In the heyday of traditional marketing, attracting and retaining customers was a daunting job for local business owners to achieve, particularly when the inflated budgets of larger companies made it difficult to compete. Today, there are several different channels for business owners to engage with consumers, and social media makes it easier than ever for business owners to get to potential customers with strategic methods like content marketing.
Content marketing, also known as inbound marketing, includes the creation and distribution of relevant content that gives value to your business's target audience. Content marketing can be shared with customers in different forms: infographics, ebooks, white papers, case studies, how-to guides, etc. The primary goal of content marketing is to offer customers value by offering a solution to their needs, thus influencing the buying cycle
Content marketing and the buying cycle
The key difference between traditional marketing strategies and content marketing tactics is how each approach impacts the buying cycle for customers.
The benefits of pull vs. push in marketing
Traditional push marketing techniques like flyers, billboards or commercials seek to influence the comparison and purchase phases of the buying cycle by promoting or offering incentives that make a product or service seem superior to alternative solutions. Content marketing, or pull tactics, try to increase customer awareness and offer useful information about the product or service your company offers as a solution. The beauty of content marketing is that it might lead customers to realize a problem or need in their lives that they would have otherwise been unaware of. This will pull them into your business when they are ready to buy, instead of knocking on doors or cold calling to try and convince someone to purchase something from you now. Using content marketing tactics in your company's strategy also offers several benefits, a lot of which are long lasting.
The advantages of content marketing
Content marketing functions as a means for your company to attract, inform and connect with customers. Here are a few of the benefits that can come with a successful strategy:
Posting valuable content will lead customers to discover your company and product offerings as they look for solutions to the problem they are experiencing. By making content available to consumers, your company will communicate an understanding of customer needs, humanizing your brand with a personality that is friendly and helpful, as well as developing the possibility for consumers to develop a relationship with you.
Content that is relevant to the needs of consumers and provides them with a useful solution establishes your company as a thought leader in your industry, which helps develop a trusting relationship with consumers. Achieving this level of credibility will lead customers to choose your products and services over alternative solutions, since they know the special value proposition offered by your company: that you are the knowledgeable experts in your field.
For instance: why do avid cyclists go to smaller specialty bike shops rather than a large box store that sells bikes? Because the level of knowledge and expertise that the smaller store provides is something that can not be easily replicated by the larger box stores.
This example is similar to how content marketing can work to increase thought leadership and brand equity for your company. By sharing your knowledge in the form of content, you will improve your credibility with customers. They know that they can come to you for solid advice since you have provided them with relevant, helpful information in the past.
Effective long-term results
If the content your company launches is made to be a mix of time-sensitive and evergreen pieces, your business's content library will still be relevant to customers as time passes. High-traffic content will also boost search engine rankings, and the consistent release of content can act as a constant source of interested customers.
Content marketing: the major sell
Content marketing is an effective technique to interact with customers and introduce them to your business's brand. By providing consumers with value before they even visit your store, you are building positive relationships and connections to your brand, leading to long-lasting customer loyalty and brand equity for your business.