How can I market myself, my business or my product without explicitly promoting my brand or buying ads? If this is a question you’ve been asking yourself, content marketing is your answer.
With content marketing, you can create and share online material that stimulates interest in your products or services by positioning yourself as an industry expert. Content marketing draws people to your brand by informing them about something they already want to know. Your potential customers are looking for answers to problems they’re having, make sure you have them.
Marcus Sheridan, the author of They Ask You Answer, says 70% of the buying decision is made before a prospect talks to the company.
Content marketing isn’t a sales pitch or a form of spamming a consumer with content not relevant to their needs. It’s the opposite. Content marketing leverages how consumers request, search for and absorb information about products and services they are interested in. It’s important that this be formatted in an unbiased manner.
It makes someone want to seek out your content versus avoiding it. Don’t annoy your target audience. Delight them and build trust.
Inbound marketing versus outbound marketing is the key factor to success. Marketing has changed. Make sure your business is adapting.
Inbound marketing is what content marketing leans into, the thought that the content you’re creating is specific enough that people are going to naturally seek it out, return for additional answers, and continue to return for help over time.
To successfully use inbound marketing, you must show your customers that they’re valued and that they can trust you to reach their goals. This is not “spam” content but solutions customers seek to solve a specific problem.
Consumers can be spammed with AI-generated content without revision as well as content without related links or supported data.
This is a way to bring customers to your website who may potentially purchase your product or service. There is more strategy behind inbound marketing. Most customers aren’t ready to buy when they first learn about your company, but make sure that when they are, your business is at the forefront of their minds.
HubSpot has a more in-depth explanation of inbound marketing and what steps you should take in order to begin utilizing it.
Outbound marketing is more of an “old school” way of marketing. It’s often what people think of when considering traditional marketing practices.
Examples of this are disruptive advertisements in the middle of TV shows, in magazines, or while scrolling through social media. The goal of outbound marketing is to fight for attention while interrupting a consumer’s routine.
With this more traditional approach, businesses push out messaging to potential customers, but don’t always have a specific focus on who they’re trying to reach. Additionally, a lot of outbound marketing is “me” focused. Businesses that are heavily practicing outbound marketing generally tell people why they are awesome, and nothing more or less.
Brian Halligan with HubSpot says consumers are inundated with thousands of marketing messages a day, so outbound marketing has a harder time thriving in the ever-changing market.
People have tools and resources at their expense to research and evaluate different brands. Therefore, seeing your advertisement or cold email will likely not be the only piece of marketing content they will need to consume to make a purchase.
For content marketing to work, you’ll need to grow your business’ brand trust to help improve your overall digital presence.
Building brand trust can make or break your business. If people don’t associate your business with something they’re interested in, then they’re less likely to buy from you. If you don’t add value, you’re distracting from better options.
93% of people say the first interaction usually decides if they will continue their relationship with a brand.
According to Rock Content, there are three main factors that are important to building brand trust.
One is being open and honest with your customers, the second is being inclusive and respectful, and the third is caring for your customers and being able to identify with them. Click here for a deeper dive into each of these.
For example, Walmart has built brand trust with its customers and “guarantees” the lowest prices. Customers know what they’re getting when they walk into a Walmart storefront, they all look and feel the same.
Walmart built its brand on putting the customer first, which makes it more appealing to consumers.
To build this brand trust, companies need to build a foundation of trust with their customers. According to Pamela N. Danziger with Forbes, they can do this by picking the right message and messenger to communicate it honestly and consistently.
Building trust starts with top-of-the-funnel customers, which are those who fit your products and services but may not be ready to purchase yet. They most likely do not have knowledge of your business, so this is where you begin the process of building trust.
If you first appear as a respected source for a customer, you can then establish yourself as a go-to, trusted expert.
As a brand, you should build trust by following through on the promises you make to your customers. Without brand trust, businesses will have more difficulty with content marketing.
Just remember, content marketing shows your target audience that you are knowledgeable, authentic, relatable, trustworthy, and industry savvy. It also helps improve business visibility and awareness through expanded search engine opportunities.
Remind your audience that you’re an expert in your field by implementing these content marketing strategies. If you do it correctly, your business will see the benefits of content marketing.