Think this is just another of those ‘latest buzz words’ that’s doing the rounds?
Not this one!
Content marketing can be very valuable to your business growth and it’s not actually as spanking new as you might think, although it’s definitely evolved over recent years.
It is quite self explanatory but many micro business owners sub optimise their chances of success with it because they view it as another chance to sell first.
Content marketing should always be about giving value above anything else, because when you do often the sales rapidly follow.
Content Marketing is…
…building trust and adding value to your prospects and customers by sharing free content rich information with them.
Of course the information and content you share is closely related to the products or services you provide, but it’s not the primary focus of the material.
In today’s sceptical world people will often have their sales barriers on high alert ready for action when the next email, text, tweet or anything else comes at them. So the content you provide must be informative, useful and practical to get through their initial doubt.
And the “convincer process” with people becomes a lot easier because you are regularly in touch with them. I often write about and coach micro business owners on it…
Become the solution to your prospect’s pain
With content marketing you are regularly communicating with people and providing them with information, advice, guidance and news. There’s no doubt the fast paced business world seems to gather even more exciting momentum with each day and it can be easy for us all to get lost in the ‘next thing’. But I feel it’s an important reminder for all micro business owners that we’re still in the age of information. Your clients and prospective customers have an insatiable appetite for it– so keep feeding them with incredible value and exceed their expectations with your knowledge. The trust you build through this process has the ability to forge longer term customer retention. The utopia of a micro business owner!
With content marketing always remember this…
Informative but incomplete
In other words provide enough information without giving everything away. Content marketing is the enticer to receive great information from you but must ultimately help to build your business by making sales where possible.
Your plan for content marketing is that it must serve a purpose, which is to build a list of data you can consistently communicate to and potentially make sales from the trust and relationships you build with them.
A few years ago we couldn’t get enough of ‘free reports’, I’ll be the first to admit on the things that I was interested in I was leaving my details and downloading them. But things have changed and now we just don’t have time for reading lengthy reports (I’ll share a great tip in a moment). Plus, people have different preferences to how they consume your information. The method of content marketing you choose is specific to your business, industry and if you sell products or services. Many micro businesses use a number of different ones to provide originality, intrigue and a growing captive audience.
To grow your business using content marketing it must involve data exchange. You must get their permission to keep in contact with them or risk being reported for spam if you contact them more than once.
The main question you must answer for your own business is what will convince people to give you their basic contact details so you can continue content marketing? It must be of high enough perceived value to build trust with them to initiate the exchange such as name and email.
Here are some content marketing ideas you may want to adopt in your business:
1. Written Material
This includes blogs, articles and emails about topical information to your business or audience, newsworthy items, advice, guidance, anecdotal stories (as long as they’re relevant) and much more. Here’s that great tip I mentioned…
If you used to use a report to capture data why not break down the report into a series of emails. That means your initial hard work has not been wasted and content is all ready to go, apart from reformatting. Another bite-sized way to deliver written information is in a ‘mini-course’ format like… ‘How to make more people buy from you, 5-day mini-course’ or ‘7-days to a flatter stomach without dieting’…I’m sure you get the idea.
Blogs are probably the most common online but not fully utilised for maximum results. You may use a blog that everyone can access but have you considered making your blog more exclusive? Remember this…everyone wants to belong! That’s why clubs and associations are so popular because people want to be connected with others and feel more significant. And people will want to join your community or group too, of course it’s free but it gives the desired effect of making them feel more special.
2. Video Marketing
Most people communicate using some form of video. At time of writing this, YouTube is the number 1 video search engine. People can find just about anything they need in short video format. A few years ago a young woman became an overnight sensation with video tutorials on applying make-up, and of course she had now has products to sell!
Video marketing can include short tutorials, testimonials, clients/customers speaking about their experiences, etc.
Again to make sure you are building a list of data to be able to consistently communicate to, concentrate on building subscribers to your Youtube videos. Views are a nice to have, but don’t build your business if you can’t contact them. You could consider hosting the videos on your own website through Vimeo for example. This will allow you greater control with building your list.
3. Audio/Visual Content
Webinars/teleseminars, free audio downloads are all great ways to encourage people to sign up with you. The main importance is the content of this material, again it must be of high perceived value to build the initial trust and longer term relationship.
4. Social Media
Perhaps a little more difficult to exclusively obtain their data but it’s another way to connect with them and build credibility. The more options you have to get in front of your target audience the easier it is to make sales. The merging trend for Facebook is to make it more exclusive and personal with a fan page or closed group. I use Linkedin for corporate and Franchise connections but Twitter for connecting with micro businesses. And now with the rise of instagrams you can impress your followers with even more visual delights!
So you can see using one or a combination of content marketing methods can really help you build a great list of data to continually communicate, add value and yield from in the future.
Today’s Micro Action:
Review your methods of content marketing to ensure it’s fully optimised to capture more of your target market.
What other method/s of content marketing can you implement to build a larger list of loyal followers?