From Attracting to Delighting: 4 Steps to Successful Content Marketing
When was the last time you were hanging out watching TV, listening to the radio, or maybe browsing the web and thought, “Gee. I wish there were more ads. I wish a company would interrupt this entertaining show/song/article and try to convince me to buy their ‘new and improved’ product.”
I’m guessing never!
Instead, we watch recorded TV so we can skip the commercials, or we listen to satellite radio because it has no ads. And, online we pretty much ignore advertising altogether.
However, when we’re looking for something – a product or service, either for personal or business use – we WANT to be helped. We appreciate relevant, valuable information that will help us make a good decision.
THIS is where content marketing comes in.
Content marketing actually applies from the moment someone begins the process of investigation, all the way to the point where they become a client/customer and beyond. The graphic above from Hubspot serves as a great visual description of the entire content marketing process. Whether you sell car stereos or industrial tubing, these same elements apply.
Let me explain…
Before anyone is exposed to your brand, he’s a stranger. The goal of the “attract” stage is to take strangers and turn them into visitors. From an online marketing perspective, this is often the major area of focus: developing a solid website, optimizing for search engines (SEO), blogging to provide great content, pushing messages through social media, etc.
And, this is a vital component to any content marketing strategy. When you know exactly who your target audience is, and you can create content that attracts them to your site precisely when they’re looking for your product or service, you’ve hit the jackpot.
Most companies focus so much on this phase they sometimes forget about the others. What happens once you’ve attracted a visitor to your website? What’s next?
Once you’ve got visitors to your site, the next step is to convert those visitors into leads by gathering their contact information. At the very least, you’ll need their email address. If you have the perfectly optimized website that attracts your ideal customers all day long but you don’t have a system in place to get their information, all your efforts in the “attract” stage are wasted.
This is where things like e-books, whitepapers, and other content elements come into play. You offer something your prospect is willing to “pay” for by sharing their information in return.
Enticing calls-to-action and well-defined landing pages allow you to effectively convert visitors to leads. As you collect this information, it’s essential to maintain a centralized marketing database where you can optimize your future interactions with these leads.
So, you’ve attracted the right visitors and converted them into leads, but now you need to transform those leads into customers. Now is the time to “close.”
This stage can involve several elements, both online and offline. Defining the steps of the entire sales process helps to ensure strong leads are followed up with and nurtured to the point of conversion from lead to customer.
Well-defined “workflows” are a good place to start. For example, once a visitor fills out a form and downloads an e-book, a second interaction is triggered which sends a follow-up email two days later. Three days after that, another email is sent to the lead and offers a separate yet relevant piece of content. Four days later, a task is generated for your salesperson to reach out by phone to the lead in order to set an appointment. And so on.
This process is known as “marketing automation” and often takes into consideration several interactions a lead has with your brand – if she follows you on Twitter and fills out a contact form, you might send a different series of emails than if she downloaded a particular e-book and responded to an email offer.
Content marketing goes beyond moving a prospect from visitor to lead to customer. It can also serve as a customer retention tool. It’s all about providing remarkable content to our users, whether they’re visitors, leads, or existing customers. Just because someone writes you a check doesn’t mean you can forget about them. In fact, your existing customers can be delighted to a point where they become raving fans and will share your content and recommend your company to others.
Continuing to provide relevant, helpful content to your customers over time keeps you top of mind and reminds them why they chose you in the first place. Social media, email newsletters, seminars and workshops are all components of a solid ongoing content marketing strategy that delights your audience.
This methodology covers each and every step taken on the road from stranger to customer. It acknowledges that inbound marketing doesn’t just happen – it involves a concerted effort to reach the right people, in the right places at just the right time.
What about you?
Where do you struggle most in the process? Which area is your strongest? If you have any questions or you’d like to talk through any of these things, go ahead and click on the button below. I’d be happy to talk with you.