Content, content, content. If you’ve done much reading in the digital marketing space, I’m sure you’ll have seen content mentioned over and over again. Even to the point of saying that content is king. Today, I want to tell you that this is true, but not entirely for the reasons you might have heard. Content is like a good barbecue. We all love one, but not all for the obvious reasons. For some, it’s all about the meal. Others love to be the chef (or try to be anyway). Some people are all about the location, beach barbie anyone? Then there’s the social aspect, having fun with friends and family. There are myriad reasons besides the food to enjoy a good barbecue, and in the same way, there are many reasons that content can be used to build your business. At the end of the day though, a barbecue isn’t a barbecue without the meal, and likewise, your marketing efforts won’t be as effective without content. So here are 5 reasons why you need content.
1. Search Engine Optimisation
Content is valuable because it tells search engines more about your business and what you do. It gives them more opportunity to present your website in search results for different keywords, meaning that more people can find you. Importantly, it also helps to provide your website context. Search engines need context to deliver the most relevant traffic, and when dealing with topics that can have multiple meanings, this is even more important. Think Mars, a planet, a chocolate bar, a food manufacturer, a movie, and likely other things too. SEO is the most common reason you will hear for producing content for your website but is only one part of the digital marketing spectrum.
2. Content Can Sell
Content sells. It’s as simple as that. Think about your purchasing habits, do you just visit a website, read the product specs, compare prices and make a purchase? Probably not, especially if it’s a more expensive item or a first time purchase. Most buyers will do their research first, often reading reviews, comparing with competing products, and even researching the credibility of your business.
There doesn’t need to be a division between this research and a sale though. Your content can be your promotion which can in turn help to drive sales. Think about product placement in movies and TV shows. That is the same as tying your products or services into your content. It could be a detailed test and review that you’ve conducted on a product combined with an easy way for the customers to purchase it. It could be a thorough explanation of how your service can resolve a specific customer’s pain point (read more about creating your customer profiles here) along with an easy way to get a quote or make a booking.
Moving customers from content to your offer is possible. Just don’t make it a sales pitch or potential customers will be turned off. They need to get the value that they are looking for from it, even if that’s an unbiased review from you stating that your product sucks for this, that and something else. Customers appreciate you telling them they should go with a competing product if it is better than yours for their needs. Be clear though on what specific uses or in what situations your product is far superior to the competition. Honesty breeds credibility which encourages potential customers to buy from you.
3. Growing and maintaining a quality email list or social following that is opening and clicking your emails and links.
Content is something you can send to keep your open and click rates high. If you are just bombarding subscribers and followers with sales pitches over and over, you are going to turn customers off and you may lose them. People have joined your email list and social channels to receive value from you. Discounts and promotions are great, but there is no better way to give your readers value then creating content that moves them. It can be inspirational, entertaining, or full of know-how, so long as it provides the value that your subscribers need and ties in with what they are expecting to receive from you.
It’s ok to send other communications as well, but be sure to share content with your email list and social channels regularly. Aim for at least once per week to keep them healthy and responsive. It’s not the end of the world if you miss a week, but you want to ensure you are providing value regularly. It’s important to note too that it doesn’t all have to be written. You can mix it up with videos, infographics, and anything else that your customers will find useful.
4. Content is key to retargeting
Retargeting your potential customers has such enormous potential! Retargeting is when a cookie is saved to someone’s computer after they visit a website. These cookies allow advertising vendors to show ads based on the sites someone has visited. You have probably encountered this yourself, where ads follow you around the internet, particularly on platforms like Google Adwords and Facebook advertising. It frequently happens that people come to your site and then leave again without giving you any details or information you can use. With retargeting, you can begin to advertise to them later in other locations. You’ll recapture the interest of a percentage of those people, bringing them back to your site to take the offer you are presenting.
The combination of content and retargeting happens because most of the time people are visiting your site for your content, not necessarily for your products or services. Content is what we share all over the internet. So it generates a lot of traffic but often not a lot of conversions (though this improves with high-quality content that effectively ties our offer into it). The concept of retargeting allows you to segment visitors and laser focus in on people who have visited your website for particular content.
By targeting these people who are most likely to take up your offer and convert into customers, you create a robust method of marketing. All of the major digital advertising platforms allow you to automate a lot of this process, giving you room to scale efficiently.
5. Business reporting
If you are looking for things that can show results in your business, then the four items discussed above can be directly tracked and monitored. You can directly generate reportable results and build on this to grow your business further. Analytics enable to see precisely how much traffic a piece of content is getting, how many clicks it has and where they are going, even how much of it is being read. You can report on sales generated from content. You can see email open rates and link click rates and follow readers through to what they do after clicking the links in your email. You can see precisely how many sales your content is creating. Then, of course, you can see stacks of data on your retargeting efforts from sales data to other customer interests. In the end, all this data and reporting you can do helps you to identify what your customers want and how you can provide it to them. That means more sales through the door, all because of content.
Content can take a lot of time to produce, but it doesn’t have to. Think what content you can create without too much effort that is going to provide a lot of value to your potential customers. It could be transforming a corporate white paper you already use into bite-size chunks of useful information. Or if you are a retailer and you test the products you stock, think about the questions you are anticipating from customers. Film yourself testing the product and answer some questions at the same time. You could even consider doing it on Facebook Live if you have a bit of a following and get some live questions from your potential customers. Just remember, don’t sell too hard and always tie your content back to your product or service in some way.