What’s that you say? You’ve never heard of content marketing before? Take another look. Content marketing has been around for ages. It just looks different now.
Content marketing is the creation and distribution of relevant content to attract, acquire, and engage your store’s target audience. The objective is to drive the sale. Traditional advertising tells the world how great you are. Content marketing shows them.
Content marketing is about delivering the content your audience is seeking in all the places they’re searching for it. Automotive brochures were yesterday’s content marketing. Those facts are available online now and today’s customer is looking for more.
Blogs and other updates written by you to help your customer buy are today’s brochures – except today you can leverage all story channels (print, online, in-person, mobile, social, etc.), and your content plays a bigger roll in any and all stages of the buying process.
I recently wrote about a case study that Marcus Sheridan (@TheSalesLion) carried out and posted on his blog. In just a few short months, a company’s sales staff had produced more blog posts than most companies will produce in a year. Why does that matter? It matters because their web traffic spiked, leads and sales went up, and the blog had become the most trafficked page of the company’s website.
Some interent-savvy customers bypass dealer websites to look for more relevant content. This is great news if you have a blog! When customers consume your self-published content prior to sale they have a stronger connection with you.
Before meeting for a first appointment, Marcus says, “if they’ve read 30+ pages of your content then you have an 80% better chance of closing that sale.” It’s also the best tool you have for scaling your efforts. People read content at all hours, so you could feasibly being giving 25+ sales presentations at the same time, while you sleep.
First meetings with customers are always a challenge unless you’ve built a trusted relationship. Do your customers have questions? Why not answer them now instead of the first meeting. It reduces your closing cycle time and frees you up to take more customers.
I had many comments on my case study post about sales and other dealership personnel participating in content creation. Most readers were very positive but one colleague of mine said involving staff was “a waste of time”. You may agree with him but here’s what I know: I’ve been part of some really awesome dealership organizations. What stands out to me with those experiences is the idea of being part of a bigger purpose. Segregating sales personnel so they can “sell” is short-sighted and antiquated.
Media and marketing are becoming one. Front-line personnel are the exact right people to include in your content writing because they know your customer intimately. Many times, they have a trusted relationship with them so who better to go to for contributions. Your staff is not the ONLY place you go for content, but it certainly is one of the richest.
Blogs require high-quality optimized content. In the old days, the nicer the brochure, the better chance you had at convincing the prospect to investigate you and your products further. It’s the same today. The better the content, the more compelling the reason your customer has to check you out. They appreciate that you taken time to educate them and support their purchase decision process.
There are many moving parts to a successful blog. You must consider the platform to build it on (WordPress Self-Hosted is ideal), make frequent posts (1-2 times per week), write catchy headlines, and include relevant images or video. You’ll want to consider an experienced blogger to train your staff and offer additional support in the way of designing SEO with your blog.
Oh, yes, blogs do generate traffic and establish your store as an influencer. A recent 4th of July post by a Boston dealership gained 548 queries in ONE day.
Leads happen often and in much different ways than dealers are used to. Blogs start conversations. Networking happens, so be prepared. Just the other day, a post from a Michigan auto group received a lead in the form of a comment on their blog. They sold the car because they were listening, asking questions, and building trust.
People are looking for quality information that helps them decide on their purchase. Be the likable expert! Make content marketing your culture.