Your company is outstanding! You know that your team is one of the best around at what they do. Your product is miles ahead of the next guy. And everyone knows it. Or do they? How do you let the world know that you are a leader in your field, that you have real insight into your customers’ needs, and that you provide a great product or service?
A 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl is one way. Several new businesses have made a splash this way. Of course, you’ll need to come up with $5M first.
What if there was an inexpensive way to let the world know that you are great and that firmly establishes with your potential customers your expertise and ability to solve their problems? There is, and it’s called content marketing. And, you need to do this because your customers don’t care about you, your products or your services. They care about themselves—their wants and their needs.
Content marketing is about creating interesting information your customers are passionate about so they actually pay attention to you. Although it’s straightforward, it’s not easy. It takes a real commitment to start the process of a content marketing program, implement it correctly, and continue it well into the future. But the results are proven, and the benefits are long-term.
In the Beginning
Before there was a fancy name for it, before it was the “thing to do,” there was John Deere. In 1895, John Deere started printing The Furrow, its quarterly magazine. It wasn’t a catalog. It didn’t overtly seek to sell products on every page. Instead, it strove to establish a connection between the brand and customer by sharing articles and agricultural tips in addition to advertisements for John Deere products. By 1912, it had four million readers.
The reader was given something they greatly valued for free and positive connections were made between them and John Deere each time they read the magazine Obviously, the reader pool would contain both current and potential customers and yet the strategy didn’t have to be altered to speak to both groups. The Furrow started teaching businesses that selling product wasn’t always about selling product; it was about building brand loyalty and becoming a part of each consumer’s home.
Loyalty is the key for business success and a loyal customer means increasing profitability at lower costs. Some consider loyalty as an attitude factor and others consider it as a behavioral factor; it’s probably both. It is highly related to customer satisfaction. Brand loyalty can be defined as the positive attitude of the customer to a certain brand, his/her fidelity to the brand, and intention for future purchase. Since retaining current customers is much less expensive than acquiring new ones, managers should put higher priority on creating strategies that extend and retain brand loyalty.
Advertising Research Shows
According to research findings of the European Online Journal of Natural and Social Sciences, an advertisement has no statistically significant impact on brand loyalty. Results suggest brand trust has significant statistical impact on brand loyalty. It is suggested marketers and companies pay more attention to the fact that they cannot make their costumers loyal only through advertisements; rather it is better to make them loyal through creating trust.
What content do you possess that your customer base is interested in? That’s a subject for a weekend retreat or at least a long lunch meeting. Top to bottom, your organization should be polling the staff, from the front lines to the back office. “Who are our people, and what are they interested in?” Remember, your customers don’t care about you, your products, or your services. They care about themselves—their wants and their needs.
The content you provide should be a natural extension of your business, of the things you are passionate about:
A dog groomer can post videos on the best shampoos for Fido.
A law firm can put a paper online about how changes in the tax laws will affect your estate planning.
A marketing company can blog about what Drupal’s new version will mean for your website.
A grill company can provide recipes and valuable grilling techniques (all performed on their excellent product of course).
You are giving the world something valuable—for free—to establish yourself as the expert in your field, to bring eyes and ears back to your company on a regular basis and bond them to your brand.
You can have the best content out there but if it falls in the forest and no one hears it, who cares? There is a necessary marriage between excellent content and making sure that the internet agrees. The web is a very democratic institution; if your content connects closer to a search than your competition’s, you’ll be ranked higher and will be seen more often. Therefore, you should put into practice the three “musts” of making sure that your content marketing plan is benefitting your company:
1. Engage in proper content tagging. The system of tagging and titling that you use to organize your content is mainly implemented for the sake of findability.
2. Use keywords and categories to help both internal and external audiences find what they need right when they want it. The tagging of your content acts as the skeleton within your digital presence, and if it doesn’t reflect your overall organizational goals, all the most beautifully written content will never truly deliver on the investment it required.
3. Establish Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
– Find relevant keywords with good search traffic potential.
– Create and optimize pages for search engines and users alike.
– Make sure your website is accessible to both bots and humans.
– Build relevant links from other high-quality websites.
Play the Long Game
It took John Deere 17 years to expand its reach to four million readers. By then, one in 23 Americans were using John Deere as one of their primary sources of information about innovation in the farming industry. And, over 100 years later, they are still an industry leader. While posting valuable content on social media and on your website isn’t as costly as paid advertisements, it does have an opportunity cost in staff time. When your pet groomer is making videos, he/she isn’t grooming pets. The costs are less obvious on the bottom line but they still exist and so a careful, measured approach should be taken so that your program can sustain itself.
How long will it take to establish your company as an expert in your field, build trust and brand loyalty, and attract new customers? Less time if you start a content marketing program today. Need help? Contact New Target, and our digital marketing team will help you get started!