The first half of 2020 has brought into sharp focus how important it is for businesses to provide helpful information and meaningful value to their customers. Marketers are reconsidering their roles and responsibilities within a greater context of public health concern, economic uncertainty, and sweeping social change.
Now is not a time to be promotional or opportunistic. It’s a time when marketers should listen actively to discover what their audience is looking for, what challenges they face, and how they can help.
Providing your audience with helpful information that answers their questions and solves their pressing problems builds trust. Once you establish trust, your targets are more likely to think of you when they need a product or service that you sell.
Effective content marketing is all about providing consistent value to your target audience, with engaging and relevant content that is tailored to their unique needs. Delivered correctly and consistently, it sets the stage for long-term success and compounding returns on investment.
Content marketing refers to a particular method of marketing that involves the creation and distribution of online materials that do not explicitly promote a brand, product or service. The right content marketing strategy allows you to connect with target customers and to stimulate interest in your products or services over time.
Some companies fail to develop a comprehensive content marketing strategy out of fear that the ROI will not pay off quickly enough. This general lack of strategic foresight causes many a well-meaning firm to spin their wheels, chasing after short-term payouts rather than realizing the demonstrated, long-term benefits of engaging, non-promotional content.
For example, spend $500 on search ads at a $10 cost-per-click (CPC) today, and you’ll get 50 clicks today. The rub is that you’re going to have to spend that same $500 tomorrow to get those same 50 clicks.
On the other hand, consider the value of spending $500 on a helpful and relevant blog post that is optimized for search, which receives 500 clicks today via email and social distribution, as well as continuous traffic and leads for months, and even years to come.
It is only possible to achieve the benefits of compounding returns when you consistently deliver content that your targets actually need.
There are many different formats you can leverage for your content marketing strategy, from blog posts and case studies to white papers and explainer videos. To determine the best options for your strategy, think in terms of customer needs and how you can uniquely meet them.
According to a report by McKinsey & Company, consistency is a primary driver for customer satisfaction across their entire journey with your business. Before you can reap the rewards of your content strategy, you’ll need to define and then refine your approach in light of your target’s needs.
First, define your marketing objectives and goals and establish a rock-solid understanding of your current status. What current assets and resources do you have that you can leverage to highlight and amplify your core competencies and expertise today? In which areas might you be lacking the kind of content that you know your audience is looking for?
Next, research and define your target audience and their consumption behaviors at each touch point of the customer journey. Measure their demand for your products or services, identify primary distribution platforms, allocate budget resources, and establish key performance metrics to measure success.
As you develop a library of consistently relevant content for your targets, you will begin to reap the cumulative benefits that result from establishing thought leadership and authority within your given area of expertise. People will begin to seek you out as a reliable source that has been helpful to them in the past.
Transparency, authenticity and consistency are all keys to building trust — the foundation for any successful content strategy.
In today’s age, consumers have come to expect greater personalization and consistently high-quality experiences from the brands they support.
The bottom line is that, if you create and deliver value without asking for anything in return, your target customers will be more likely to trust your advice, recommendations, and ultimately, your promotional offerings when it comes time to sell.
Once you identify your targets and build trust by capturing their attention with one helpful, positive experience, you compel them to come back for more when they need the expertise you can provide in the future.
Leveraging smart content over time establishes credibility and thought leadership, as you demonstrate your unique expertise and commitment to providing helpful resources and information on a regular basis.
Deliver consistently valuable content to your targets and they will reward you with loyalty and trust. Within this framework, casual customers can be converted into brand advocates and evangelists.
In this way, compounding ROI can be viewed as more than simply an increase in the return on the monetary investment you make. You are also investing in the long-term loyalty of target customers, which translates over time into more qualified leads and improved conversion rates.
If you’re exclusively focused on short-term ROI, you may be ignoring the fact that a thoughtfully crafted content strategy can be a lead-generating machine. Your carefully identified target audience will have already developed interest in the kind of content you are providing. By the time you tactfully lead them to a promotion, you will have already done the heavy lifting of engendering trust and facilitating easy communication.
Also, content marketing allows you to tastefully utilize CTAs throughout otherwise non-promotional content, guiding interested viewers toward taking action, and improving conversions as they readily find the information you have provided.
You can expect improved conversion rates from a consistent content strategy because customers are more likely to take action with a brand they’re already familiar with, and even more so if they’ve grown to trust the brand.
The consistently high-quality content you provide serves as the basis to connect authentically with your audience, and directly helps your targets by providing them with the information they need when they look to make an educated purchasing decision.
Another way that content marketing offers compounding ROI is by increasing your search findability within the areas that you want to be found.
The pillar-cluster model is a content marketing/SEO strategy that involves clustering relevant information based on topic, rather than keywords. It’s a way to provide entire repositories of relevant information within specific topics for an audience that you already have determined is actively interested in this particular kind of content.
Helpful, topic-specific content drives interested viewers, leading to increased retention, more qualified leads, and ultimately, more conversions.
Content marketing represents an effective, inexpensive, and sustainable approach for marketers in any industry.
According to a 2019 survey by SEMrush, 86% of companies produce blog content compared to other formats. This is because it has been proven to pay off with compounding returns over time for marketers who are willing to stay the course.
Regardless of whether you’re interested in content marketing to achieve higher conversion rates, more qualified leads, or even just a more open and transparent channel of communication with your targets, there’s no drawback, and only benefits to be realized from setting your content marketing strategy in place, starting today.
Learn more about how KPI Target is helping businesses both large and small leverage content marketing for greater customization, personalization, and compounding ROI.