A Step By Step Guide To Content Marketing
The word content marketing may sound imposing and technical to those who are not dealing with marketing or running a business. It is, however, a part of everyone’s life.
Content marketing is all around us. It is the art of story-telling, which is as old as human civilisation itself. The prehistoric carvings on cave walls, in a way, also qualify as content marketing.
What is content marketing?
In simple words, content marketing uses words, pictures, and other tools to tell your customers about your products or services and convince them to buy them.
With the advancement in technology, the style has evolved over the years.
However, the primary purpose of content – directing customers to a product or service- has remained the same.
The massive hoardings alongside expressways are examples of content marketing. Pamphlets, flyers, posters, banners, print ads, television commercials also constitute content marketing. With the advent of the internet in the early 80s and the introduction of computers and gadgets like smartphones and tablets, the packaging and delivery of content have now undergone a sea change.
Why is content marketing important?
Content marketing is not just important, it is indispensable! Customers are more demanding than ever today. Based on their experience, they can also be skeptical and have apprehensions. These are valid, and you need to address them.
If there is one tool that can help you keep up with the pace of the ever-growing and changing demands and provide solutions while also easing their fears, it is content marketing. This has been the rule for years now.
Types of content marketing
Content marketing can be both tangible and intangible or digital and material. The tangible form of content marketing is one we can see all around us. They comprise booklets, pamphlets, flyers, banners, ads in newspapers. They have printed words and pictures giving you information on a company, the products or services they provide.
The digital medium was initially limited to ads on television before the internet was introduced. The radio is another popular medium for those who could not afford television sets and wanted information on the go. Contrary to what many think, radio still has immense popularity and continues to be a powerful medium.
The introduction of the internet made content marketing more dynamic and opened up various facets. With easy access to information on our gadgets, the consumer has more time than ever to get information. He can also do so at his own pace and time.
How content marketing works
There is a clear line between hardcore selling and content marketing. In hardcore selling, your product takes center stage. In content marketing, your customers’ queries and issues take precedence over your product or service. In both cases, the goal is the same – to make sales.
There are three key functions of content marketing.
- Address customer issues: Find out the complaints they have of different products and the causes of those issues/pain points.
- Evoke their interest: Tell them something they perhaps do not know or overlooked. Offer scientific information, data, and in-depth research.
- Provide them solutions: Answer their questions without trying to be preachy. Don’t beat around the bush but be concise or your customer won’t return to your website.
Understanding the content marketing sales funnel
Any deliberation on content marketing would be incomplete without the marketing sales funnel.
The three main parts of content marketing are:
- Awareness: What is the product or brand about?
- Consideration: How will it help them, and why should they buy it?
- Decision: Engaging with your brand/company on a more personal level by directly contacting them.
Seventy-five percent of people are looking for information rather than trying to product or service. Your company website should contain all the necessary information in a smart outlay. This information can be provided in e-books, blogs, YouTube videos, podcasts interviews, audio files, etc.
Once you have succeeded in sustaining their attention, 23 percent of visitors to your website will start comparing with other products. In this stage, there are social media interactions, testimonials, watching demo videos, joining webinars, going through FAQs, and finding out more about the company.
This is the stage where your customer gets your number and e-mail from the ‘Contact us’ section of the website or adds an order to the cart.
Content marketing is here to stay! It will grow bigger and is indispensable if you are looking to ramp your business. It is quite simple knowing what content marketing is, and understanding it requires application and experience.