What is content marketing, and why is it such a critical part of the online marketing process?
Suppose you already use social media, PPC, SEO, and other online marketing techniques to generate website traffic. What is the point of this traffic if you are not maximizing conversion to leads and leads to sales? That is where content marketing comes in.
Capturing website visitors – whether they are ready to buy at the moment they encounter your website, or simply surfing online at an earlier stage of their purchase process – is critical. Content marketing enables you to begin a conversation, gain permission to continue to market to this traffic, and ultimately, enter their decision set.
Think of “education based marketing” as another term for content marketing. Today’s consumer wants to become educated before purchasing, and surfing online for credible information sources has become an important first stage in this process. How does the savvy marketer capitalize on this behavior?
Help solve your target customer’s problem to gain entry into their decision process once they are ready to purchase. The key is to simply use what you know to provide helpful information. You are not “selling” at this stage. You have many ways of making sure that potential customers find your information:
– Start with your ideal clients’ buying cycle, and think about why they are online looking for help. Tailor different content to the needs of their buying cycle…FAQ’s, etc.
– Place this helpful content on your website, in the form of a blog, a video, a podcast, an ezine, a webinar, a whitepaper, etc.
– Link to it using your various social media, to attract traffic.
– Use landing pages and keywords/SEO tactics to ensure that your content is found by search engines.
– Design web pages to direct attention to your content. Be very clear about the next step you want your site visitor to take…Click here, enter your email, download, etc.
Most consumers will gladly exchange an email address for the promise of helpful and educational information. This opens the door for further email marketing to remain top of mind. Make your content easily shared, to take advantage of their social network.
The bottom line is this: consumers want to know, like and trust those whom they hire to provide goods and services. Try educating your consumer before you try selling your services to them, as the first step in building a more profitable relationship.
Bonus: click here for a link to Joe Pulizzi’s Content Marketing Playbook, and start to use this powerful marketing tool to increase sales leads.