Content Marketing is one of the largest marketing segments on the internet today. B2B is especially large in the content marketing space with 94% of business to business marketers saying they utilize content marketing in their approach. Why then are their so many people that are not content marketing and what is it causing them not to do something that seems so fruitful for those that use it.
Content Marketing is Time Intensive
Small Businesses seem to face the struggle and not have great answers for it. Normally small business owners are challenged with time due to the lack of streamlined systematic processes and that is the same in their content marketing efforts.
Data and Chart from: Search Engine Journal
While small businesses seem to have inabilities and lack of buy in for content marketing, the ones that do pick it up seem to flourish.
Yale Appliance Content Strategy
Yale Appliance in Boston picked up on a content strategy that sent their website views and customer engagement through the roof. First Steve began “blogging” in 2007 but in 2011 began to understand more about his customers life or buying cycle. He began to focus on creating post that capture a prospect when they are in the decision making stage of the buying sales cycle. They started to provide critical reviews and side by side comparisons of competing brands. This information attracted the potential lookers and gained trust from them. This made it highly more likely that the purchase would be made at “Yale.”
Basically the blog post were designed to answer questions that customers asked their sales staff daily. Questions like:
- What is the best
- How does this compare to
- What Problems to avoid
- How do I maintain or service this
As a result, these blog post move the customers from shopping and asking to calling and buying. The results are in and they are great. His potential customers move through the buying sales funnel online and then actually call or visit ready to purchase.
A few of the other strategies combined with the above that have helped his content marketing really take off are:
- Free Guides
- Recipes – Chef Demonstration and then the Recipes are Online
- Videos – 140 located on his Youtube Channel which show off employees as specialist which helps push his companies expert profile on each appliance.
These approaches have shown off the expert position while embracing the customers themselves.
“We send lead nurturing (non-sales) emails to consumers who download our free guides. The unsubscribe rate is less than a 1 percent and the click through averages 30 percent, so they must like them!” Sheinkopf says of Yale’s free guide and email success.
Traffic has skyrocketed from 40k visitors monthly to 150k monthly. Leads went from 800 to 4300 monthly. Revenue has spiked over 40 percent since 2009. Profitability is up way more than that because they were able to eliminate a lot of marketing expenses. Their consumers feel more confident in their purchases and the brands that Yale sales on a daily basis due to this sequence.
Here are some examples of their best posts:
When you look through the success of these campaigns you have to understand the time passing between 2009 to 2015. You have to also look at the amount of promotion needed in order to gain valuable links that push the articles to the top locally. Once that process is followed effectively then the snowball starts and is perpetual in growth. You just have to keep feeding the machine the content it needs.
Old World Inn – Content Marketing Through TripAdvisor
The reviews and content marketing that this wonderful inn is doing has worked out tremendously for their rating and bookings. They focused on genuinely helpful information about their inn but more importantly they focused on planners visiting Trip Advisor and directing them to answers to questions such as the best time of year to visit the area and weather forecast.
The creation of the “Best Kept Secrets” of Napa help travelers dig into the surroundings better than a generic travel guide. Creating the perception of “The Expert” and that they have inside knowledge on Napa have streamlined their bookings. They also take time to provide helpful guidance when booking events and activities for groups while they are staying at the inn.
Credibility within the travel industry is the final result from the content marketing the inn has produced. When the content started they just wanted to serve their target customers better. Now they are considered the go to for Napa information and booking events. Their website looks amazing and is filled with this great content as well. Customer bookings and 2nd stays are up across the board since the brand started their content campaign.
The Possibilities Are Endless When Content is Done Right
Now that you see the possibilities of outcomes and ideas for your business to start content marketing, let’s look at what it takes and how to achieve it. Looking over the previous examples we dive a bit deeper into how their content was produced and exactly what the steps are to creating these lasting campaigns.
Content Marketing Playbook – The Go To Steps For Content
- Education and Buying Cycles
Start with your customer in mind. Answer the questions that they would want to know. Look at forums and think about what they ask you while they are on phone calls with you and your sales team. The real essence of content marketing is just education. You take a customer from interested maybe to results focused and ready to buy. You clear the doubts and conversations they have with themselves about the doubts and possibilities of failures that come up with any purchase. You clear the path with the content you create for the customer to engage with your brand. You position yourself as the expert that can help them. You position your impeccable service as a must and how it is really your brand that makes buying this item make sense and not just the item itself.
That is the true power in content marketing. The positioning that you can create when forming content and content paths. You focus on the life cycle of your customer and make sure that the right content hits them at the right time. You want to take the shoppers and engage them to a review and then to the highlighted benefits and then into the store or online meeting with sales people.
2. Entire Companies Get Behind the Content
The top of the organization has to be behind the content marketing and content driven strategy. This marketing strategy takes everyone as it hinges on the collaboration between management, service, and sales. In the case of Yale Appliance, the CEO Steve Sheinkopf, has contributed over 1600 articles himself.
3. Production of Content Must Be In House
When you are looking at the level of information that it takes to forge a successful content driven marketing campaign you realize that the information must come from in house.
Jason Roelke from Dominant Link SEO who manages content marketing campaigns at the firm said that “Content comes from the company themselves. We may interview and record sessions and then take it to our writers, but the real content has to come from the owner, the sales people, and the service staff. The details from content that are generic are just not of interest to their prospects. The real power in content marketing campaigns come from the details that position the brand and its people as the experts on that topic.”
Creation of content is simple. It seems hard and a lot of people have “stage fright” when it comes to placing “words on paper.” Jason and Dominant Link SEO taking the interviews and then creating the content make perfect sense for a lot of small businesses that are pressed for time.
4. Education Comes From Honest Non-Promotional Content
There is no need to promote yourself or your brand in your content. You should offer honest fact based information and position yourself as the expert that knows about all the information.
Anthony Bautista from Checkstand Program knows about the positioning of an expert. He said “We are experts. We just make sure other people have access to all the common pieces of information that we know from years of experience. Our competitors despise us and try to do underhanded internet tricks that never work for the long term while we continue to gain business because of our dedication to blogging, customers, and customer service. We grew this business because we were honest and hardworking. We know that grass roots is why we are Nationally known in the C Store Markets today.”
Checkstand Program and their honest first approach really shows off their business and showcases to potential customers why their brand can achieve the thing they do. Honesty is the best policy when it comes to educational content. Leave out all the promotions and just focus on talking to the customer and answering their questions.
5.Find the Big Questions and Don’t Avoid Them
There are certain questions that have many variables. They are tough in nature to answer. These are the perfect questions to go after and answer in your content.
Content How – Content Marketing says this, “You have to maintain the mindset of a champion. Wins are long away. Loses and Failures are strung together often and bountiful. Just survive and continue. The real winners at content marketing are those that do just a few things really well and then tenaciously, like bulldogs, they latch on and don’t stop. I can count on one hand the number of blogs that consistently put out great content on a streamlined consistent fashion that are not successful. Sometimes winning is just consistently showing up waiting on others to fail and leave. Create Compelling Content that Showcases your ability to answer the big questions. Show that off, don’t hide from it.”
When you are looking at your Revenue goals and marketing strategy for 2016 make sure you look into content marketing. Understand what it takes to do it right. Get top down buy in. Create great content that comes from your customers and service staff. Find ways to promote that content in your circles. Enjoy the process and grow!
Will is the Executive Managing Editor at Feedster. Will and his team from Content HOW work with venture capital, marketing co-ops, and companies to attract and gain qualified leads.
His primary focus on developing a sales funnel for a company and finding out of the box / growth hacking style ways to convert and drive traffic.