As an online entrepreneur, you’d probably like to:
- Increase client/customer retention
- Sell more products & services
- Easily develop new leads
- Boost brand awareness
- Leverage testimonials & stories
Right? I can see you nodding through the screen 🙂
An effective content marketing strategy is one way you can make this happen. If it seems daunting, don’t be put off – we’ll break it all down into approachable, actionable steps so you can forge a path ahead.
Before we get started, here’s a quick definition of exactly what content marketing is, courtesy of the Content Marketing Institute:
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Step 1: to Effective Content Marketing: Know Your Audience
“A marketer or business owner gets so focused on WHAT they’re selling that they forget to think about WHO they’re selling it to. This is the kiss of death for a marketing campaign, and sometimes even an entire business.”
How well do you know your audience…really? 69% of buyers are willing to pay more for a more personalized experience – so it pays to understand your audience. Now is not the time to emphasize what you’re selling, but rather, who you’re selling to.
Getting clear on who your audience is (and what they’re looking for) will help you throughout the entire content planning process, especially as you choose the most relevant platforms to use and what content you’ll create.
The most common forms of content include:
- eBooks & free downloads
You need to dig deep into the mind of your target audience to find out:
- What are they searching for?
- Where do they search?
- What content is attracting attention?
- What content gets the most engagement?
- What trends are you seeing?
From this, you can also gain insight into your competition. Sometimes even who your competitors are might surprise you. Here’s an interesting stat, especially if your audience is Millennials: 59% of Millennials will head to Amazon before any other website, making them potentially one of your biggest competitors right from the start.
Marketecs Pro Tip: Create a Customer Avatar to build a strong picture of who you’re selling to (you can create more than one Avatar). Here’s a free Customer Avatar worksheet from DigitalMarketer to help you get started.
Step 2: A Customer Journey Map Should Be Part of Your Content Strategy
Think of the Customer Journey as the route your customers take as they form a relationship with you, from the very first point of contact to the final sale. The Journey has 3 key stages:
- Awareness – the prospect becomes aware of you & how you may be able to help them in some way.
- Evaluation – the prospect is seriously considering opening their wallet, but they want to know if you’re the best source.
- Conversion – woohoo! the prospect has decided to take action & make that all-important purchase.
It’s easy to see how the relationship with your customer changes throughout each critical stage. This is important to recognize, because the content you put out there should be tailored appropriately to match where the customer is at in the Journey.
In our experience, for most of our clients, testimonials and referrals are a huge source of revenue and a big part of their Customer Journey Map.
Marketecs Pro Tip: Check out this link to help you build your own unique Customer Journey Map. Then you can craft meaningful content to capture their attention at the awareness stage – and ultimately, covert them into loyal followers who are happy to refer you.
Step 3: Choose Your Content Platforms Wisely
With so many different platforms available, how do you know which one(s) to choose? This is why steps 1 and 2 above are essential. Without a clear picture of who your audience is, it’s pretty difficult to focus on a specific platform to promote whatever it is you’re selling.
While an in-depth discussion of every possible platform to promote your content on is outside the scope of this article, we can tell you that these are some of the most popular:
- Your own website/newsletter
Never underestimate the power of your own website:
6 out of every 10 small businesses reported that they didn’t even have a website for their business in 2018. (Devrix)
If that’s you, you might want to think about developing your professional presence to reach more of your target audience. Already have a website? Take advantage of our complimentary 12-point custom website review.
Marketecs Pro Tip: Chances are, you already have a lot of great content just waiting to be put to good use! One of the most effective ways to maximize your time and effort is to repurpose it. See this post for creative strategies to make the most of all your fantastic content.
Remember that no part of the content strategy process is a “once-and-done” task. Rather, you must commit to staying engaged, watching current trends, and constantly tweaking your content as needed.
“Content marketing is a commitment, not a campaign.”
Need to talk content marketing strategy? We’d love to chat! Click here to choose a time & we’ll explore your goals together.