You’ll have come across the terms “inbound marketing” and “content marketing”. These terms are hot and they’re hot for a reason – they work. But what exactly do these terms mean, how do they work and why should you be interested?
Well, customers and consumers are increasingly putting up barriers to being interrupted and sold to when they’re not ready to buy. Many of them are doing this by employing spam filters, registering with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and ignoring print ads. So traditional marketing methods are having less of an impact. At the same time, more buyers are carrying out their own research to find out about the options available and in many cases not engaging with a salesperson until they are 70% through the buying process. So if they don’t find you online during that initial search then you’re missing out without even being aware of the opportunity.
And the key to getting found online? It’s content – hence the phrase ‘Content Marketing’.
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach to attract and retain customers through the creation of relevant and valuable (to the customer) content with the intent to influence or enhance customer behaviour.
Content drives the internet, gets your business found through SEO, drives lead generation and can position your business as the go-to source in your industry.
But it’s not a case of “if we build it, they will come”. You need to give that content a leg-up by optimizing it for search, distributing it via social media and promoting it via PPC (e.g. using Google, Bing etc). Hence the term ‘inbound marketing’, as searchers are not being interrupted; rather they are looking for solutions that you can provide, they’re finding your content online and are pulled towards your website. This means that the contacts and leads you capture are already warm.
As the power now firmly resides in the hands of the buyers, the days of being able to limit the amount of information available to your audience are well gone. If you want to enhance your online presence (and you do) then you need to create a content marketing plan focused on the needs of your audience at each stage of the buying cycle.
This plan needs to consider the ‘pain points’ of each member of a Decision Making Unit, and the type of content required such as blogs, articles, video etc. You need to investigate what social media platforms, if any, are most relevant to your audience and use these platforms to distribute your content. You might also choose to buy readers, via PPC.
There’s no magic bullet or short cut to success. It’s hard work. But you have an opportunity to differentiate your business from your competition and position yourself as the main player in your market. Why wouldn’t you want that?
- Andrew Leon Walker is a Marketing Strategist, Freelance Marketing Director and Digital Marketing Consultant, whose services we use here at BMON and are happy to recommend. A former marketing director at a FTSE 250 listed company, Andrew currently helps business owners, heads of departments, marketing agencies and fellow marketers by providing hands-on support, consulting, training and advice on how to develop a strong online business presence, drive leads and increase sales on a sustainable basis. Watch the video and read more here.