Are you creating content that resonates with your audience? Are you really offering value to your customers with your content?
These are important questions to ask when creating an effective online marketing strategy.
Gregory Ciotti of HelpScout explains “Content Marketing means creating and sharing informative, valuable and free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers.” Clearly, content marketing influences customer acquisition big time!
Talented Joe Pulizzi of The Content Marketing Institute explains there are seven main functions for content marketing:
(1) Brand Awareness,
(2) Lead Capturing,
(3) Customer Conversion,
(4) Customer Service,
(5) Customer Loyalty,
(6) Customer Upsell, and
(7) Passionate Subscribers.
Though each function is equally important, we focus on creating high quality content (written, visual & video content) to engage website visitors and offer value. The goal is not necessarily to make an instant sale, but to win the trust of your prospects and build brand loyalty. After all, a loyal customer will tell their friends about you and keep returning for more business.
Now here’s the main point to content marketing. By building an email list, you empower your marketing efforts by being able to nurture prospects. Once you have a prospect’s email address, you can engage your prospects, who’ll become paying customers over time.
How can you be great at Content Marketing and acquire new customers?
The content marketing process involves driving traffic to your blog, creating valuable content, capturing email addresses and then nurturing the leads with email marketing.
Here are the actions you need to take to make content marketing magic work for your brand:
1. Create a blog that converts. Chances are you have a blog. Most companies do these days. But is it generating leads? Above all, your blog must be optimized to collect email addresses. If you’re not growing your subscriber list, you’re not creating a scalable and sustainable content strategy. So invest time in optimising your email opt-in form for conversions. Make sure it is easy to see, easy to use, and entices new visitors, or those not yet subscribed to enter their details.
Use plugins like HelloBar and Pippity to place attention-grabbing tabs and pop-ups on your blog and set the foundation right for content marketing success. Add additional subscriber boxes at the end of the each post (we have a WordPress plugin that allows us to collect emails based on the category of content). Whatever you do, work to GROW YOUR LIST!
2. Create some kick-ass, consistent content. Do you know your startup’s “why”? Before you go any further, ask yourself what inspires you to do what you do. What problem are you solving?
By having your ‘why’ at the heart of all content generation efforts, you’ll produce content that’s better aligned with your purpose.
Just like a martini with a twist, you can add some zest to your content by being your, unique, self. With more than 2 million blog posts created everyday, you’ve got to stand-out from the ‘content clutter’ by being BOLD in your approach.
Great Content = Born From Your ‘Why’ + Interestingly Unique
One startup doing this really well is “iDoneThis.” They combine humor with actionable advice to teach their audience all about productivity. Check out some examples of images below they’ve used in a post about people management.
Using GIFs, memes and engaging images, they are redefining the stereotypical perception a consumer would have about a productivity blog.
To encourage subscribers, iDoneThis uses their quick wit to highlight their product benefits directly above their email subscription box. Oh, and it follows you on the sidebar. Have a look below.
3. Drive LOTS of traffic to your blog – Creating great content is only half the battle. Without blog traffic, your content is as good as a deserted billboard. Therefore, creating great content is only halfway to victory.
Be the content other publications and bloggers want to reference. This means your content must be backed by data, engaging, and entertaining. This will help build your blog’s traction and increase the number of quality leads you collect. Guest posting on other high trafficked sites is another way to get eyeballs, position yourself as an authority, and build relationships with your fellow bloggers.
The trick here is to find the right opportunities for guest blogging. By building relationships with influential bloggers in your niche (ensure you share the same target audience), and pitching blogging ideas to them, you’ll be on the right track.
Refer to their blog’s ‘comments section’ for guest blogging ideas, since comments usually have some interesting insights that you can reference too. Trace commenters back to their blog, and gauge whether or not they would be open to guest blogging opportunities.
By analysing external back links and referring domains via a tool called Majestic, you can quickly identify opportunities to increase traffic, find out where your competitors are getting their traffic from, and try to mimic their success.
If you’re super serious about driving a ton of traffic, an excellent tip by Matthew Barby is to get influencers to write for your blog. Reach out to bloggers with massive social followings, and incentivise them to write for your blog by giving them free use of your services. You’ll see the spike in traffic in a heartbeat.
4. Promote your content. Email potential customers and partners directly and showcase what’s the value in reading it for them. Highlight the knowledge or benefits they would derive from reading your content and you just might be pleasantly surprised with all the responses that start pouring in.
Email marketing still crushes social and paid marketing channels, so milk it for all it’s worth. More than 44% of email recipients made a purchase online due to receiving an email. These stats clearly show the value of email marketing.
Don’t forget to ask people you email to share your content with their network. People are more likely read content that’s referred to them by people they trust. Most importantly, make it a walk in the park for readers to share your content on social media (We’ll get to this shortly).
Email automation tools like Hubspot can help you scale your email marketing. You can automate reminders to be sent out when you upload new blog content.
An interesting way to capture email addresses is to gate your most valuable content. To access gated content, readers provide their email address in exchange for free information. Here’s an example.
Just like McDonald’s staff always asks “would you like some fries with that,” your gated content is a bonus for your readers. Check out the image below to internalise this.
5. Analyze & Track Everything. Do you know if people really care about the content your team works hard to create? You can use Google Analytics to figure this out. The most important metrics for you to track are:
1. Do people start reading your content,
2. Do people read your content all the way to the end,
3. How much time are readers taking to do this and
4. Blog Visitors To Email Subscriptions Ratio. Check out the image below to see how Google Analytics allows you to track this information:
By perpetually monitoring engagement, you’ll be able to persevere or pivot your content strategy, helping you optimise your results.
Reach out to us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. We always welcome feedback, questions or suggestions!
Founder & CEO