When creating content, focusing on the following 6 parts of your brand’s story can help guide your potential customers’ decision process.
Before your sales team has ever even spoken a word to your potential customer, he/she has already made a decision that he/she likes your brand. Great content marketers know that this is not by accident. That customer has been doing extensive research on the various brands within your category, and has interacted with your brand numerous times online to get to this point.
Considered-Purchase Brands exemplify the importance of great content marketing. Consumers are now doing research on traditionally “impulse” purchases; imagine how much they are doing for considered purchases. Now, more than ever, it is critical for CPBs to guide potential customers through their brand story.
Taking control of the conversation is absolutely within your brand’s reach. According to Content Marketing Institute, one of my favorite though leaders on content marketing, hitting the following 6 points of content will help get your customer to the sales floor faster.
1. SEARCH – Make sure that your customers can find you. While SEO and Google ranking are important, don’t limit yourself to these only. Selling homes? Show up in real estate trade searches. The more visible you are in the primary search locations, the more informed the consumer is of your product/offering.
2. SOCIAL MEDIA – Use social networks to your advantage, and make sure that you use them appropriately. Facebook is better suited for community building and creating brand advocates, while Twitter is better suited for thought leadership. Your customers want to be engaged with you, it’s up to you to be there for them.
3. WEBSITES – The idea of your website being static is one that you should have long since forgotten. Once people find your site, they are going to expect it to be a content-rich environment. Not only do they want the basic case studies and history, but also they want to know your story. They want to trust who they’re doing business with, and they want to see you as a forward-thinking company. Dynamic, relevant and branded content is key to a successful website in the Web 2.0 era.
4. BLOGS – First and foremost it is of the utmost importance to have a corporate branded blog where you can provide your customers with valuable, shareable content. But this is not where the importance stops. It is also imperative that you monitor the other blog content that is being created/shared about your brand. Considered-Purchase Brands have a longer sales cycle and are more emotional purchases. The less negatives affecting your brand’s perception as your customer goes through the decision-making process, the better.
5. APPS – Relatively new on the content scene (at least in comparison to the 4 above), Apps provide a great opportunity to engage potential customers without being too “in-your-face” about it. It doesn’t matter whether you develop a utilitarian app, a game or some combination of the two; injecting your brand into another segment of the potential customer’s life is invaluable.
6. USER-GENERATED CONTENT (UGC) – Also known as “earned media,” this is both the most difficult, and most rewarding of the 6 points. Creating passionate advocates that enjoy your brand enough to generate their own content and share with their communities is a result of hard work in the previous 5 areas and is an incredibly effective method of sealing the deal and turning potential customer into lifelong customer.
Remember, this is not a step-by-step guide to content generation and these points are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it is key that you provide a clear path from one step to the next, and back again if necessary. If you can do this effectively, you will create a journey through your brand story that not only guides the customer through the complex sales cycle, but expedites the trip as well.
How many of the 6 points are you focusing on currently? Did I leave off any pertinent steps? Please feel free to submit and we can discuss in this forum.