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what is content marketing?

Tags: Content Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Lead generation, target market, buyer personas

Content marketing is a strategic online technique to attract new customers, generate leads and drive sales that goes hand in hand with inbound marketing. Content marketing may seem like a relatively new marketing technique but in fact it has been around for longer than you think. The term refers to the creation and distribution of relevant, valuable and informative content produced for your target market at different stages of the sales funnel. This may be in the form of a blog, eBook, whitepaper, video, infographic, case study or podcast. If your business objective is to generate online leads, convert online traffic into customers, increase web traffic and/or i  sales, then content marketing is certainly worth the time and effort.

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The reality of reaching, attracting and converting customers is becoming more and more digitalised than ever before. This is due to a shift in buyer behaviour in which customers are actively searching the internet and gathering information before they make a final purchase decision. This is where the sales funnel comes into place. Producing content is not a once off task or a once every now and again task. It is a long-term marketing strategy and forms an integral component in your marketing plan.

The sales funnel includes three stages:

  1. Top of the funnel (awareness) - consists of unqualified prospects who are seeking educational content to build their knowledge and awareness on a need or issue.
  2. Middle of the funnel (consideration) - at this stage prospects seeking for solutions now that they have a greater understanding of their issue.
  3. Bottom of funnel (decision) - at this stage the prospect ready to finalise their purchase decision and close the sale.

Driving prospects down the sales funnel with targeted content is key to converting leads. Every piece of content must convey value to the reader and have a strategy plan behind it. The value is what helps the reader to build their understanding of their issue or need, as well as provide solutions/answers to their issue or need. Value forms the core element in driving the prospect along the sales funnel and helps set you apart from your competitors. Content that comes across as 'salesy' and/or 'information dumping' will be overlooked by your prospects, limiting the opportunity to attract and convert the right leads.

Content strategy and planning enables you to clearly define your buyer personas to better understand their buyer's journey. A buyer persona is a 'semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer' based on information you have collated about your current customers. Segmenting your target audience into these groups helps you to tailor the right content to the right people. Your prospects will perceive you as a trusted resource in the subject topic of your industry and will encourage them to come back for more.

Once you have a solid content marketing strategy in place, the next step is to develop your inbound marketing strategy. The two go hand in hand. Inbound marketing is a powerful lead generation tool for driving your content to the right audience. An inbound marketing strategy focuses on methods that are needed to convert a lead into a customer, such as landing pages, calls-to-action and forms are some examples. Methods like these allow you to gather important information about the lead and helps determine how valuable the lead is to your business. For this process to work effectively it is important to have a centralised marketing database or a marketing automation tool to keep track of leads.

Distribution also plays a vital role towards executing a successful content marketing strategy. Distributing the right content across the right channels will deliver greater results and potentially have greater impact on ROI. Social media is a powerful tool for sharing content. Each platform, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn serves a different purpose and for a different audience. This assists in maximising your reach potential building your brand awareness. Search engines also reward quality content. Posting content frequently to your website is great for SEO as it improves ranking on keywords, increases web traffic and allows you to get found organically. Paid channels such as Facebook, YouTube and Google AdWords are other great avenues for getting your content in front of more people, if you have a budget to pay for paid reach. 

Remember content is king. Sharing content that is compelling enough to trigger customer interaction and engagement will help you build the value and credibility of your brand as well as developing strong customer relationships. Content writing takes time, yet provides both short-term and long-term benefits including increased profits, cost savings and more customers.

If you need assistance in developing a content marketing strategy or want to increase your lead conversion contact Fit 4 Market.

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 Fit 4 Market are specialist marketing consultants operating in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth