If you’re familiar with ecommerce empire Amazon, you may have seen the video about their ‘new kind of store’: Amazon Go.
No lines. No checkouts. Just grab and go.
With no interaction from a human staffer. (Presuming you don’t try and rob the place blind and the security guard has to step in.)
By 2020, 85 percent of customer interactions will be carried out without any human contact at all.
We are moving into a time where automation and self-service is the norm.
Sure, automation has been a huge talking point in marketing for years so it’s no surprise that it’s finally around the corner. Already 81 percent of shoppers research online before making a big purchase. That’s huge!
But how do you ensure that your business is front of mind when customers are looking online? The answer is with content marketing. (And we’re not just saying that because we’re a content marketing agency.)
Content marketing has long been called the future of marketing, with many businesses turning to blogs, inbound marketing, and social media for marketing success. Hell, 81 percent of shoppers conduct online research before making big purchases – so it’s not like we need to make the case for content marketing.
If you have a business, it makes sense.
29 percent of customers want to see an increase in blog content, which tells us that your customers are asking for more content and information from you. So it’s simple: give the people what they want.
Your customers can be a fickle bunch but it’s clear that they want reliable content and to be able to research without having to (God forbid) talk to a real person.
Still not sure about content for your digital marketing strategy? We’ve compared it to some traditional marketing models below so you can see why it’s so sticky.
1. CONTENT BUILDS VISIBILITY OVER TIME
Traditionally, most advertising campaigns were run for a certain period of time with a start date and an expiry date – a bit like a tub of yogurt, really. With content marketing, your ‘campaign’ is evergreen.
Your content will continually target and create new leads for you, and it will also improve your ranking in search results over time by increasing engagement and links to your site – all of which makes the internet spiders happy. (And your boss too. ;))
You should aim to create content specifically designed to last forever.
But what counts as ‘forever’ content? That’s content that will be relevant and interesting to your current customers, your potential customers, and your future potential customers.
For example: solid, valuable information relevant to their needs about your products and services. If you're marketing an estate agent, you could do an expert series of tips about selling a blog or an ebook on downsizing.
By producing content, you can reduce costs drastically – and the content you produce will always be an online resource for customers.
2. CONTENT PERFORMANCE GIVES US REGULAR PERSONA INSIGHTS
Traditional marketers have certain metrics for measuring the success of their campaigns, but online content is so much more trackable. Analysing the successful elements of a campaign has never been as clear as it is with online content.
With Analytics, there is an attribution model in content marketing that makes segmentation even easier.
By using content in your digital marketing strategy, you can learn who is interacting with your content; the platform they are engaging on; and even the time of day that works best, among many other juicy tidbits that are incredibly useful to your marketing efforts.
From this, we can assess the part of the buyer's journey they are on. You can even develop your niche personas with the content your visitors are engaging with – which helps with planning for future lead generating strategies.
3. MARKETING TO AN AUDIENCE OF ONE
So how do you ensure that the leads you are getting are qualified? When we look at all the content that is generated every day, it’s easy to feel that adding to it is about as effective as shouting into an abyss. Which is why creating specific niche content for your personas is key.
Remember your customers are actively seeking information – but they are faced with thousands of pieces of information every day. They won't appreciate wasting time reading ads and content that isn’t relevant to them.
Customers trust information that they feel is unbiased. Your customers want relevant, quality information that's relevant to them – so create it.
4. CONTENT MARKETING ANSWERS IMPORTANT QUESTIONS AND SOLVES PROBLEMS
So now that you have your hyper-targeted buyer personas, you can start creating content for them. Yes, content for them: that ‘one’ person in the audience of one. Stellar person.
Customers respond much better to informative and relevant pieces of content that solves a problem they have. Discover customer pain points and help them to find a solution.
While keeping your topics on brand, you should also avoid using content to sell customers your product at every opportunity. Content marketing is a subtler sell!
You want to engage with your leads, encourage them and help them with any (relevant) issues they may have.
With inbound marketing there are three stages to the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration, and decision. If you focus on push marketing, you miss your leads during the first two stages of the journey – so you may be too late to influence them to your side.
And that’s why content marketing is so valuable.
5. IT NEGOTIATES, IT DOESN'T PERSUADE (I.E. THE VALUE EXCHANGE)
Nobody likes being forced into giving over information when they don’t know or trust you. Think of it a bit like being chatted up in a nightclub: if they lunge right in, you’ll probably say no.
But if they offer good conversation over a couple of drinks, you may be persuaded to hand over your digits.
Creating a solid bank of informative content means your business can generate leads. Think of push vs. pull: instead of trying to push customers into giving their information, you can now entice them into giving it freely in exchange for information/an asset/whatever.
By offering downloadable information such as an ebook or infographic, you can ask customers for their email in return.
Only customers who trust your brand and knowledge will be willing to hand over their information – so be sure you entice them with good content first.
Customers know that this is a fair exchange and if they trust your knowledge and information, they will give over some of their information in return. This will also help to filter out leads who are idly having a nose.
Content is the gentle persuasion that bridges the gap to success. If you think about it, it’s a win-win really.