How many businesses can you think of that a customer interacts with on a daily basis? (Starbucks maybe?) There aren’t too many.
If you’re a doctor, you see the same patient once a year for their annual check-up. If you’re a house painter, you see the same customer once every four or five years. If you’re a wedding photographer, it’s even less often.
If that describes your business, then between now and the next time you see that customer (or get a referral from them), it would be kind of…awkward to continually promote your services to them.
But, at the same time, you can’t just drop off their radar. That would completely violate The Law of Consistency. You’ve got to remain in their life and on their mind (“top of mind,” as we marketers like to say).
Luckily, there’s a way to do that without becoming a nuisance. And it’s a total win-win for everybody too.
Content marketing is how you keep your name in front of your customers without selling to them. The “content” in content marketing is any information that’s interesting and helpful to your customer.
By giving your customers information they enjoy and look forward to getting, you create an ongoing relationship with the person, in addition to the less frequent relationship with the customer.
Content marketing can come in a lot of different forms, both online and off. UK-based paint and wallpaper supplier Farrow & Ball created a completely separate website called The Chromologist (the term for someone who interprets color) which provides content for people who are passionate about color (their target audience)—and not just in terms of paint. Another is made-for-action video camera maker GoPro, which creates and posts tons of action video…and even welcomes customers to upload their own GoPro videos, which other users can then access, edit, and compile into their own videos. That’s not just content marketing; it’s a content community.
These approaches work because the content is important, inspiring, or exciting to customers.
How to Get Started with Content Marketing
Step 1: Identify your customer
Sit down and write a description of your typical customer—also known as a customer avatar or customer persona. Ask yourself these questions:
- What is their age?
- Where to they live?
- What is their annual income?
- Marital status?
From these questions (and depending on your niche, you might think of more, which is okay), you will come up with a statement of the customer persona, such as “Ernie is in his early 20s, lives in Los Angeles, is unmarried, has no children, is a career person, and makes $30,000.”
Step 2: Identify Actions and Interests
Put yourself in Ernie’s shoes for a minute. What’s his average day like? What might he need help with?
- Drives to work
- Pays rent
- Is dating or is interested
- Goes to parties and/or happy hour
- Often eats out or on the go
- Looking to move up, make more money
Look at what you come up with. Then compare it to the things you’re an expert at that you could assist Ernie with. Of course, you want it to be something that’s related in some way to your business.
Step 3: Choose Your Channel(s)
Now it’s time to pick the best way to reach your customers with your content. For a company like GoPro, who makes video cameras, online video was the obvious choice but most businesses opt to put written content out on one or more of these channels:
- Email newsletter
- Snail mail newsletter
- Postcard series
To get even more bang out of your content marketing, make sure the different channels are integrated: Your postcards should urge people to sign up for your newsletter. Your newsletter should mention your blog. Your emails should—you get the idea. But you don’t have jump in all at once. Start with one channel and build it from there.
Once you’ve done Steps 1, 2, and 3, then it’s time to start writing. Remember, you’re writing for your customer’s benefit, not your own, so sincerely focus on delivering a meaningful and valuable content experience to them.
Then send your content out!
Lastly, you’re going to want to monitor your results, to ensure that the content is really “hitting home” with your customers. You could also just go directly to them with a survey to find out what they really want to read about.
Do these things and you will succeed in keeping yourself “top of mind” with your customers. They will appreciate it and will pay you back with the next sale or referral.
You can get a trial content market postcard campaign out the door right from our web-to-print platform right now. It’s easy!
But if you need a hand getting your campaign off the ground, call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109; they can create custom campaigns and plan it all out for you!