One of the most powerful attributes of Social Media is that sellers can engage buyers during all phases of the purchase process. That may seem easier said than done…but it doesn’t have to be. Great content is your path to victory. Expert content marketing “touches” the buyer no matter where they are in the buying cycle and turns fans into customers.
Content marketing is getting the right message to the right customer at the right time. One of the most overlooked factors in content marketing is a solid, workable content strategy. If your organization isn’t ready to produce meaningful, relevant content that attracts buyers, content marketing isn’t for you. If you’re “not sure” what to post, it can lead to failure and that may be the very reason you’re avoiding making a plan in the first place.
Content Marketing Strategy
There four important things to define 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
Telling amazing stories is key and in order to do content marketing well, you must have a continuous “Culture of Content” in your organization. This means two things:
- Someone inside your organization must be in charge of content.
- Your organization must integrate the actions of content creation in daily operations.
There’s a natural tendency for every business to want to talk about itself. A Social Media manager and/or content marketing manager must resist this and focus their efforts on the audience’s needs, wants and concerns. They must understand that marketing and sales are two separate functions and trying to close the sale too soon leaves everyone empty-handed.
John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing (and Duct Tape Selling) spoke at a conference recently about the functions of marketing and sales going into 2015. He outlined 7 touchpoints in the buyer/customer experience. “It’s marketing’s job to develop “know, like and trust.” It’s sales’ job to foster the “try, buy, repeat and refer.”
In many small businesses, the distinction between marketing and sales is not so prevalent. Everything gets lumped into the endeavor of making sales and profit. As the business owner or as a salesperson, the more you explore the marketing and sales functions and understand how you must master both in today’s world, the better you’ll be at content marketing.
Utilize 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 profile on the web is visually-consistent and welcoming.
- What are the ways that you can differentiate yourself and/or your business online? If people have seen what you’re offering before, they won’t engage.
When you’ve done the work to figure out who your ideal customers are, you can target them with content that brings them closer to you. People love stories and by publishing what I call Hyper-Local Content, you’ll increase your chances of engaging them. Hyper-Local Content is information (as images, video and written word) about your business that depicts how awesome it is to be a customer.
Relationships build trust; trust builds relationships. Make it a component of your content marketing strategy to show how other customers trust you.
Blogging builds 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 product/service, 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 car business, this would be the test drive. One of the biggest challenges dealers face is getting people to come in for the test drive. There are some great ways to use small incentives to guide prospects to the next level of the sale.
People need an incentive. They want to feel like they’re sought after and important. They want to know what’s in it for them. Offer an e-Book or white paper that helps them in some way. Let them try your business on for size.
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 stories about your best customer’s experiences.
Your content strategy here must also include Facebook ads. When prospects are close to a decision, it’s crucial to keep them engaged.
71% of consumers have ended their relationship with a company due to poor customer service (Kiss Metrics). Nobody likes to see customers defect.
A high repeat rate indicates outstanding customer service. Therefore, if you don’t have a solid customer retention process in place (including training on how to achieve it), Social Media will amplify your inadequacies.
To jump start or motivate repeat business, your content strategy should include examples of customer loyalty. Who are your raving fans? These are people who’ve bought from you again and again. How can you include them in your content? One client I have went to their 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!
When you’ve made them so happy they’ll tell others, complete the circle with a process to ask for the referrals:
“Our business is based on referrals. We’d really appreciate you telling your story to others.”
Your content strategy should include a process to capture your happy, loyal customers opinions online. It should include training of salespeople, email marketing and, of course, Social Media. Review sites like Yelp and Google+Local are ideal ways to let others know what they can expect, should they decide to do business with you.
If you’re seriously considering Social Media and/or content marketing and you’re unsure what the next step is, reach out to me. We focus on a customized solution to set your mind at rest and get where you want to go.