Nowadays content marketing is the gold rush of the 21st century. Most days there are new success stories of startups, individual bloggers, and large companies gaining huge ROIs from their content marketing strategies. Yet for a number of us, the experience is a costly and unrewarding one.
Nowadays, content marketing isn’t exactly like panning for gold. Being successful isn’t based on entirely luck – it’s dependent on developing and implementing an effective strategy.
A blog post is not an advertisement. Using your blog to constantly spam subscribers and followers with information about your company, products or services will quickly result in a loss of fans. However, you can use your blog to help drive sales. If done well, your content marketing strategy may in fact become a valuable goldmine.
I have learned now to look at sales as a funnel, rather than a switch
The used car salesman often treats the sales process like an on-off switch. The customer either says “yes” or “no” – and if he says no, the salesman is out of commission.
In the digital realm, sales is not a switch, but I learned its a funnel. With at least 81% of buyers carrying out research before making a purchase, most people arriving on your website for the very first time aren’t ready to make a decision. Instead, they’re evaluating and comparing products – trying to find the one that offers exactly what they need.
With this in mind, remember that your blog and social media outlets are at the top of the funnel. A single blog post probably won’t convert the reader into a customer. However, a single blog post can turn a reader into a subscriber – taking the user one step closer to making the final purchasing decision.
When you look at your sales strategy as a funnel rather than a buy-or-don’t-buy switch, your focus transitions from that of the salesperson, to that of the advisor; Once you do this and become become an advisor, focusing on helping your customers to overcome a challenge or fill a need, this means when they’re ready to buy you’ll be remembered and at the front of their minds.
Make sure to use the right content for the right audience
Get to know your audience
One of the worst mistakes you can make whilst branding is focusing your blog on the wrong niche.
There’s a reason these days why only 42% of businesses believe that their content marketing is effective – too many today think that just blog traffic equals more sales.
Although it’s true that increasing your traffic is critical to growing your sales, there are blogs with just a few dozen daily views that earn more than blogs with 10,000 daily views. Why? Because they’re focusing their content on those individuals who are actually interested in making a purchase;
Your blog’s focus needs to finely balance the line between being relevant, while still being broad and accessible to a variety of audience segments.
For example, too many freelance writers make their blog focus “how to become a freelance writer”. While this content may attract a large following of aspiring freelancers, it won’t attract many clients. However, a freelance writer whose blog discusses developments in the MedTech and healthcare industries will attract specific readers who may actually be interested in hiring them.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, many businesses narrow their focus too much. For example, if you sell smart light bulbs to consumers, a blog that discusses the technical aspects of smart lighting probably isn’t going to interest them much. Meanwhile, a blog that discusses the future of the Internet of Things (IoT) might attract far more followers.
The best way to ensure that your blog maintains the right focus is to develop a persona for your ideal customer. What’s this person’s gender, age, interests, income level, hobbies, worries, etc.? Then focus your content around their needs. What will they be searching for on the web? What would they want to read? Once you understand who your target persona is, developing relevant content becomes a lot easier!
If you are looking to build a list of people you wish to interact with daily, why don’t you offer even more value? If your readers are looking for interview advice, why not offer a free report that gives him/her answers to the 20 most common interview questions? If your reader is looking to get in shape, then why not provide a free workout calendar or healthy recipe compilation?
Basically offering your readers even more value, with a newsletter will help you gain subscribers to sell too.
Once someone subscribes to your newsletter, you can use a CRM tool to track that interaction – monitoring the content, tools, and products that most interest them.