Content Marketing lets your customers find YOU online instead of you having to cold call, send direct mail or hope someone shows up at your store each weekend.
To illustrate how this works, let’s take a real world example from my own website. My most popular page is “How much does a logo cost?” Why is it the most popular page? Because I chose a headline that people are actually typing into Google. When customers fill out my contact form asking for a logo design estimate and I ask how they found me – the most common answer is “I googled ‘How much does a logo cost’ and read your article & liked the way you explained it.” What is the phrase that your customers are typing in about you?
Joel Comm, an online marketing consultant, describes the modern consumer’s four step decision-making process as: “Like me. Know me. Trust me. Buy from me.” Today’s consumers want to know your story and what makes you unique before they buy from you.
Taking Joel Comm’s steps, let’s break it down into 6 steps:
1. Like me: The potential client reads your article they found through a Google Search & like the way you explain your product or service.
2. Know me: After the first article they peruse your website for related material and recognize you are the expert and thought leader in your niche.
3. Trust me: Potential customers voluntarily give you their email address
4. Trust me: Over time you develop a relationship through compelling content delivered to their inbox or with social media.
5. Buy from me: The potential thinks of you first, when they are ready to buy.
6. Analyze & Adjust
Let’s break those steps into more detail:
Like me: Create content focused on your niche
Businesses can only stand out from other businesses on three strategic levels: price, innovation & by targeting a certain niche market. If you are a small business, you can’t survive by being the cheapest. Innovation only works if you are the only one selling your product. For example, you created a tool that makes vine management easier. But realistically the only way most of can stand out is by picking a niche and creating content they need in the research phase.
Many people, books and websites talk about SEO like its a magical formula, but in reality it all comes to down to compelling content based on your niche. A book I recently read called “A Website that Works” by Mark O’Brien shared this tip – if you add a minimum of 2,000 words per month to your website, Google will automatically place you higher than your competitor that has a static website that never changes. If you often update your content, Google knows to send out its Google bots often to check for new update.
While content marketing does take a lot of work writing content, O’Brien estimates that you can easily get 20% of your leads through your website. No more cold calling and hoping the next networking event gives you your next big break.
But this only works if you pick a niche and specialize in creating content that your targeted niche wants to know. This can be in the form of a blog, video, ebooks, podcasts or even a webinar.
Know me: What’s your Story?
You know your niche, now what? It’s not enough to just simply insert keywords into your website. Your website has to tell your brand story to your niche and sound well, human. I’m currently reading a book called “The Story Wars” that says that the most successful brands are based on moral myths. Think of Star Wars: Good vs. the Dark Side. The author “offers three simple tools any brand can use to break through, earn fans and become an icon: Be Interesting, Tell the Truth and Live the Truth.” Every human being has a unique story, just like every business has a unique story. Are you telling yours?
Trust me: Lead nurturing
Once you get customers to your website (great job by the way!), now you need to engage them. They like the article content that brought them to your website, but they aren’t ready to buy just yet. This is where it is very important to have Call to Actions on your website, to convert your readers to followers. We often tell our website design and development customers that before we even start on the design phase, we need to know what the goal is for the website. Is it to get more email newsletter sign ups or for more webinar sign ups?
A few call to actions are
1. Subscribe to our Newsletter
2. Register for a webinar
3. Get in touch with us
4. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter
A call to action is not a “contact us” page. You want a call to action to encourage an ongoing relationship and to do that you need the viewers contact information, whether that is their email or through social media.
Trust me: Develop your relationship
Once you have the customer in your email funnel, it’s essential that you create regular content that is delivered to them at least once a month. Even if they don’t open the email, you will be reminding the client that yes, you are the ideal person to help them with the product or service when they are ready to buy.
If they also are following you on Twitter or like you on Facebook, make sure you interact with them. I just heard this comparison about dating and social media by Gary Vaynerchuk: Don’t propose on the first date! Another words, get to know your buyers and don’t lead with sales talk. It’s human nature for people to prefer to be educated instead of sold to.
Buy from me: Customer conversion
When customers are in the researching stage they turn to Google. But when they are ready to buy who are they going to think of first? The company whose website they were on 4 months ago, but they can’t remember the name? Or the company that has been delivering regular emails to them throughout the year?
Last step: Analyze and adjust
Maybe you have great content, but you aren’t getting 20% of leads to sign up for your email or webinar. What are you missing? Log into Google analytics regularly to see the whole picture. How many visitors do you have each month? Set up goals in Google Analytics to see which pages convert the best and the worst and adjust.
Is your website bringing in leads each month?
Does your website follow this content marketing formula to get more leads? Or is your website stale with static content? Sign up for our email newsletter and receive the Free ebook “How to make your Small Biz Stand out” to get more helpful tips.