There’s a lot of talk about how important content is to your search engine rankings. However, it’s easy to lose sight of the principle purpose of your content in trying to optimize it for good search engine rankings. The purpose of your content is to promote your brand and to build value in your products, and this is why a good content marketing strategy is the key to running a successful online business. Even if you are an offline service-oriented company that only uses your website for generating leads, a good content marketing strategy can help you leverage the power of the internet to its fullest.
In this article, you’ll learn the three most important principles of a good content marketing strategy and how you can use them to increase your bottom line through online marketing.
The first objective of your content should be to earn trust with your customers, which is best accomplished by educating them about the value of your products and services. Too often, online content promotes more than it educates, which isn’t the best place to start out with someone who’s just visiting your site and may have never heard of your company. Other times, the content simply serves the purpose of ranking for the search engines and has no substance for the reader.
Both of these approaches are an attempt to earn someone’s business before you earn their trust, which is almost always an uphill battle. It’s always better to over-deliver with your SEO site content and provide your visitors which a LOT of value upfront. Robert G. Allen, the author of the groundbreaking business book “Multiple Streams of Income” said it best: “No matter what you’re selling, you are ultimately in the education business.”
This is because educating your customers positions your company as an authority and this builds trust and inspires them to go ahead with the next step…
Google’s updates have all been directing website owners to this method of content writing. Quality content is the only way you are going to become trusted with the search engines, and the reason for that is simple, the search engine giant knows they need to earn trust with their own visitors, so they only deliver websites in the search engines that are working on that same trust foundation.
So, write content that informs, entertains, and educates your readers. How-to articles, articles that answer a question, and step-by-step instructional articles are great. If you consider that most people use search engines to find an answer to a question, then it should be easy to see that your content needs to answer those questions.
If you have effectively educated your visitors with your website content, the next step is to deliver value through your email marketing campaign. Offer your customers MORE valuable content by an “email mini-course” which you’ll deliver to them over the span of six or seven days. The email mini-course approach is often more effective than offering a free report download in exchange. This is because offering an email course gives you a reason to ask for their email and one which assures that they’ll be getting something valuable in their inbox.
Here is an example of a lead magnet.
As long as you’ve provided them with a lot of value through your website’s content, they’ll be confident that signing up for your email course will provide them with even more value. If you’re a service company, provide an educational course that includes case studies (not testimonials) from your current customers as part of the instructional content. This is a perfect way to market your services without making it look like a promotion.
When you use this strategy, it is important to remember that you are supposed to be ‘giving’ your audience something they want and need, not ‘selling’ them anything. This is tough for some marketers, but you have to trust me on this…it is better to give, and then you will receive.
Many companies don’t follow this principle and “hold back” some of their most valuable content because they don’t want to “give away the store.” However, Eban Pagan, one of the most successful internet entrepreneurs and the founder of “Altitude, “Double Your Dating” and “Wake up Productive” testifies that the more value you give away, the higher perceived value your customers will have of your products and services. This higher perceived value will make the next principle of your content marketing strategy MUCH simpler.
Provided that you’ve followed the first two principles, converting your free customers into paying customers should be much, much easier than if you had started right out with a promotion. After your email mini-course has been completed, you can start sending promotional emails to your customers offering them the “next level” of the value which you’ve been sending through the email mini-course. It’s important that as you do this, you continue to send them educational emails and sprinkle the promotional messages into those emails.
Most internet marketing professionals claim that 10% promotion for every 90% of educational material is a good ratio. This will ensure that you keep the trust which you have already built through your online content and your email marketing. Another effective strategy is to invite your email subscribers to send questions about the materials you’ve already provided. This is VERY effective because you’re now tailoring your content to their needs AND you can learn how to create, package, and promote your products and services to them. People love to feel valued, and in all honesty, if it were not for them, your business would be worthless, so they are valuable…treat them as such and you will reap the rewards.
After you’ve converted your free customers into paying customers, it’s important that you continue to build a relationship with them. This way, you can change them from purchasers of your products and services to promoters of your products and services. Too many marketers see the sale as closing the deal when they need to treat it as the opening of the relationship. There are two dynamics involved in turning purchasers into promoters:
First, continue to educate them on how to get the most out of the purchases that they have already made. What kind of information and guidance can you provide to them to make sure that they get the MOST value out of their purchase? Sometimes this involves more free information, and sometimes it means promoting additional products. Again, be sure that you have a healthy balance between the two so that you continue to build trust with them. If you continue to offer them value, they’ll be much more likely to promote your brand.
The second part of converting purchasers into promoters is providing incentives in return for new customer referrals. Don’t just ask them to invite their friends to visit your website or to join your mailing list. Instead, offer them a free gift in exchange for their efforts or have a contest and award a gift to the customer who brings you the most referrals. This will empower you to leverage the trust you’ve already built with them and to explode your business through your content marketing strategy. Good luck.
When you start providing content on your website, ensure it is top-quality content that offers something useful for your readers. Once you build the relationship of trust with your readers you can then start to build an email marketing campaign. If your content is not educational or useful on your site, chances of the visitors signing up for your mini-course, email newsletter or other marketing material is not likely. So, provide great useful content and they will offer up their email for you to send more material. When you do, make sure it is valuable, and DO NOT try to sell them anything. If you promised them something for free, they expect it without any strings attached, so deliver it as promised.
Once you build the trust, slowing trickle in the sales with your promotions, and start building the loyalty that will turn your customers into representatives for your brand and your product.
Everything has to be done in steps, and it is very important that each step be followed correctly for the strategy to work.