Communication has always been a two-way street, but when it comes to companies and their customers, the direction of traffic has changed. Gone are the days when you had sole responsibility for finding new customers, using advertising, print catalogs, direct mail and cold calls. Customers now have the Internet at their disposal and are actively using it to search for the information and products they want. And when they come looking – whether through social media referrals or through a search engine, you had better have something for them to find or risk losing a potential client to someone else.
In tough economic times and with the world now at customers’ disposal it is more important than ever for you to make it easier not only for clients to find you but to engage them long enough to inform, educate and yes, even entertain them so they become familiar with your product or service
Hence, the new world of content marketing. Defined as “creating and distributing relevant and valuable content […] with the objective of driving profitable customer action, content marketing can build brand awareness, customer loyalty, generate viable leads and build credibility” (1). If done well, it creates a positive connection with the potential customer, making him more likely to buy your product. Not everyone has the resources to create such a program, but experienced custom media services like Meister Interactive can be a big help. Contact us or ask your Meister Media Worldwide representative for an estimate.
Content marketing has become a top priority for professional marketers. How can you make it work for you?
- Explore which tactic(s) work for your business and budget. Content marketing can take many forms. Articles in print or online, eNewsletters, social media, case studies, in-person events, videos, white papers, microsites and webinars are just a few of the ways to reach customers. People absorb and search for information in different ways; providing content across multiple platforms makes it more likely your target audience will find you. But, be smart about it. Try to figure out what methods will appeal to the majority of your audience.
- Create content AND promote it: It doesn’t make sense to put a lot of effort into content that few people will see. For instance if you post a new article and video on your website, send an email to your existing customers or potential leads telling them how it is relevant to them. Post a link on Facebook or an industry forum and get a conversation going about the topic.
- Have a Strategy: Assign one person on your staff to develop content working with your sales team and other experts to determine what would be of interest to potential customers. Take a close look at your buying cycle to determine the timing and topics. Along with topics relevant to your product, consider product launches, industry events, trends and seasonal changes and develop an editorial calendar to map out what and when.
- Measure Success: You can go a little crazy (and probably will) if you try to follow every statistic that can be tracked. Concentrate on just a few key areas:
- Keywords – what words are people using to find your content? Keep using them!
- Most views – what topics and pages are people looking at the most? Find ways to continue to explore that topic or present it in a different platform.
- Traffic sources – what is driving visitors to your content? Facebook? Google? Your microsite? Increase focus on those areas.
- Year-to-year or month-over-month comparisons – this is how you know if your content marketing campaign is successful over time.
It may seem complicated, but if you start small, target key areas and provide quality information on a consistent basis, you will be well on your way to beginning a new type of relationship with your customers.
Meister Interactive specializes in the development of content marketing plans. We have deep knowledge of the specialty agriculture industries and can help you strategize what is best for your needs. Contact us or ask your Meister Media Worldwide representative for an estimate.