How to Use Content for Customer Acquisition: 9 Tips to Build A Your Content Marketing Strategy
The key to a great content strategy is to make one that’s purpose driven. How does your content marketing strategy contribute to your growth goals? Or are you making content simply for the sake of doing so? When content is purpose driven, it will be reflected in the quality of the final product. It will also shape the way you go about creating, distributing, and promoting your content. Content for improving your website’s ranking will be backed up by keyword research, mobile optimization, a user-friendly interface, and understanding the competition just as well as you do your target market. Content for networking and expanding your pool of resources will leverage the power of backlinking and platforms like LinkedIn.
Then there’s content that focuses on customer acquisition. Technically, any and all content that you create can lend itself to customer acquisition regardless of the original intent behind it. And decent content will in fact achieve a healthy balance of improving SEO, customer acquisition, and making new connections. But content that’s aimed at your peers or thought leaders in the industry isn’t going to resonate as strongly with your prospects. They aren’t going to read or watch content that clearly wasn’t made with their interests in mind. Even if they do consume the content it’s unlikely to inspire them to take further action.
That’s an important detail that some businesses seem to forget- customer acquisition doesn’t stop after first contact. It’s the entire end-to-end process, from first contact to the close. So where does content marketing come into the picture?
We’re glad that you asked.
1. Keep It Fresh
Regularly publishing new content should be a given, yet not enough people commit themselves to a schedule or keep the quality level consistent. If you aren’t releasing new content or content that isn’t worth consuming, there’s no point in releasing content in the first place. Quite the opposite, content that performs poorly can negatively impact your site ranking and interfere with your SEO strategies.
Pay attention to which content performs the best and continue to offer your visitors something similar. If your topics are all over the place not only do the readers get confused, Google does too because it doesn’t know how to index you.
2. Oldie But a Goodie
What about the content that you’ve already released? Polish it up. Be mindful of the pieces that performed moderately well in the past and focus on improving those; you already know that they resonate with people so they’re worth the time and energy. Content that didn’t do so hot deserves a little TLC as well but never go in blindly. If you don’t know why something didn’t perform well, any attempts to ‘fix’ or ‘improve’ it could actually make it worse. Compare it to the content that your customers, prospects, and site visitors enjoyed and identify the common denominators. Use that information to make your older content on par with what you’re currently releasing.
3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
If something performs well once then it’s likely to perform well again, but trying to drive traffic to the same blog post or video every few months can cause it to become stale and eventually plateau. Still, you should never let it sit and collect dust. Find ways to repurpose that content in a different format and release it every few months. Audiences will feel like they are getting something exciting and new, or at the very least complementary to what they enjoyed in the past, and you can strengthen their brand loyalty by giving them more of what they want.
4. Survey Says…
Better yet, why not ask them what they want to see more of? If you have a customer base already established you can place polls and surveys on your social media pages or through your mailing lists. If you’re a newer brand, you can use the surveys from your market research to create some of your earliest content and start off strong.
Customers and prospects don’t always know what their needs and preferences are, however. Sometimes it’s up to you to let them know that you understand their pain points and have something that they need. But sales copy alone isn’t always enough to convince them. It might be too gimmicky, too desperate, or too lengthy – and none of these things convert. Instead you can create content that helps demonstrate what’s so great about the product or service you offer. Highlight the benefits rather than the features, give demonstrations, and write blogs that directly answer questions you often encounter. Look to any feedback received or customer service requests for a little inspiration.
6. Every Step of the Way
Create content to assist your customers in every step of the sales journey. The awareness stage is when a prospect discovers you or your product/service. More often than not it’s because they’re in need of something, not because they randomly stumbled upon you. The awareness stage is where you want to solidify yourself as an expert in the field, making them both curious about what you have to offer and comfortable exploring their pain points through you. Use things like buyer’s guides, free e-books or whitepapers to upsell later on, and content featuring thought leaders and important industry figures.
The consideration stage is when they begin to experience interest. This is where you need to address the question ‘Why should I buy from you?’. Flaunt your competitive edge and unique angle, rather than simply mudslinging the alternatives. If you have to make yourself look better by talking down about others in your industry you aren’t going to make many friends – or sales. Fact-based comparisons that rely on case studies and testimonials are better, because they draw from the voices of real people just like your prospects. It enhances your image as someone who understands their needs and has the solution that they’re after. Free samples, webinars, and live interaction with someone from your brand are all things that keep the conversation moving alone.
At the decision stage your prospects are likely to think less about their problems that you can solve and more about what it’s going to cost them. How can you assure them that you’re well worth every penny? Find out the criteria that they use when making decisions for financial commitments, and take time to alleviate any lingering fears that they may have. Free trials or demos, free estimates, and coupons will make them a lot more comfortable sticking with you. Free estimates are especially attractive because customers like receiving something that’s been tailor made for them.
Why stop there? Personalized content is great for conversions, brand loyalty, SEO performance, and reputation. Not only should you offer something made specifically for an individual customer, accept content that they themselves have created. User-generated content is slowly but surely gaining traction in the world of content marketing. You can run contests and tie in free samples, demonstrations, and live web interactions as rewards. Ask for people to share pictures or videos of themselves using the product, create a fun 60 second commercial, write your slogan or jingle, design a logo, name a new product, or feature opinion pieces and guest blog posts from customers. If you use Twitter you can come up with a clever and unique hashtag and try to get it trending.
The best thing about user-generated content is how well it tends to your existing customer base and nurtures your leads. When prospects see what you do with the content you receive they might be interested in getting involved too. Further, when your existing customer base tells their friends and family about having their blog post or snippet featured on a branded channel they’re more inclined to take a peek for themselves. Studies have shown that buyer decisions are heavily influenced by recommendations, so user-generated content turns your customers into an extension of your marketing team at no extra cost to you.
8. Special Privileges
We’ve mentioned a handful of free things that you can offer your prospects and customers, and while there certainly are benefits to using free content there also benefits to using exclusive content as well. Take a look at your social media analytics and see which posts have resonated the most with your audiences, and then create similar content that only your followers can see. Offer discounts for people who join your mailing list, and use those emails to share more coupon codes during holiday seasons or when you’re on the cusp of launching a new product. If you have access to the tools and the money, create an app or software that coincides with your products and your brand.
Don’t limit yourself to only having a digital presence. Offline advertising is still very much alive and well, as is good old fashioned PR. Use these types of content to complement your digital marketing strategies and create a sense of omniscience so prospects feel as though the universe is compelling them to see what you’re all about.
Look into offline events like trade shows and seminars. Have plenty of pamphlets, business cards, samples, gift bags, or printer copies of your free whitepapers and e-books handy. Not only are these great networking opportunities, you can use any footage from live events and repurpose that into customer-exclusive digital content later on.
Remember that your customers are your most valuable resource. Rather, they’re an invaluable resource. Ask for feedback, take their recommendations into consideration, and contact them directly. If you take time to learn more about them then you become more likeable; after all, humans want to connect with other humans, not nebulous entities like a business. There’s little to no value in your content if the customers don’t feel valued themselves. And while the customer might not always be right, you should always strive to do right by them. That’s what the gold standard is all about.