poor customer service (Kiss Metrics).
A high customer return rate indicates outstanding customer service.
If a company doesn’t have a solid customer retention process in place (including training on how to achieve it), social media will only amplify its inadequacies.
To jump start or motivate customers to return, your content strategy should include user generated content.
- Determine who your raving fans are (people who’ve bought from you again and again).
- How can you include them in your content?
One client I have went to the customer’s house to interview a sweet older couple who were not very ambulatory. Going the extra mile to meet them where they were meant the world to that couple…and it showed in their video interview!
Customer experience is integral to today’s marketing. When you’ve made them so happy they’ll tell others, complete the circle with a process to ask for referrals.
Content strategy should include a process to capture your happy, loyal customers opinions online. It should include how you’ll train salespeople, email marketing campaign sequencing, website content updates, and, of course, social media.
Using questions like this in your marketing channels will indeed get your customers into the referral mindset:
“Our business is based on referrals. We’d really appreciate you sharing your experience with others. Would you do that for us?”
These 7 touchpoints are simply an outline. When you’re eager to take the next steps for your own company, please reach out to me. I’ve helped many companies determine their best strategies for engaging more customers. I’m ready to help you >>>here<<<