Andrew Leon Walker writes: Many years ago when I was a product manager I remember spending hour upon hour sitting around tables in small, confined meeting rooms with several colleagues, debating and arguing over the proposed mnemonic of our soon to be launched new product.
The reality was that the only people faintly interested in this mnemonic were the people sat around the table. Sure, it was great for our internal MRP systems, but later research showed that even our most loyal customers usually just called all of our products they owned ‘the (insert company name here) unit’.
Why am I highlighting this as an issue?
Well, back in the day you could get away with this approach if you had a strong marketing team to push this out and an extended sales force on the ground. But today most people turn to the internet to find solutions to their problems and don’t engage with a sales person until they’re ready. And I can assure you that at this stage, not too many will be typing the product name or mnemonic of any of your range of products into the Google search bar.
In fact, at this initial stage no one will give a damn about your products or services. Yes, they may come to love them over time but right now the only concern your potential customers have is to find a resolution to what’s keeping them awake at night.
They will be typing in questions such as “How do I fix problem X? Where can I find a supplier for issue Y? What’s the best solution for problem Z?”
The power of content marketing
This is where content marketing becomes so important. Regularly add content to your website – in the form of blog articles, ebooks, white papers, video, images etc. – that provides the answers to the questions your audience is asking. This will help that information get found by the search engines, get matched to the search query and pull visitors to your website. Distributing and promoting this content across the relevant social media platforms will amplify the reach and get that content if front of more potential customers. And if it’s interesting enough, many people will share it with their own connections.
Through the power of the internet, social media and content marketing, businesses can now cut out the middle man and directly target the end user through their own website and social media platforms. By doing so a business can also position itself within its market as the go-to source for issue resolutions and differentiate the business from the competition. Who wouldn’t want that?
Content marketing is not a short term “band aid”. There will be low hanging fruit that can be targeted and won but you need to take a medium to long-term view. As Seth Godin once said: “Content Marketing is the only marketing left”. So to get started:
· Check the content on your website concentrates on helping your audience and is not internally focused on your own business;
· Start a blog – the first stage towards a content marketing approach;
· Develop a content creation plan complete with the type of content required, by when, by whom, and where and how it will be distributed/promoted;
· Use your Web analytics to monitor the results and tweak where necessary.
If you’d like more information on how to progress with content marketing, download my free ebook 7 stages to online marketing success.