Marketing never was a topic of interest to me. While at university, it was the class I attended the less, I found it too “fluffy” of a topic, not numerical. This was in the early 2000s. With the internet, and the rise of the likes of Google, Facebook, and online businesses, marketing reinvented itself and has become data driven, actionable and easy to measure. Today, I can confidently say I am a self-taught expert in digital marketing and have been practicing it since 2014, with the start-up I co-founded, ChefXChange.
It would be impossible to cover the whole spectrum of digital marketing in one post, nor would I be pretentious enough to say I could, therefore I will cover what I consider is the most important segment, and often the most overlooked because there is no easy win and involves a lot of work: content marketing.
Today, this channel is our most important when it comes to customer acquisition and I will tell you why.
Why Content Marketing should be your most important channel for Customer Acquisition
What is Content Marketing?
First things first, let’s define Content Marketing. . The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as: … 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.
Let’s break this up for you in simple words: content marketing is a long-term strategy with the aim of building a strong relationship with your target audience by providing them with high-quality content that is very relevant, as often as possible. Content marketing is basically a way to show your customers you actually care about them. Which is not really the case of one-off advertising that just shoves a product or service in your face. Ironically, Instagram which was created to be a content platform has now become an advertising platform where so called “Influencers” just get paid to promote products, losing their identity and hindering that relationship they had originally built with their “Followers”.
When you think about it, content is and should be at the heart of everything you do. If it is not found in all your digital marketing verticals, you’re doing something wrong:
- Social media marketing: Content marketing strategy comes before your social media strategy.
- SEO: Search engines reward businesses that publish quality, consistent content.
- PR: Successful PR strategies address issues readers care about, not their business.
- PPC: For PPC to work, you need great content behind it.
- Inbound marketing: Content is key to driving inbound traffic and leads.
As an example, at ChefXChange – Your Online Destination for Culinary Experiences – we have created our blog with the sole purpose of providing free and insightful content to our target audience. You will find recipes, tips on hosting for any type of occasion, birthday and anniversary ideas for your loved ones, and many more. That content is what permits us to be found organically on the internet and building a strong relationship with our target audience.
Content Marketing is about emotions
Today, more than ever before, people want to feel like you care about them. The world is louder and noisier, any kind of information can be found in milliseconds, and attention is our most valuable resource.
Content Marketing is the best way to reach that objective. In our day and age, there is no need for a business to sell the specs and performance of a product or service. Caveat venditor and Caveat emptor means that today your prospective buyer often knows more about your product than your sales people, and they will come to you only if they need help or a last push to buy your product.
Some figures from Marketo below:
- The average buyer guides themselves through 60% to 90% of the traditional sales funnel before ever contacting a brand or salesperson.
- 81% of shoppers research online before setting foot in a store.
- Consumers spend an average of 79 days conducting online research before buying.
While these consumers do their research online, this is where your content marketing comes to play. Let’s say your partners’ birthday is coming up and you are running out of ideas. You would go on google, type something like “birthday ideas for partner” and as a business you would like one of your blog posts “5 best birthday presents for your loved one” to show up in that search. That potential buyer would then get some interesting content that will trigger emotions, and immediately create that loyalty to you leading them to purchase your product or service.
Content Marketing is a marathon not a sprint
We previously defined content marketing as a long term strategy and building relationships. Last I checked these cannot be achieved in a matter of hours or days, but more like months and years.
As mentioned above, consumers spend on average 79 days conducting online research before buying. This means as a business you need to make sure you appear as often as possible on their radar during that research phase, for any type of keywords they would search for and relevant to you. This requires extensive research, understanding what people search for, volumes for these searches to prioritize keywords, periods during which people search. Rest assured a lot of this research can be done easily through tools such as Google Keyword Planner or Keywords Everywhere. You then need to build a content strategy and plan your content on a weekly basis.
By the time your potential customers make a purchase decision, their loyalty already lies with you. They will purchase your product or service and prefer it over competitors’ options.
Benefits of content marketing.
We touched upon two of them earlier and I certainly hope by now you can clearly understand the benefits of content marketing:
- Increased brand awareness leading to higher sales: As prospects and buyers search the web for answers to their questions and solutions for their problems, your brand continues to show up.
- Better customers who have more loyalty: Content marketing helps to further establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry, which strengthens relationships with buyers.
- Cost savings: It is not a short-term strategy, but over time, a library of great content will continue to reach more qualified leads and interested buyers, therefore reducing your paid marketing.
To recap, whether you have a small blog or run a multinational company, content marketing should be at the heart of your marketing strategy and in the long run, will permit you to build that loyalty and relationship with your target audience, bringing your marketing cost down, and increasing your CLTV (customer lifetime value). I always recommend creating that content in-house, especially in the early days, as no one better than yourself identifies and understands your product or service. Additionally, doing things in house will also translate better with your target audience as that content will feel more “natural/home grown”.
I hope you found the above useful and it will serve as a guideline in your fundraising efforts. This article was also published on Entrepreneur on March 21st, 2018. Do not hesitate to comment or reach out to me if you have any specific questions about the topic.
Great points mentioned in your post. Yes agree a powerful and engaging marketing content is the key to profitable products/services.. Instagram has become one of the most powerful marketing tools in todays world where i have noticed from my circle of friends and even myself it is used more often than for example FB. However i am not sure i agree with your comment:” widely used for influencers to get paid to promote products.. i know a lot of the ppl i follow for example, yes they get paid to promote products, but they are also very engaging with their followers at the same time. This is evident from their daily posts ie: to keep their followers interested.. for example post things about their holidays, what restaurant they are eating at? What clothes they are wearing, posting videos of them spending time with family to give a bit of an insight into their daily lives etc.. i guess from the point of view of bloggers, they post regulary do increase their followers and hence therefore recieve more job opportunites. Companies will more likely want to work only with ppl that have a large follower base to increase the awareness.. Instagram has changed the way ppl behave socially and individuals/businesses are forced to spend time posting on instagram as they know its widely used and can have high benefitial impacts for their business.. the reality is Social Media portrays a “perfect world” and ppl will only share what they want to share.. no one will share when they are feeling down or having a hard time, yet they may post their hard times later when they are feeling better again..it gives incorrect messages to the young and vunerable.. FB has changed dramatically over the years. Now if I wanted to share or repost a friends post it will only be visible to limited audience. For a wider audience i would need to pay for some advertising etc as sharing a post is seen as promoting etc.. (maybe going a bit off the topic with my last point.)