How a content marketing strategy wins new business
We've already covered 'what is content marketing' in a previous blog. Here we'll look at content marketing strategy and the routes you can take to winning more business with a great content marketing strategy.
Content marketing works best when intertwined with the prospects buyer journey. What we'll do here is follow the types of the customer buyer journey and give examples of how an overarching content marketing strategy can win business at each stage.
In this stage the customer is experiencing an issue and is looking around at what that issue may be, to give it a clear name and defined diagnosis.
In my industry, of businesses services, it may be that a business is not making enough sales. They will look at whether their sales process is broken, whether marketing is doing enough work, whether the market landscape has changed or if competitor activity is driving them out of the market.
If they go down the route that they believe marketing isn't working hard enough they may go into a second level Awareness diagnosis. Is it the website, the emails, post or brand image that is putting people off?
In my industry 9/10 the cause they diagnose is wrong and we have to go back a step but putting that aside, the fact is content marketing works here very easily.
A checklist 'How to fix your broken marketing' or 'How to increase sales with marketing' would appeal to a potential customer experiencing these issues. A free marketing diagnostic may also appeal, even a blog article '10 ways to tell if your marketing is working hard enough' would attract potential customers.
The prospect at this stage may go online and, in exasperation, type a very long-tail search (the titles of the first two guides are examples), they may even search 'How can I increase sales?'. The battleground is being present for those early searches.
Consideration & Decision Stage
In this stage the buyer is aware of their problem and it is clearly defined. They are now looking at solutions that best meet their requirements. Even now there is a sub-journey that they go on, which content influences, that flows through into decision making and purchase.
The McKinsey decision making journey best shows the active steps a customer goes through when looking for a solution to their problem.
Taking our previous example the business that slipped past Awareness stage content marketing would have likely decided on a solution - it just might not be the right one.
If they want a new website, and have low awareness of suppliers, they'll Google 'web designers' or 'web design agency' and whoever has the best SEO will likely get an enquiry. They may feel they need marketing strategy and will search 'marketing consultants' or they'll need social media management and will search for that. However, if they have high awareness of suppliers they may go straight to Google and type 'Vanguard 86', 'Done by Friday' or another web agency they know of. Both outcomes can be assisted by content marketing as SEO is influenced by content on your website.
Even in the consideration stage content marketing can help you win more business. Having a case study that shows you've successfully delivered similar projects before might give your prospect peace of mind, even if you're more expensive.
Many people will say that the key to content marketing is telling a story. In my opinion having a narrative is more important. You are telling a story but in my mind that involves the typical story structure of having a beginning, middle and an end. The beginning covering a problem, the middle explaining the solution and the end explaining why you are the solution provider.
You may find developing these strategies, and implementing them over time, challenging. Why not discover more about content marketing here?