If you’ve been following this series, you would now know why content ‘marketing’ is so important and the tools you need to embark on a content marketing campaign.
If not, it might be worth brushing up on these before continuing.
So by now you are all set to embark on your digital content strategy or campaign. And now the fun begins.
Over the course of your campaign, your ultimate goal of course is to generate more sales. However, it now does this in a more complex way than ever before.
In the past you graduated your customer from being a suspect to being a prospect and then through to customer and then former customer.
How hot is your prospect?
While this evolution is essentially the same using content marketing, there are now varying degrees of how much of a ‘prospect’ your eventual customer is.
As the diagram below shows, the more evolved your prospect is along the evolution path, the ‘hotter’ or more likely they will become a customer.
The reason for this is that each digital medium has a different level of ‘invasiveness’.
The immediate, perfect conversion
For example, visiting your website is a very passive means of finding out more about your business. Given it is ‘on demand’ information, your prospect can visit any time they want to find out more about you and in turn make more meaningful contact.
But unless you have a relatively costly visitor tracking and identification tool like Leadlander, you have no way of capturing the identity of that visitor, so the lead is effectively unable to be consummated.
Some visitors will bookmark or ‘favourite’ your website for future reference, however, again there is no way of recording this (at least that I’m aware of).
Visitors who are ready to buy an e-commerce friendly product or service may purchase from your website immediately – the perfect conversion!
Please keep in touch
But if they aren’t ready to buy but still want to keep in touch or test the quality of your information, they will either follow you via a social networking channel like LinkedIn or Facebook or subscribe to your email list.
It can be seen that following you or your business on a social network is a less entrenched relationship (or less hot a lead) because social networks still a) require you to log on to access your content or b) run the risk of being missed altogether if your feed is full enough or your social network doesn’t rank it as important to you (yes many social networks actually filter what appears on your feed).
On the other hand, all of your customers’ (opted in) emails will appear in their inbox for their physical viewing and handling – even if it is a ‘delete’. So for customers to subscribe to your email list is essentially giving you permission to invade their inbox!
Of course the amount of time your prospect sits in these repositories depends on how urgently they feel the need to purchase.
But at least you can identify them and start a sales dialogue to progress the chance of a sale.
After sales content
As the diagram indicates too, once you have your customer, content can also be used to either up-sell or cross-sell your other products and services. By ensuring they are connected by either email or social media, your content can make them aware of other products/services you can provide them and ideally leading to further sales.
You might like to reward customers with email information and offers exclusive to them to reward them for their custom and make your relationship even stronger.
So the goal of your content is to reach more ‘suspects’ via the three-pronged strategy of website/email broadcast/ social networking outlined last week and then convert them into a prospect
Is your content compelling enough?
Naturally your content needs to be compelling enough for them to take that kind of action, so it’s important that you are generous with your content by offering valuable advice and information rather than a content ‘tease’.
Today’s content consumer is very savvy when it comes to distinguishing genuine, credible information from fluffy search engine bait and may even penalise you for providing this by unsubscribing or un-following.
Many feel reluctant to part with such valuable information for nothing. Only you can determine this, suffice to say that the more valuable the content, the more likely the ‘follow’ and in turn the sale.
You should now have enough information to make your initial foray into the exciting and cost-effective world of content marketing. Let’s hope it’s a profitable one.
In addition to being a leading eBusiness educator to the smaller business sector, Craig Reardon is the founder and director of independent web services firm The E Team which was established to address the special website and web marketing needs of SMEs in Melbourne and beyond. www.theeteam.com.au