Introduction - content marketing
Consumers are being bombarded with marketing messages every day. That’s because marketers are disregarding a simple reality - the face of advertising has changed. Outbound marketing like interruptive ads, direct mail and cold calling just doesn't work anymore.Here are some facts:
- 75% of people don't believe in ads
- 86% of people skip TV commercials
- 44% of direct mail is never opened
So what is content marketing?
Today, in order to attract potential customers, marketers have to provide readers with something they’ll enjoy. That's where content marketing comes in. It's a marketing methodology that drives individuals to your product by creating quality content they love, and converts them into lifelong customers.
How is it done?
Here are the steps you’ll need to take to churn content into contacts:
- Write engaging (SEO optimized) blogs
- Include calls to actions in those posts
- Drive visitors to your landing pages
- Continue the conversation
But who’s to say that all those steps will line up and play out seamlessly one after the other? By publishing the right content at the right place and the right time for each of these steps, your marketing becomes relevant and helpful to your customers. Write by that trifecta and watch the content marketing domino show play out in front of your eyes.
When speaking on the phone with CEO and CMOs, I’m constantly being asked how these dominoes line up, how one leads to the next and what it means to add value and help prospects every step along the way. So let’s break down each of these stages of content marketing and how they can effortlessly flow when they’re educational and enjoyable.
Your blog is the front door of your website. By optimizing your blog’s content for SEO, your buyer personas will have the greatest chance of finding you during their online searches, and so will begin the chain reaction that’s to follow.
Here are some tips when writing your blog:
- The right content: Write for your target audience or buyer personas. Your content is for them, not you, so write something they’re going to want to read.
- The right place: In the customer-centric era, people want to absorb content they look for, not interruptive ads that assume they’re ready to buy. Blogs are a place to provide captivating and insightful content that’s not about selling, but meeting a reader where he is in his own buyer’s journey. It’s a channel that offers advice, perspective, and inspiration. Now when was the last time you saw an ad do that?
- The right time: Write according to where your readers are at in their buyer’s journey. If they’re trying to understand an issue they’re having that you can solve, don’t try to sell to them now. At this point, you should be educating them about their challenge and ways to solve it. If you’re writing for someone at the end of their buyer’s journey, educate them on how you’ve helped others who had similar challenges to them.
CTAs or calls-to-action are your chance to make sure your blog readers aren’t reading and leaving. If your blog is the front door of your website, CTAs are your way to put your foot in that door. A CTA can be an invite to download a content offer, book a demo, start a trial, participate in a webinar or any other offer you think prospect can’t refuse.
Here are some tips when writing your CTAs:
- The right content: CTAs should match the content they follow. Your CTA is about providing additional value so it works as a, “but wait there’s more!” token. Don’t offer something that’s unrelated to what your reader just read. They should see it as a chance to step up what they started learning about.
- The right place: This is a contended topic among digital marketers. It makes sense that CTAs should be at the bottom of posts, after a reader finishes reading. There’s also an idea that CTAs should be “above the fold” so those glancing will also have the chance to see a CTA. While newspapers seem more old school than digital writing, “above the fold” has become renewed with more people scrolling through content on their smartphones and not having the patience to scroll through an entire article. The jury is still out on this debate but try a/b testing to see what works best for you.
- The right time: When calling to a friend across the street, are you more likely to call out, “Come here!” or “Hi! How are you? Come on over so we can catch up!” Probably the first. Sure you want to say that whole bit, but that can wait until he gets to your side of the road. You want to be action-oriented and brief in order to send your friend a clear message over the traffic. CTAs are the same. The shorter and more direct your CTA is, the more likely your reader is going to follow your CTA to its landing page.
Your visitor has crossed the street and is now on the cusp of turning into a lead. To do that, he’ll need to fill out some info about himself before collecting his prize promised in the CTA.
Here are some tips when writing your landing pages:
- The right content: If you’re thinking that landing pages don’t have content, think again. There’s a good chance you didn’t give too many details to go along with your CTA, so now’s your chance to tell them what they’re signing up for. If it’s an eBook, offer some of the chapter titles or highlights. If it’s a demo or webinar, discuss how those are scheduled. Your reader is thinking, “is this worth it?” Help them say, “yes”.
- The right place: Landing pages have one goal - to get almost-leads to become...well real-leads. Limit the number of distractions on the landing page. By offering additional links or your menu bar, you’re inviting visitors to take actions that aren’t filling out their information. Make sure your landing page has one clear goal to capture contact details.
- The right time: How much is too much? Make sure you ask your visitors for information that is fair in relation to your offer. If it’s just a landing page to get monthly newsletters, you don’t need to be asking them for more than their email address. An eBook? Go ahead and ask their name and even the type of role they have in their company. The more you’re giving them, the more you can ask from them in return.
Thank you pages
All thank you pages should have three goals:
- Delivering the content offer (or letting the reader know when/where they’re going to get it)
- Return their attention to your website navigation to encourage them to stick around
- Keep your newfound leads engaged
Here are some tips when writing your thank you pages:
- The right content: You might have thought that the call-to-action is over but turns out, your thank you page a great way to offer additional calls-to-action. Offer CTAs to share the offer with others over social media. Create a CTA for them to follow your company on social media to stay posted on your latest offers. While this might be the end of one workflow, it should be the start of an engaging content-filled relationship.
- The right place: I’ve seen a bunch of landing pages that seem unrelated to the company brand, and others that rock the integration of their company image even in something as mundane as a landing page. Use your thank you page to further brand awareness. Assuming your brand’s colors and style reflects the kind of message you want to send to your leads, this is an easy way to give them that impression.
- The right time: Thank you pages should appear right away after a lead submits his details. If you miss this and just send them an email with the offer, sure, they get what they asked for, but it leaves them hanging for confirmation.
There you have it! Content marketing isn’t just about throwing out copy for people to read. There’s a need to recognize and respect who your personas are and where they are on their journey to purchase. Once you understand those points, you can create unique and engaging content to push your prospects through the sales cycle. Starting with your SEO-optimized blog, offer further relevant and helpful content through CTAs, leading prospects to submit their contact details, and lastly receive a thank you page to nurture those leads into regular visitors. Each step in this process should align with the mantra, “the right content, in the right place, at the right time.” Once you have that lined up, get ready to sit back and watch your relevant leads come filing in.
Want to discover more ways to generate leads? Check out our 30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips, Tricks, & Ideas eBook to learn more!
(See what I did there?)