In a world where more and more shopping is done online, where people heavily rely on reviews of other consumers and where business people rarely see the majority of their customers face to face, a content marketing strategy is essential to attract and maintain an audience and, ultimately, turn that audience into paying clientele.
The pioneer of successful content marketing strategies dates back to 1895 when John Deere launched its magazine “The Furrow”. Rather than directly selling their equipment, the company set out to help farmers become more efficient and prosperous by educating them about the latest technologies and additional income opportunities. Not only is the magazine still published more than 125 years later and reaching about 2 million people worldwide, it also significantly helped shape John Deere into the internationally recognised brand it is today.
Others have followed a similar approach and remain such as influential. In 1900, the relatively new French tyre company Michelin started producing “The Michelin Guide”. Trying to increase the demand for cars and in turn for tyres, they published a guide for motorists to the British Isles including information on accommodation, restaurants, petrol stations as well as basics such as how to change a tyre. During the last century, the guidebooks now focus solely on restaurants and have made Michelin famous. The loss or gain of a Michelin star can have a dramatic impact on the success of an establishment.
Around the same time, in 1904, Jell-O started handing out copies of its own recipe book, showcasing a range of recipes that all had Jell-O as the main ingredient. The recipes can still be found today in digital form, and Jell-O claims that giving out cookbooks to the masses resulted in more than $1 million of sales within 2 years.
Data equals success
More than 86% of all B2C marketers recognize content marketing as indispensable, however, only a quarter would rate their content marketing approach as extremely or very successful, meaning it actually lead to conversions. The right strategy can be a successful tool to maximise a company’s revenue. Used appropriately, it gives businesses an opportunity to engage with potential customers and clients and establish themselves as experts in their field. Therefore, the more focused the approach, the better the results.
Using a data-driven content marketing strategy will save time and money, making it more efficient by producing the right content for the right audience and distributing it at the right time. Looking at data helps your business understand why visitors turn into customers, and it gives you the tools to provide your audience with a more personalized experience as well as using your budget more effectively.
The following strategies will help you take your content marketing to the next level.
Know your audience
John Deere and Michelin knew exactly who they were producing content for and with what purpose. Knowing and understanding your target audience is essential if you want to cater to their specific needs. The more information you have, the more likely you can provide them with useful information and build a trusting, long-lasting relationship.
Ask yourself where your traffic is coming from, how people are engaging with the content you already have and what kind of content most likely leads to traffic conversions. Customer data including preferences, goals, challenges and shopping behaviour can be captured at basically every stage during the purchasing process through tools such as content analytics and marketing automation. This data will give you an insight into buying habits and cycles as well as preferred communication channels and types of content.
Though conversion is the ultimate goal of most content marketing strategies, success can also be measured in different ways. You may want to create content that generates more traffic in general, content that is educating your audience on an important topic related to your industry or your products and services, or you may simply want to entertain in order to engage with your audience. For each piece of content, define its main purpose.
Gathering and analysing data about your website, existing online content relating to your industry as well as popular keywords and your competition will further help you understand what is working well and what is not, and it will provide you with reasons so you can start working towards improvement. It will also help you get ideas on creating new content with the highest chances of success.
Choose a channel and format
Using data you have gathered, you can now start producing content that is targeted to your desired audience. Choose the format that is most popular among users, whether it is a blog, an infographic, a podcast or an email, and decide which channel you want to distribute it through. You can also update existing content based on the latest trends or statistics.
Choose the time
Depending on which channel and format you have decided on, publish your content based on your users’ online patterns. Recent surveys have shown that each social media platform has different peak times of engagement, which may vary from industry to industry as well as your target audience, the type of content or your general marketing goals.
Measure your performance
To find out whether your current content marketing strategy is working effectively, you need to check your performance. Continue to gather data about your audience and look out for changes in behaviour patterns, time spent engaging with your content, the number of visitors to your website or blog and the bounce rate. If the engagement with your content drops, you may have to revise your strategy and go back to the drawing board.
If you would like to know more about content marketing and whether you are using the right approach to boost your business revenue, contact the experienced team at Energise Web today.