How Does Content Marketing Relate to Your Customers?
We’ve been talking a lot recently about how to connect with your customers online using content marketing. But what if you’re still not convinced? Maybe you’re thinking “why does this matter to me and my customers?”
We can’t blame you for that. With the amount of digital ‘noise’ consumers face everyday, you can be forgiven for thinking that it’s impossible to cut through the chatter and really be heard. But that’s exactly why content marketing matters.
Content marketing can help you be heard
How many emails do you get in an average day? Dozens? And how many do you really remember at the end of the day? Perhaps a couple. We’re so used to our inboxes filling up with spam, with offers and discounts and ‘we thought you might be interested in…’ , much of the time we just delete them and don’t give it a second’s thought.
More traditional marketing isn’t faring any better. On-demand and catch-up TV means we now just skip through adverts, or ignore them altogether, and our familiarity with online information means we don’t even pay attention to banners or buttons. We may now see up to 5,000 adverts a day, versus a mere 500 only forty years ago, but very little of it is actually engaging us.
Content marketing takes a different approach. Its aim is to engage audiences by giving them content that they actually want – something useful, interesting and – if you’re really getting it right – potentially shareable. We’ve spoken in the past about how important this is in your marketing strategy from the get-go.
Good content marketing means you aren’t just bombarding your customers with something they’ll ignore or delete – with your sales messages, let’s say. You’re not just presenting them with an opportunity to spend money. You’re giving them useful information that they might not otherwise expect from you. Brew Dog’s Pancake Day recipes are a topical example – who would expect a brewery to help you make tasty pancakes?
Content marketing makes you useful
Let’s say you operate a dry cleaning service. Dry cleaning isn’t very sexy, and it doesn’t tend to be something your customers look forward to doing in the way that they might look for a restaurant or travel company. So you make yourself useful. You create a YouTube channel with handy stain-busting tutorials; ‘How to get mud out of school uniforms’, ‘How to get rid of red wine stains’, ‘Magic tricks with baking soda’.
Your customers probably won’t find these videos by searching for your business specifically, and they probably wouldn’t expect a dry cleaning company to give people cleaning tips they should be paying you for! But by providing useful, interesting and shareable content, you’ve cut through the noise, avoided the spam emails, and boosted your reputation. As a result, your customers will trust you, and be more likely to use you for the bigger stains!
Check out Anthropologie’s flower-arranging tips for an example of how to do this well; a fashion and homewares brand, Anthropologie take something you wouldn’t necessarily associate with them – making a lovely bouquet – and give some useful tips, complete with engaging visuals. Not only does this provide useful advice to their customers, but it has the added bonus of making them think about how they can beautify their home (clue: the answer might be to buy Anthropologie products!).
Selling without the hard sell
Put simply, content marketing is a way of getting through to your customers without using sales-speak. You’re not interrupting their day with meaningless chatter that just tries to push your products or services without any context; instead, you’re helping them to get on with their day.
If you can provide them with the kind of content they are interested in, they will reward you with their business. But always remember: it has to be useful, genuinely interesting (to them, not just you) and relevant. Find out what your audiences problems are, what questions are they searching for answers to and what’s really bothering them. Do an empathy mapping exercise and put this at the heart of your content marketing strategy. Before you know it you’ll be engaging and winning over customers.
Not sure where to start? We can help!