Content marketing is an important piece of any business’ marketing strategy. The best way to win over and retain customers is not to inundate them with sales pitches and discount offers; as a population we’re presented with so many of those we’ve learned to tune them out. You win people over by cultivating a relationship that translates into client loyalty.
So how do you cultivate a relationship with your customers? Content marketing is the underlying conversation between transactions—content that adds value to a customer’s experience with you, content that provides them with helpful tips and information related to your business, and most of all, content that keeps you top of mind so they’ll keep coming back for more.
That’s of course not to say you shouldn’t ever share discounts and offers with your customers or remind them that, hey, you are a business and you’d love to do business with them. When you do get around to the direct pitch, content marketing helps the business proposition seem less harsh and impersonal. And as of this year, 77% of B2C marketers use content marketing.
If you’re not employing content marketing as a key strategy, you’re lagging behind the competition.
Here are five important keys to success you’re missing out on if you’re not using content marketing:
1: Generate Interest
The more content you provide in the digital world, the more opportunities you give someone to find you through a channel other than an advertisement. In fact, 70% of consumers prefer to learn about a brand through content rather than ads. When posted directly on your website, usually through a blog, content marketing adds to your website’s indexed pages so that when someone asks Google a question, you’ll show up on the list of businesses that provide an answer.
Let’s say a potential client lands on your website. Do you have a reason for them to stick around and browse? Is there a way for them to learn more about your products and services that doesn’t involve a hard sales pitch?
You can get lots of mileage from a single piece of content, as long as that content is engaging, helpful, relevant, and interesting. Share a how-to article on your blog, repurpose it in a newsletter for clients who may prefer to consume information via email, and drive traffic back to the blog by sharing across social media.
2: Turn That Interest Into a Lead
Do you ever listen to the flight attendants when you’re landing at an airport? Many airlines have started incorporating a thank you message along the lines of: “Thank you for flying with Airline X. We know you have choices, and we thank you for choosing to fly with us today.” The world is filled with choices, so what reason does any potential customer have to choose you over another business? What sets you apart?
81% of consumers research online before making a purchase. Whether you are selling a product or a service, the Internet offers endless possibilities for a consumer to compare their options.
Take content marketing as an opportunity to answer questions and concerns you’ve heard from customers over the years, provide insight, and position yourself as an industry expert. Here’s a helpful how-to blog that delves deeper into content marketing.
3: Turn a Lead Into a Client
A fantastic way to convert a lead into a client is by being a reliable and consistent source of information. On average, business prospects receive 10 marketing touches over the course of a successful buyer’s journey. That means the more you reach out to someone in a strategic and thoughtful manner (aka through content marketing), the more likely you are to seal the deal.
Crafting a plan detailing what you want to write and when you want to post it will help keep you on track and, in a way, train your audience to come back for more information. They’ll know to visit your blog for updates the first week of every month, or they’ll get used to seeing bi-monthly updates in their email inbox.
Email campaigns are powerful because you can go straight to where your lead is (most likely on their smartphone) instead of waiting for them to come to you. Then, when they’re ready to make a transaction, you’ll already be top of mind!
Need help crafting an email marketing strategy? Check out our helpful guide.
4: Turning a Client Into a Repeat Client
That strategic content marketing that kept your lead interested enough to become a client will help keep them coming back for more and eventually enter into another business transaction. A Bain and Company study showed that a 5% increase in customer retention led to a 25-95% increase in profits. Why? Because it’s far cheaper to keep an existing client coming back for more than to convert an entirely new client.
For example, a real estate agent could offer clients information on how to handle common house repairs like a leaky faucet, or how to conserve energy while keeping their house cool in the summer. An auto mechanic might provide information on when it’s time to replace your car’s battery. A life coach might help you with questions on how your New Year’s resolution is going. You get the gist.
To turn someone into a repeat customer, you need to add value to their existing transaction. The more you are able to keep the conversation going year round in a consistent manner, the more likely your clients are to stay tuned and eventually become repeat customers.
5: Getting Your Loyal Client to Refer New Business
According to a 2014 study, small businesses report 52% of their traction in the market comes from friend referrals—leaving advertising in the dust by 19 percentage points. That’s a big number, but not surprising by any means.
Let’s say you’re looking to have some work done on your house, or you’re looking for a new hair stylist; there’s a really big chance you’re going to ask a friend, coworker or family member for a recommendation first. You trust their opinion.
Content marketing—producing and publishing helpful, insightful information—is what helps to build your trust within your client base. When you have the trust of your clients, they are more likely to refer you to friends and family because they are confident in you as a business. If you invest time in generating referrals by promoting trust and loyalty, you’ll see the payoff.
Are your loyal customers spreading the word for you already? You have the chance to spark that conversation. We’ve uncovered the 3 Best Kept Secrets for Getting Referral Business, which include teaching your customers to refer and knowing when to ask them to make referrals on your behalf.
The numbers speak for themselves—content marketing is the new frontier for nurturing potential clients and seeing better ROI from repeat customers. If you’re not investing in content marketing, you’re missing out.
Sure, it’s fun to create pretty banner ads, but have you seen all the noise on the Internet lately? It’s getting harder and harder to stand out in the crowd, and quite frankly, people want content. Through quality content marketing, you’ll become a trusted and reliable source of information and you’ll be top of mind when transaction time comes.