What is that they want? Whatever will help solve their problems.
Why will they buy from you? Because they trust you.
How do they come to trust you? Because you build trustworthy relationships.
How do you build relationships with them? Through consistent and value based content marketing that connects the consumer with your brand.
Whoa! What is this content marketing thing and how can it build relationships (the Holy Grail in boosting sales)? Well, let me tell you…(actually, let me use a definition created by my friends at Copyblogger.com)
Content Marketing means creating and freely sharing informative content as a means of converting prospects into customers and customers into repeat buyers. Repeated and regular exposure builds a relevant relationship that provides multiple opportunities for conversion, rather than a ‘one-shot’ all-or-nothing sales approach. Content is the bridge that connects you with your consumer.
What’s important is that content marketing is not an ad. It’s not a brochure. It’s not a hard-core interruption-style sales pitch. It’s just not interrupting the consumer with your message (Look at me! Look at me!). That’s the straight up marketing that your marketing department is already doing. Instead, content marketing is delivering desirable information and knowledge in a format the consumer wants (stories, news briefs, factoids, whitepapers, blogs, video, tutorials) that has independent value. Its what he wants, how he wants it, when he wants it. This means multiple platforms and very often “piggybacking” content with complementary businesses in order to increase content value. The content may be real life interaction, online, broadcast/cable or traditional print. The message is carried across the breadth of communication channels.
It’s essentially a barter system that connects you and the consumer. You give consumers valuable insight and information (content) that can help them in some way (solve their problems), and they give you permission to begin to build a relationship with them. Once you have proven you are trust worthy and reliable, you are trusted. And then your reputation builds. You become a go-to source for valuable information or for that little “pick me up” feeling they get when they consume your content. And then…you have customers who will buy, recommend, refer, repeat purchase and spread the word about your company.
Content marketing runs the gamut from subtle to front and centre. Ideally, it should be an artful blend of both, and today’s multitude of delivery methods often means you can build these bridges with consumers at ridiculously low costs and with less resources compared to traditional sales methods.
But, like all relationships, it will end unhappily if you don’t live up to your agreements or you take their goodwill for granted. This means you have to keep working at it and complementing your current marketing approaches with a broader vision (that doesn’t necessarily mean more dollars). There has to be a strategy. This includes a steady flow of well written, timely, thoughtful and engaging content within relevant frameworks and delivered appropriately. This is how content marketing sustains and enhances the relationship. Great content marketing is mutually beneficial and there are rewards on both sides.