You may have heard a number of terms being thrown around the web lately: “Inbound Marketing”, “Content Marketing”, “Blogging for Business” — it is tough to keep up and easy to get overwhelmed.
As a busy business owner, sometimes it is easier to just ignore trends and hope that it all works out.
But guess what: hoping is not a strategy.
Your business deserves the best shot of success you can give it, so let’s discuss a couple of reasons you need to be investing in content marketing today — for the sake of your business, you should have been doing this 3-4 years ago, but that isn’t an option. Let’s make due with what we have to work with and see why you must get started with content marketing today.
What is Content Marketing
In short, content marketing is the intentional use of content (blogs, educational material, videos, social media, photos, quotes, charts/graphs, tip-sheets, How Tos, Q&A sessions, etc) to do two things:
- Attract new visitors to your brand/website, AND
- Convert those new people to customers.
The idea of educating people when they are seeking out information makes a lot of sense, right? If you wanted to know how to start underwater basket weaving, you would probably go to Google and type something like, “How to start underwater basket weaving” and click on the first or second result.
Then you’d read about how to get started with underwater basket weaving, maybe watch a video, look at the photos … then you’d be more comfortable with your new skill. Now imagine, just before you are about to leave that site with your newfound knowledge, you realize that the author of the tutorial also offers a free guide on how to make different types of underwater woven baskets, maybe ideas on how to make them into gifts, or different shapes.
All you need to do is enter your name and email address and you’ll get access to this sweet free material.
You’ve just gone from an unknown visitor to their website to a known lead. They now have your name and email address and can market to you and maybe sell additional basket-weaving products, materials, education, etc.
You self qualified your interest by:
- Searching for a term the website owner was targeting (In this case, “How to Start Underwater Basket Weaving”)
- You spent time on their website consuming their materials (reading, watching their videos, viewing photos, etc)
- You entered your name and email address and converted from a visitor to a known lead or prospect to access their premium content
You are now more valuable than an anonymous visitor to their website because they know who you are and that you’re interested in their product or service.
Your Business Is An Educational Business
Times have changed. Consumers research and buy products and goods differently than they ever have. Now, they depend on research prior to making the decision to buy. When was the last time you made a purchase without understanding exactly what you were buying?
You likely used a combination of word-of-mouth, referrals, product reviews, photos, descriptions, feedback, comparisons, and expert opinion to form an opinion before deciding which product to buy who which service provider to move forward with.
Your next customer is in this research stage now.
Is your brand positioned to educate them?
What are you doing to establish yourself as an authority in your field?
Can your next customer easily find you and see that you are a credible source of knowledge about whatever you are selling? If not, you are leaving the door open for your competitor to jump in and steal them away from you.
Regardless of your industry, you are now in the education business.
Three Reasons You Need to Start Using Content In Your Business Today
1. Your next customer is actively seeking a solution to their problem
Business can no longer rely exclusively on TOMA (Top of Mind Awareness). Unless you are a branding juggernaut like Coca Cola, Apple, Microsoft, Ford, etc, you cannot expect your next customer to just know that you exist. In fact, your field of prospective customers “out searching” greatly exceeds your existing customer base. If you are just hoping your current customers tell one person about you, you are missing out on a group of prospects 10x the size. Folks who have never heard of you are using the web to find a solution to their problem.
Are you in a position to solve it for them?
2. Today is the first day of the rest of your (business) life
Content marketing is the long game. Sure, you can go spend a ton of money on ads, Pay Per Click, call centers, etc … but as soon as you stop paying, those avenues cease. No more exposure, outreach, possibility, opportunity.
It’s gone. Stopped.
Content is an investment. An investment that has been the most stable part of online advertising since Google came on the scene in 1998. They have repeatedly stated that high quality, consistent content publishing is the most reliable way to establish and maintain your presence in the search results. And the search results are where your customers are finding information before a purchase.
Content will continue to pay you dividends long after you’ve hit the “Publish” button. I still get website traffic from articles I posted 4+ years ago. Why? Because people are still searching for solutions to problems that I addressed that long ago.
What paid ad is still generating leads for your business after 4 years?
Investing in your content today sets your business up for success tomorrow.
3. Content sets you apart from the competition
When your competition is either too busy or too afraid of addressing issues, it opens an opportunity for you to step in and steal their their customers.
Buyers want information before they open their wallets.
This will not change.
Brands who recuse themselves from the content game are only guaranteeing that their next customer will need to work harder to find them.
Your industry does not matter. The content game applies for services, products, goods.
Real estate, appliances, computers, coffee, office supplies, automotive, accounting, legal, technical service (here are 23 Industries That Can Benefit From Content Marketing) can all benefit from investing in their prospective clients.
When your customer is looking for information, you can either be positioned to help them and get the sale, or you can be out of position and allow your competition a shot to close.
What Are You Going to Do About It?
Smart brands are investing in content today.
Are you willing to work today for the success of your business tomorrow?
Each day you do not invest in content marketing is another day your competition can slip in and start stealing your next customer.