Content marketing supports every part of the marketing mix and it will be key driver of demand generation in 2014.
“Content” can do much more than build brand awareness though; it attracts interest, builds trust and ultimately, creates new customers.
I recently read a book called “Predatory Thinking” by Dave Trott. If you haven’t read that book already, I recommend it as a “must read”. In the book, Dave tells the story of a plumber who visits to make a boiler repair. As it is, the boiler simply needs a few taps with a hammer to get it running again. When the plumber’s asked to present his bill, he declines to charge, asking instead that when the boiler does need replacing, he will be considered to do the pricier replacement job.
As Dave points out, the plumber has acquired himself that most valuable of assets; trust.
He knows that because of that trust he’ll be hired to do the higher revenue replacement work. When we’re planning our content marketing campaigns, we need to think like that plumber.
Our agency has grown rapidly in less than 4 years, creating new customers who at some point become aware of us thanks to the information we give away on our blog, or at conferences. We’ve won trust with our readers, driving new visitors from organic search and social media, growing our brand awareness, creating repeat visits to the site, sales enquiries and bringing opportunities like speaking invitations.
The Competition to Win Attention
In a study conducted by LinkedIn, 58% of marketers are set to increase their content marketing budgets in 2014 as savvy consumers, in turn, increase their demands for better content. In an attempt to provide the best experiences for their consumers, like Red Bull, have innovated with rich content experiences to support brand growth. Given next year’s estimated budget growth and therefore growth in competition, companies of all different sizes, must learn compete on the same playing field.
Build Trust in Your Brand with Content Marketing
To build trust and credibility, you’ve got to forget pushing products in the face of potential customers, thinking first how to create a genuinely useful content experience. 2014 is the year to make your customer’s live easier and help inform them on how to make the right decisions when it comes to buying.
Develop and Strengthen Relationships
As valuable as the content may seem (especially when you’re giving it away for free), this information is what will keep a customer nurtured until they’re ready to purchase rather than move on the next piece of content. The real trick to making this work is understanding the needs of a customer around the time they’re considering a purchase.
Take our client, Swissotel. A luxury hotel brand, Swissotel wanted to attract the interest of the very people most likely to book in one of their hotels. Business travellers. One issue with regular travellers is etiquette. Knowing how much to tip, how greetings might work in different cultures or any other challenge faced by visitor to a new country. To help solve this problem, Swissotel produced a guide to international etiquette.
The item was a huge success, winning thousands of likes, tweets and links for SEO. But perhaps most importantly, the piece assisted many bookings and drove positive net revenue.
Strategy & Relevance is Critical in Content Marketing
If you don’t focus on the audience and the message then there’s little point to your efforts. Content drives sales but only when done well and with a relevant supporting story in place.
We’re all enjoying a spurt of growth in demand for content development and marketing in 2014. With 70% of marketers saying that content marketing has increased their brand awareness; 59% believe it supports sales growth; and 45% saying it has reduced their advertising costs (Source: iMedia Connection), taking the leap to a really targeted content campaign should be on the top of every marketer’s to-do list.