Here’s the one-million-dollar question: “How can you make people care about what you do or what you sell?” This is an actual question I ask to people on social media. The responses revolves around:
According to Professor Kyle Murray from the University of Alberta, this question alone is essentially what the field of marketing is all about. Until today I haven’t found a simple answer to the question but in this article I want to share everything about Content Marketing and how it will help your business grow.
Old school blogging and why it still relates to today's market
In Summer 2020 I took an apprenticeship with Designial, a startup company based in San Ramon, California. I was working with the CEO Raj Adhav and we had a conversation about inbound marketing. According to Marketo from Adobe, Inbound Marketing is a pull marketing as opposed to traditional push marketing. It utilizes Search Engine Optimization, blogs, social media, and others to build brand awareness and attract customers.
Raj mentioned how in today’s world, it is important to have a good composition between outbound and inbound marketing. In the inbound side, he was planning to grow leads through blogging. Leads here are potential customers who take interest in your products and services and / or inquire about them.
The way a blog should work
Blogging, popularized in the 2000s does indeed sound ancient. But think about it this way. A person looks up on Google for a solution to her problem. Perhaps, it’s a question such as, “how to get in shape for summer”. Then, they found related searches from a fitness centre, from a dietician, and possibly from your website. She then clicked on your link and read on the blog titled “Top 10 Myths about Losing Weight”. There, you explained how the reader can achieve her goals and also, purchase your products (maybe you offer coaching and nutrition products).
So, the reason why blogging is important is not merely to update news and share your thoughts. But it can potentially lead to sales with the right content.
Social media marketing, as the name says, is all about being social
Most brands have a social media account even if it’s only one. More often than not, business owners debate on which platform to use, best time to share, which ads to focus on, etc. While Hubspot’s Not Another State of Marketing Report mentioned that Facebook has the highest Return on Investment, I would suggest choosing a social media that relates to your brand the most and where your customers are.
The keys to effective social marketing are:
The breakdown of social media marketing
There are many metrics we can use in social media marketing. Take Instagram for example. It has ‘Reach’, ‘Likes’, ‘Profile Visits’, and many more. Depending on your target and how you define success, these metrics can be meaningful or useless.
Having the right audience does not equal to many audiences. True that the more you grow followers, the higher the likelihood that they can become a customer. But still, you have to be clear on what you call potential customers. You can assume social media followers as the ‘watchers’ and once they come to your website and start inquiring about your products and services, that’s when they become qualified leads. Note though, there are many ways you can define leads and the above is just one example.
Finally, you should get the right content to share. In many social media platforms, people like to share quotes. Sometimes, they are useful (the readers visit your website after seeing the quote) but other times it is overdone. The right content engages readers because it speaks your value, it illustrates your brand, and it is within their interests.
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Lead magnets or the freebies you ought to hand out
Here comes my favorite part. I’m sure you have seen Free PDFs and eBooks from many websites when you visit them. It can come up as a Pop Out or maybe in a highlighted box for you to sign up. These are lead magnets.
Building your mailing list
Since it is a magnet, the intention of the free product is to sign you up on a mailing list. Mailing list is important because of many reasons. First, it is a list of subscribers you organically harvest from your website. Let's say you have 100 Facebook followers and 500 Instagram followers. Yet, they are not on your mailing list. In this situation you wouldn’t have access to their email address, cannot know their behavior (which can be known through email analytics), and cannot target them for promotions or updates (for example, a discount code for email subscribers only).
The second reason is because those who are in your mailing list are people who took interest in your business. They might not need your products and services yet, but in the future they might purchase them.
More on lead magnets
Some ideas of lead magnets are Free booklets (PDFs or eBooks), Infographics, Worksheet, Cheatsheet, List of resources, Guidebook, and more. Check out here for more ideas.
Strategy, Branding, and Market Research: Tying everything together
Now that you have understood the components of content marketing, it’s time to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. In every business, it’s good to know your end goal. What do you want to achieve at the end of the day? To be exact, how many sales do you want to gain in a year or the next three years, etc. Answering big questions would be helpful along the way because your answers will help navigate your journey there.
Branding is about you: what makes you different from others. It’s your value proposition or simply put, how you can make a difference in somebody’s life. Also, it’s about your values and long term goals. This is why, branding and strategy go together. Changing your brand means changing your strategy. They are closely related.
Market research as a tool to get to your end goal
Once you’re set with your branding and strategy, you need to perform a thorough market research. The purpose of the study is to understand your customers better (or in some cases, potential customers). First, understand their customer journey. In other words, how does a customer solve a particular problem? Did she ask her friends (in this case, referral is an important strategy)? Did she look up on Google (blogging and SEO optimization are the ones you need to look into)? How does she navigate around the website? Did she interact with a chatbot? Did she look at the Start Here?
Then, for the second step, you need to know the pain points throughout the customer’s journey. For example, during a search for a solution the customer couldn’t find the product she wants although your website shows up. This might be because you didn’t have the correct wording. Let say the customer is looking for a one-on-one consultation on how to manage time for better productivity. You did have the service offered but in the description, you didn’t say anything about better time management as direct results.
Content marketing is all about delivering the right content (high quality, engaging, and relatable content) to your potential customers. When developing your content strategy, don’t forget to always think of the bigger picture and the market research to better your services.
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