People don’t really care about your products or services. And let’s be honest, words like sale or discount strategically placed in ads aren’t as effective as you’d like them to be. Try to sell something to anybody and they’ll run as fast as their legs can carry them. As buyer, you want to have control over the buying process, right? You don’t want to be sold something, the choice has to belong to you. There are very few marketers who have understood this and have come up with something new: value for the reader. There are products we don’t need or we’ll never buy, but we visit the websites or blogs for the meaningful content they offer. Useful and valuable info is something we can’t afford to neglect, or worse, miss.
What businesses should do is identify the pain points of their audience and figure out ways they could solve them. When we go online, we are looking for something specific, for an answer to a question or a solution to a problem. Think of Quora and how we rely on it. Or of Google, whose use is so widespread it has become a verb.
Used correctly, content can be the perfect strategy to reach your goals. You can compare content creation with laying the foundation of a house. Keep in mind that people are not primarily looking for products, but rather for information. Relevant, quality content can help them make good decisions. For a brand, that translates into trust and reliability in the eyes of the audience.
You strive so much to find new customers that you often forget about existing ones and you make little effort to retain them, which is a big mistake. You can use their common questions about your business, products or services and industry to create an ongoing dialogue with them. It would certainly help improve your relationship, and it can be a win-win situation.
Everything these days starts with a search, from choosing a pair of shoes to downloading an app. Here I can give you an example from my own shopping habits. I always check the websites of stores before I visit so I know what to expect when I get there. If I see something I would wear, I go there to try it on. If I don’t, it’s on to the next online store. We always do research before buying something. Most often we’ll look online, compare prices and features, look for reviews, check out forums.
A mistake most marketers make is to limit the content to stories or descriptions of the company, its results and its products or services. As I already said, customers couldn’t care less about the exceptional quality you claim you offer or the last industry fair you attended. 70% of consumers would rather hear about a company through articles instead of ads. Think about their needs, not yours. They care about how you can help them solve a pressing problem. If you figure out a way to do that, you’re already one step ahead of the others.
We are living in an age of self education where everyone is trying to be better than they were yesterday. Schooling can only offer limited knowledge, hence the whole debate about the outdated education systems worldwide. The simplest way to improve is to learn by yourself. People will take that $400 class on Coursera or somewhere else, but they won’t neglect free quality content and they’ll come back for more. Case in point, Pinterest and the many blog posts which can educate or show you how to do things. Or countless inspiring TED Talks.
When people lack inspiration, they will start looking for it in the places most likely to find it. When they feel insecure about something they have to do, they will try to find out how others did it. Content can create you a reputation and a level of expertise. The readers can learn from you when they are looking for a recommendation from a trusted authority. Don’t forget that good content is shared. People exchange information all the time, so they will talk about that great idea, blog post or article they just found. What better way of promotion than word-of-mouth coming from a reliable source?
Quality content also means more traffic for your website or blog, thus more exposure, from searches or social media. SEO brings forth relevant content and ranks it among the first results, which everyone checks. Even if that will not bring an immediate sale this time, it ensures people remember your business and trust you. You can also take advantage of content to emphasize your competitive advantages, those distinctive features of your business that make it unique.
Whatever tactic you decide to use, don’t neglect the importance of content. They don’t say “Content is king” for nothing. Whether it’s written, visual or video format, make sure it’s informative, persuasive and high quality. Use it to your best advantage. And remember, if you work smart & you’re kind, amazing things will happen 😉
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