By: Beatrice Perkins
Content marketing provides a high-caliber opportunity that can convert browsers into buyers in the online sales cycle. But, to capture and retain the interest of that target customer, you must lead them through the information they need before making their decision.
Answering questions and offering solutions to the common (and sometimes not-so-common) problems and pain points of your audience will generate leads that feel nurtured and understood, creating loyalty in the process.
Here are five proven ways to build authority and attract new customers with your content strategy in the coming quarter.
1) Start with the customer journey.
How much do you know about your customers? How much research have you done? What type of information catches their attention, draws them closer, and creates a relationship?
Traditionally, you’ll want to look at how to build awareness with them, get them to consider a purchase, and make a decision to purchase. As you create new content, dive deeper into the relationship through social media, but don’t just post content, read their comments, and ask for insight. Take advantage of their openness at the point of sale by asking them how they found out about you or what led them to say “yes” to the purchase.
Though CRM software is convenient, don’t lose sight of organizing data in a way that best suits you. Products like Salesforce, Monday, and Hubspot are great, but if they prevent you from digging into the data and getting an intimate outlook on it, bypass them for a few spreadsheets.
Whatever the tool, categorize your leads based on their interest and sales-readiness, and tailor their experience based on that. Once you do that, you’re ready to segment them.
[Related: Diversity Marketing Matters to Your Audience]
2) Segment your audience for personalized content.
Once you have identified a set of common interests, behaviors, and regions, you can start creating content for each group so that you provide them with relevant information instead of the one-size-fits-all model. This shows each customer that you know them and that you are ready to serve them.
If you sell books online, you might segment your audience based on those interested in fiction and those interested in nonfiction. If you offer executive coaching services, you might segment your audience based on industry, years of experience, or role. While you may provide services to a variety of client types, you want to be sure that you’re marketing only the most relevant content to each group.
When you know your customer well, you can customize their experience on your website or in e-mail communications. That’s why collecting data points about your leads and customers is so essential in today’s digital environment.
3) Diversify your media types.
The average person interacts with different media formats eleven hours per day, so you have a lot of competition in order to get their attention.
Interactive content that requires the user to engage with it was a top performer last year and is expected to continue performing. It can be as simple as having your audience take a quiz, or hosting a live feed video and asking a question for them to respond to during it.
Another fun way to make your content more engaging and interactive is to mix media formats. Embed videos in the text of your blog posts, put downloadable PDF links in your articles, and add social streams for live engagement. Delivering essential information in a wider variety of formats allows you to capture an audience that isn’t lured by one single type of content.
4) Leverage guest contributors and influencers.
Having guests contribute to your blog posts expands your reach and amplifies your voice by utilizing the strength of social sharing.
Look to active YouTubers, bloggers, association writers, and expert speakers. Be sure the contributors you target are relevant and aligned with your brand values and audience. If there’s something specific you want them to write, take the extra effort of drafting a creative brief with the details you’re hoping to capture.
Finally, if you’re not paying for the contribution, collaborate on the project until it is of equal benefit for both of you in terms of providing exposure and establishing authority.
5) Solidify your SEO.
Without a focused effort on SEO, your return on investment and results will be diminished. Keywords help your website pages, and blog posts rank higher on Google searches.
Going into the next quarter, examine your competitors and look at what they’re ranking for monthly. Look at gaps between you and them: What terms do you want to rank for that are not on their list? What comments have been made by their users that you alleviate with your products and services?
By using the keywords from this research in your posts, you can raise your rank and attract more browsers to your website. This is the most sustainable way of building search engine authority and boosting site traffic.
The best content marketing involves helpful, generous, and insightful material designed to serve your reader. Establish your authority, nurture your leads with vital information, and give content relevant to each user group.
Your content marketing strategy, implemented with the five points above, will support your revenue goals in the coming quarter and beyond.
[Related: Your Five-Point MarComm and PR Plan]
Beatrice Perkins is an award-winning marketing consultant and founder of Brand Excitement, a digital marketing consultancy that focuses on brand visibility and engagement. She is also a seasoned speaker at business conferences throughout North America, featured by Ellevate Network, Inc. Magazine, FOX news, and O, The Oprah Magazine. Find her sharing her expertise on Twitter at @msbeaperkins.