Marketing techniques must evolve continuously with the changing buying habits of the consumers. Conventional marketing strategies focusing solely on print media and commercial advertisements are dying a slow death; in fact, they are almost on the verge of becoming obsolete.
The reason behind conventional marketing’s demise is that 74% customers conduct a thorough online research before heading out to buy a certain product. Marketing teams soon realized how crucial it is to think outside the box. Creativity is necessary to create a “buzz” on digital platforms about offerings through which potential buyers can be compelled to make a purchase.
This is where content marketing comes into play. The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) describes content marketing as;
“…a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
In simpler terms, even if your product is an epitome of top-notch innovation, you need outstanding content that can keep the targeted customers’ attention long enough to convince them to buy your product.
However, there is a marginal difference between content that engages your target demographic with smartly executed marketing plans and content constituting of mind-numbing product information that ends up being force-fed to consumers constantly. The key to a successful content marketing scheme lies within understanding this fine line between captivating and boring!
Moreover, 2017 is the year to consider revamping your content marketing strategy, as according to the Content Marketing Institute, 70% of B2B marketers surveyed responded that they are generating more content this year as compared to 2016. Hence, as a business owner, it’s extremely important that you also explore innovative options to stand out of the crowd and craft a definitive niche for your business. Following are a few ideas that can help you turn your boring business into an intriguing one:
- Utilize the Power of Social Media
If you haven’t jumped (and dragged your business) on the social media bandwagon yet, it’s high time you did! Social media presence is vital for the popularity of your business, and it should not be confined to just Facebook or LinkedIn. Consider creating an account on less formal social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram and invite your regular customers or influential bloggers to takeover your accounts for a day.
Currently, account takeover is the trendiest way to promote your page and one of the most valuable marketing strategies on Instagram. Account takeover allows guest admins to create posts from their perspective, detailing your products or services that they have used, thus, stirring genuine interest in your brand.
This interesting technique can benefit your brand in the following ways:
- If a loyal customer promotes your business publicly, it is bound to coax more people to give your products a chance; since research says that 90% of people are influenced by positive online reviews when making a purchase.
- The excitement generated by this campaign will interest more people in signing up for account takeovers, thus creating a ripple effect.
- Popular bloggers can create a positive vibe for your business amongst their avid followers.
In recent times, prominent brands routinely conduct account takeovers inviting celebrities and popular bloggers to share their experience through the brand’s social media platform. However, this trend started back in 2012 when Food Republic, Burberry and General Electronics successfully carried out this experimental marketing technique to make their businesses flourish further.
In addition to being active on social media with regular fun posts, also connect with your prospective customers by hosting healthy discussions (more on this later) to understand their requirements and mold your product accordingly.
A riveting social media presence is a mandatory part of content marketing but what will make your business stand out is how effectively you use it to reach out to your consumer base.
- Use humor to garner fan base
Entertaining posts always enjoy the greatest user traction because people tend to react positively to posts that make them happy and share them too. However, humor is a tricky notion; it can go very wrong if it isn’t done right. Hence, consider dabbling into humorous posts and customer interactions only if it suits your business’s image and you are confident that you can pull it off.
Denny’s Tumblr blog is one example of humor done right. The comical aspects of their posts (often absurd) and quick-witted replies increase users’ reviews and comments, consequently securing the page higher rankings on the SERPs, thus, driving more people to their site.
Wendy’s also employed a unique marketing tactic when they started roasting people on Twitter. But this is one path that needs to be treated carefully as it can quickly turn into a marketing disaster if handled incorrectly.
- Reinvent your brand image
It’s a great idea to redesign your outlook but make sure you don’t lose the essence of your business while doing so. This is most important for traditional businesses that are struggling to establish their footholds in the digital marketing world.
Begin by examining and addressing the reasons to change; seek out expert opinions, invest in your business and implement your findings. Don’t be wary of investments as a spruced up website is sure to generate higher ROI as compared to a business with dwindling media image.
One foolproof way to reinvent your brand is improving the aesthetics of your web site/page with captivating photography and artfully captured images. Stunning images tend to appeal to customers the most; and once you have their attention, you can easily work on selling your product to them.
Take a leaf out of Rolex’s content marketing strategy! Rolex epitomizes the term “timeless classic” and it still stays true to its roots with sleek minimalistic photography that highlights the aura of its mesmerizing timepieces.
A quick glance at Rolex’s Instagram page reveals sophisticatedly captured images and videos that mirror the brand’s impeccable image. It caters to an elite class and creates content that speaks powerfully to its defined customer base. Furthermore, its content channels quality and class, exactly what customers expect from their Rolex watches.
- Feature visual content
Visual content is a more appealing alternative to run-of-the-mill blogs. Even though there is no denying the power of a well-crafted blog post, visual content such as pictures and videos work more effectively to capture audiences’ attention.
The popular phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words” is a nod to the fact that our brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Moreover, visual content is also more shareable as compared to textual content. Therefore, feature stunning imagery and captivating videos on your websites that are relevant to your business.
A brand that portrays mind-blowing visuals on its social media account is GoPro. Provided GoPro sells cameras, they do not showcase their products directly, instead, they promote their users by featuring the visual content generated by their customers. This strategy has earned them 5 million subscribers on their YouTube channel and 13 million followers on Instagram.
- Tell a story
Videos are the most engaging form of communication and humans love listening to stories. Thus, the potent combination of these two key factors can get you millions of views in just a matter of few days!
An article published on Harvard Business Review outlined how storytelling can prompt the body to produced oxytocin, a hormone that makes you “feel good”. And, if you can make people react positively to something, you have mastered the art of content marketing.
Hence, generate videos that narrate the story of how your brand came into being, what it stands for, what it can offer and what it aspires to achieve. Consider doing the story in small yet appealing parts that compel your consumers to return for the next installment.
Microsoft has harnessed the power of well-constructed narratives by sharing influential stories of people’s journeys through pitfalls, triumphs and redemption. While the stories don’t directly relate to the software company, they manage to strike a nerve, evoke empathy, make powerful connections with the people and create a warm feeling about the brand.
TOMS Shoes utilized the power of story-telling for a noble cause. They introduced their annual campaign “one day without shoes” that encourages people to ditch their shoes and go barefoot for a day, to create awareness about children’s health and education in developing nations. They shared their story on social media that struck a chord with the general masses and people tagged photos of their bare feet on Instagram. Subsequently, 27,435 children from almost 10 countries received a new pair of shoes last year.
- Host interactive sessions
If you want your consumers to know you and trust your brand, open up as many channels of communication as possible, and be transparent in your dealings and about your products. Respond promptly to all kinds of queries, host webinars featuring experts’ advice about your products and frequent Q&A sessions.
Connecting to the customers on a personal level has been made easier with the invention of social media, therefore, utilize it to its fullest to reach out to your prospective customers. Not to mention, interactive posts, webinar videos and reviews are a great source of relevant content generation that help boost your ratings on the SERPs.
Nike has gone as far as to create a separate social media presence on Twitter that revolves solely around customer service and support. Considering the monstrosity of their fan base, the stimulating move is extremely awe-inspiring and motivational for other brands. Remarkably, a quick scan of their support page also unveils prompt replies that are both helpful and profound.
McDonald’s, on the other hand, has been notorious in the fast food business. However, their smart content marketing strategy has earned them brownie points amongst people. McDonald’s Canada started a campaign “Our Food, Your Questions” where they welcomed all kinds of questions and received up to 450 questions per day and answered 10,000 of them! Their brave stance and comprehensive authentic responses in the line of inquiry helped them build trust in their brand.
- Educate your client base
Educating does not entail lecturing your consumers about the benefits of your products. Instead, create instructional blog posts that your clients can relate with, enlighten people about your services or products with well-designed infographics and videos, and produce social media content that assists your followers in improving their daily lives.
Work on selling an entire lifestyle to the users instead of just a product. This, as a result, will not only ensure better product sales but also help you achieve a devoted fan base. Educational, helpful advice establishes your business as an indispensable asset and makes you an expert in your field.
Whole Foods, follows this strategy diligently. They make their audience feel inclusive by educating them about embracing a healthier lifestyle. Their website features helpful healthy recipes, weekly meal plans for health-conscious people and tips on staying fit on a budget. This creates a perpetual connection that does not only focus on fixed demographics but also invites everyone to adapt to healthier life choices.
Farmers Insurance is technically an insurance organization for automobiles, homes and small businesses amongst other things. However, they have created a Farmers Insurance Inner Circle, a customer-friendly resource that works to empower their followers and enhances their practical knowledge. They provide useful insights on everyday topics such as car maintenance, home upkeep, the importance of insurance to millennials and even tips on surviving a divorce.
While content marketing has been around for ages, its newfangled metamorphosis into digital media marketing has established quite a number of brands into giant organizations; a list of them can be found here for you to take inspiration from. To conclude, smart and out-of-the-box marketing strategies have a lot of advantages. However, the three main reasons organizations invest in content marketing are increased revenues through sales, marketing on a budget with higher ROI as compared to conventional marketing, and lasting connections with regular customers who stay true to your business.