By Donna Gunter
I discovered a few years ago that I had accidentally stumbled upon the new wave of marketing, now referred to as content marketing, as I went about my regular marketing activities. As a card carrying introvert, it’s just always been so much easier to share my knowledge with others rather than trying to sell myself or my products. Ironically enough, that strategy has proven insanely successful for me. At the time, I never looked upon it as a strategy or a system — I just did what naturally came to me. Who knew that I was on the cusp of the newest marketing system about to be adopted by all sorts of companies around the globe?
Today, there is a huge focus on content marketing, and it’s become an entire industry, ironically enough. In a nutshell, content marketing has been defined as a way of communicating with your customers and your prospect without selling. Instead, you deliver valuable information to them that helps them solve their day-to-day problems, rather than constantly pitching your products and services to them.
Why does it work so well? Consumers have become numb from marketing overwhelm between the television, radio, and magazine advertising, as well as online banner ads. They have learned to tune out everything that doesn’t relate to their current issue at hand, but will pay attention to great sources that help them in their search for relevant information. They then reward that sharing of valuable information with their loyalty by purchasing from you, someone that they like, know and trust.
Here are 5 proven strategies to help you use your content to turn prospects into buyers via content marketing:
1. Provide great information. Great content is not equal to a thinly disguised sales pitch for a product. If you’re going to bother to create content for your target market, make it worthwhile for them to read. Provide at least 2 valuable tips your reader can use to move forward or solve an issue. Please don’t waste their time by focusing your entire piece of content on why they have the problem. They already know that a problem exists — they are coming to you for solutions.
2. Mix it up. I just read that today’s teens and 20-somethings rely less and less on web sites as way to get the solutions to their problems, and their use of email is practically non-existent. So, take your content and package it in a variety of formats and reach out to your prospects where they are or where they hang out, like an audio podcast on iTunes, a screencast video on YouTube, a slide show on Slideshare, quick tips on Twitter and Facebook, or in app for their iPhone or iPad.
3. Boring makes them leave. Just because you’re providing some educational tidbits to your target market doesn’t mean you have to go about it in a boring manner. Put on your copywriting hat and create compelling headlines that make them want to read, view or listen to what you have created. Share your personality and your sense of humor — let you authenticity shine through. Tell entertaining stories that illustrate what you’re talking about,
4. Start with your web site. Even though more and more consumers are getting their information from user-generated sites like iTunes or You Tube, your web site is still your home base and your primary repository for your content. However, you need to educate your visitors on all pages of your site, rather than trying to sell them. Start with your home page and let visitors clearly picture who you are and how you help them solve their problems. Get your prospects to resonate with you by sharing your personal story on your About page. Continue to educate your prospects about what you do and how you do it via your FAQ page.
5. Don’t stop at the sale. Your best customers are those who have already purchased from you. Don’t drop your customers off a cliff once you’ve sold them something. Keep the love alive by continuing to educate them about other issues to which you have solutions, and that will help you build more sales.
Take Action Strategy
If you’re not yet in the business of educating your prospects, there’s no time like today to start that process. You’ll find educating your customers via content marketing a much more rewarding way of marketing your business.
Internet Marketing Coach Donna Gunter helps professional service businesses stop the client chase and create online businesses that drive clients to them. She invites readers to download her free ebook, Turbocharge Your Online Marketing Toolkit, at http://www.TurbochargeYourOnlineMarketing.com