By Kiara Halligan
The year 2016 is shaping up to be one heck of a year for marketing.
With so many concepts getting thrown out the window simply because they are no longer applicable, or don’t deliver on face-value, we are left with a question.
And that is, “What should we focus our efforts on now?”
The short and simple answer is content marketing.
Content marketing sits at the crossroads of SEO and social media, and is slowly shaping up to be an integral part of every marketing mix, and rightfully so.
It is a way of building trust with your audience and potential customers.
Robert Cialdini states, “content marketing influences prospective customers with authority, liking and reciprocity.”
Conversion Content Marketing
Customers and audiences, in general, are becoming increasingly resentful of our fast and easy conversion tactics.
Landing pages are un-discriminatory, and their only purpose is to sell.
There is no expectation of anything free on a landing page.
Well, that doesn’t fly all that well anymore.
People want to be wooed and romanced a bit before they sign up for anything you sell.
This is where content marketing steps in.
It is a way of saying, “Hey, we get you, we understand your needs. Here are some golden nuggets of information, completely free!”
This approach allows you to build a relationship with your potential customer, instead of just cramming your offer down their throats.
And, as of late, this approach has been getting a lot more results than the usual, in-your-face marketing efforts.
Giving stuff away for free is definitely not the way to stay in business, so combining the two approaches seems like a happy solution.
This creates something called conversion content marketing and we believe, with this approach, we reap most rewards in 2016.
Here are the main principles of conversion content marketing you need to keep in mind:
Define Your Objectives
Are you in it to simply sell by generating more leads?
Or maybe you are using it to create awareness of your brand or product?
Whatever the answer is, you have to know it well in advance of starting a campaign.
Groping for a life-line in the dark will not help you or your business.
Remember, with conversion content marketing, you are not creating content for the sake of content itself, you are helping your business out by using it.
Know Your Targets
You are not creating content for yourself, always keep that in mind.
Focus your attention to reaching a specific, targetable niche audience and cater to their needs.
Trying to do it all simply means you will end up doing nothing.
Profile your audience. Make sure you know their needs and desires. Make sure you know what makes them tick.
That is the only way you will be able to create content that appeals to them and tugs on their heartstrings.
Content Marketing Is Not About Conversions
This seems a bit odd, but it is true.
There is no point in engaging on content marketing if it is going to resemble all of your previous marketing tactics.
We’ve already established that those do not work all that well anymore.
This is your chance to build rapport, to make people like your brand because it is useful.
Don’t spoil it for yourself by demanding visitors to convert to gain full access.
Offer additional content or a purchase, but only as a logical next step in the process.
It is much more important that visitors leave your page confident in the knowledge they gained, and with a reinforced positive image of your brand emblazed in their minds.
Vary Your Format
While you mind be tempted to deliver your content in the form of a landing page, don’t.
We mean it.
You will only be undermining yourself.
Make a call-to-action present, but not intrusive.
Use microsites, infographics, specially designed web pages that make the consummation of your content a unique experience.
The point is: Make sure you stand out, so your content cuts through the web clutter and reaches its intended audience.
Content Execution and Amplification
If you know your audience, you know their preferences and their habits.
Work that to your advantage.
Schedule your content at the time it suits the most of your visitors.
Don’t post willy-nilly.
Make a plan: Daily, weekly, or monthly, and stick to it.
Also, market it.
Put in the effort to get your content out there and get it noticed. Social media works great in this respect and provides your content with an opportunity to go viral.
Test and Measure Everything
Take a cue from those optimization marketers, and test your content.
Even though conversion is optional, you want to know what helped get it there.
Testing helps you learn what works and what doesn’t.
It will also help you improve your performance.
If conversions are not a viable metric, measure soft metrics, such as social media shares, visitor behavior, pages viewed, downloads, and email addresses collected.
This will allow you to learn from your mistakes and move forward more confidently.
image credit: shutterstock