Content marketing is ALL the rage! You and I, as well as a growing number of consumers ignore ads, have banner blindness and skip commercials on TV when we can.
So how can small businesses and entrepreneurs leverage quality content to induce growth and profits?
Countless companies still slowly grow their business through traditional marketing methods and they look doubtfully at digital marketing and content creation.
According to Hubspot, however, more than 90 percent of companies using inbound marketing increase their leads and about half say that they have increased sales in just 7 months. Quality inbound reduces the cost per lead and allows companies to extend their reach.
The key to becoming one of these success stories is learning how to develop content that can turn those inbound doubters into believers. Here is how to bring people to your website, engage them, and encourage them to convert.
Understand the Buyer’s Journey using content marketing
When people come across your website and your content they are on a journey. Few people arrive at your site ready to buy. In that sense, the inbound doubters have a point. Just posting random content about how great your products and services are won’t sell your content. The key is understanding the path your visitors are taking.
1. The awareness stage
These are the people who have just begun to realize they have a problem. Say you sell real estate. The awareness stage might be a family who wants to have a child, but they do not like the schools in the area where they live. These people now begin to research what to do about their problem.
2. The consideration stage
These are the people who have begun to weigh their different options and potential solutions. In the example above– can they afford a private school? What is the market like in the areas where they do like the schools? These are the questions circulating in their minds. The vast majority of your page visitors fall into these first two stages.
3. The decision stage
These people now know what they want to do to solve their problem (buy a new house) but they are just trying to decide what real estate company to use in their search. Estimate only about 20 percent of your traffic actually falling into this category.
Successful content understands this journey and provides value that reaches people at different stages. For the first two stages of the journey, produce informative, interesting content that answers questions and educates. The content should demonstrate that you are an expert in the industry and that you are there to help them. This content forms the foundation of your relationship with the prospective customer. These people are not very interested in comparison studies between you and your competitor, they just want answers to their questions.
By the time your visitor reaches the decision stage, you want them to be confident in your skills. Now is the time to produce content that demonstrates how your company outperforms competitors. These people will appreciate it.
Now that you know the type of content that needs to be produced, you must consider how to write content marketing material that will engage your audience. You might assume that you need to come at your audience hard and fast with statistics and facts. Demonstrate that you are the industry leader by showing off your knowledge. That will backfire.
The human brain has evolved over millions of years. The part of the brain that thinks logically actually evolved last and is not the part of the brain that drives buying decisions. The part of the brain with the most impact on purchases– as well as customer loyalty– is the old brain, or the reptilian brain.
The reptilian brain is dominated by emotions. It makes decisions based upon the senses stimulated and how it perceives risk versus reward. You need to tap into this part of the brain with your content.
- Use stories to communicate ideas
- Incorporate images
- Speak about the benefits of the products and services in tangible and concrete ways
This will help you speak directly to the old brain and build your relationship with your prospective customers.
Your last obstacle is convincing people to read the high quality content you just produced. Shockingly, 8 in 10 people will read your headlines, but only 2 in 10 will read your content (Copyblogger).
You must produce headlines that spark intrigue in your reader, encouraging them to know more. Remember that most people who land on your site are there to have their questions answered– they want to learn! Be their guide by producing headlines that surprise and captivate.
- How to
- Surprising statistics
- Learn from me
- Top X Ways…
- Worst X Ways…
These are the types of headlines that encourage clicks and give you the chance to prove your worth to your reader.
In some circles, content and inbound marketing has a reputation of being too hard and unprofitable for businesses and entrepreneurs to actually use to succeed, but that could not be further from the truth. When you know how to write content that engages and encourages your audience, you will be amazed at what digital marketing can do for you.
- Are you leveraging content marketing?
- How is content marketing working out for you?
- Did you find these pointers beneficial?
My latest book Feed A Starving Crowd contains many content marketing strategies to help your business grow. You can get a free copy from feedastarvingcrowd.com