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Five Steps to Boost Customer Loyalty with a Better Content Marketing Plan

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It’s the Golden Age of inbound (content) marketing.

If you don’t believe me, ask LinkedIn’s Technology Marketing Community: 72 percent of marketers have an inbound marketing strategy, and starting this year, as many as 60 percent of companies will have a dedicated executive whose specific objective is to direct his or her organization’s content marketing.

Regarding ROI, for one, content marketing costs 62 percent less per lead than traditional marketing, and secondly, it produces three times more sales leads per dollar spent than the outbound marketing processes that we all know and love.

What Is Content Marketing?

According to the Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing is a strategic marketing methodology focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action (emphasis added)”.  It’s a core driving element of the modern sales (a.k.a. conversion) process, turning potential customers into buyers, and subsequently, into loyal, returning customers.

I remember in the early 90s when Pearl Jam’s debut album “Ten” was still on the up and coming list – I grew up a huge fan, but I’d never heard of them until I won a local radio station promotion which included the CD, a T-shirt and poster.  I really liked the band’s music as I listened, but as you can imagine, this win made me a die-hard fan on the spot, not only of the band, but also of the radio station.  Plus it made me an “early adopter,” so I got the bragging rights of “discovering Pearl Jam,” however accurate that self-assessment may or may not have been.

Your actual and potential customers love free stuff: articles, video presentations, infographics, podcasts, downloadable e-books, pdf’s, etc.  It’s a great way to sell yourself as an expert, while building rapport with your audience.

But giving away just any content or coupon doesn’t fly anymore.  According to Forbes, 76 percent of Business to Consumer (B2C) marketers use content marketing, yet only 37 percent report that their strategy is effective.  The market is becoming so oversaturated with mass-produced content, that the demand to produce higher quality content for users is ever on the rise.

With a good, solid content marketing plan, you can have the same effect on your audience as the radio station prize package did on me as a kid – and you can increase traffic, revenue and bolster customer loyalty.

It’s a time investment for sure, so if you can’t spare the time yourself, you might want to consider reviewing your budget to hire a professional firm to work with you on your plan.

Your Content Marketing Plan

1. Map it all out first.  Outline, identify channels, identify appropriate content/message and end goals, as well as action steps.  According to research conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, those that get their strategies down on paper are more likely to consider them effective, and feel less overwhelmed by the process, and more confident in being able to spend more of their budget on it.

  1. Know Your Audience. Exactly who are they, and how do they interact with content? What social media do they use? Do they watch YouTube, or read industry-informative articles and blogs? What are their needs, how can you help them resolve them, and what content would work best?  Are you willing to expand your social media horizons across platforms to build your audience?3.  Consider all Your Channels and Share Your Expertise

There are countless ways to get your brand out there, so make sure you’ve considered all your best options.  What channel is your content best suited for, and where will it have the greatest reach?  Who can you partner with to get it out there? How about writing a downloadable e-book, making it available on your Web site, with social media posts to let your audience know how to get a hold of it?

  1. Be Sure to Consider User Experience

Another important thing not to overlook is what your users are experiencing while attempting to access your awesome free content.  How many click-throughs does it take to get to your content?  How easy is it to download?  Are calls-to-action easy to respond to?

 

  1. Be Sure to Mobilize

Even with the best content in the world, if it’s not optimized for mobile device access, it may as well be stored in your garage.  Mobile is king: mobile searches are about to replace desktop searches outright, and currently 58 percent of Americans use smartphones, a statistic that is only expected to grow, along with smartphone use worldwide.

Just remember, content marketing is a proven way to increase your traffic, with a better than 200 percent ROI.  Get creative!  You can do this!

 

What is your content marketing plan looking like? Let us know – we’d love to hear from you!

 

— Jonathan W. Crowell