Content marketing was the buzz word in 2014. Everyone was telling you that content marketing gets you traffic to your website and that would then convert to new customers and sales. Although I do believe that content marketing is important for any marketing strategy, it has to be a strategy and not just some paragraphs telling how great you are and all the amazing things you can do for your customers.
As I mentioned in my previous post Business networking is like dating, if you talk only about you and just rewrite about popular subjects that all your competitors are writing about, you will lose big time.
Your buyers don’t care about how you operate, or how fancy your department looks, it cares only in how you can make them money.
If you restructured your departments, don’t talk how that makes you better. Tell them how this is going to make your customers more money. Many times businesses get so caught up into how the world sees them, and they believe they have to brand themselves as something special. Your customers care about that to a certain extend, but when it comes down to making business decisions the numbers need to make sense.
Content marketing works if you answer a questions that your buyer is asking.
There is a success story about a business owner that sold pool installations. This company generated about 4.5 million dollars in sales but also spend around $250,000 in advertising. When the market crashed in 2008 he had to cut back his marketing to about $40,000 a year. Instead of investing all his money in traditional media he began investing in online marketing and started writing blog articles answering questions all his customers constantly asked him. He became the most visited pool installation website in the world. The reason why he was successful is because he understood the buying process of the new consumer.
Businesses need to change the way they market themselves, because the consumer has changed. If we look at the standard buying funnel of every consumer it always starts with awareness. This is achieved by Word of Mouth, traditional advertising, and online advertising. Once the buyer moves into the Interest stage, also known as the Research stage they go online to educate themselves. In this process they want to remove any risk in the buying decision and will eliminate around 70% of the service or product providers. This research stage consists of reading blogs, watching videos, reviewing testimonials, and asking friends on social media. Once they get a good understanding of which product best fits their need, the will move into the Evaluation or Decision making phase. This is traditionally where most companies started marketing to their buyers, because in the past the company had all the information and they had to talk to their sales person to get that information, those times have changed. If you market your buyers only in the awareness and decision phase, you will most likely lose.
The way consumers buy hasn’t changed that much, but how they get their information in making their buying decisions has. So if you continue to run your traditional advertising campaign that worked 3 years ago, you will not get that new sale. Consumers still want all the information that you have, but the way they consume the information has drastically changed. As a company your conversation must happen far before the commitment or decision making phase. Position yourself as an educator or thought leader and the buyer will trust you and most likely follow you to the decision phase.
So should you be doing content marketing? – Absolutely! However, if your initial goal with writing a blog is to generate immediate sales you do not understand how consumers buy and you have to reread this article again. Do not talk about yourself and how amazing you are, talk about how you can help and how you can make the business owner money.