By Ritchie Hale
Whether your profit and loss report was stellar or a stumper, increasing your business’s sales is a continuous (if not quarterly) concern. So, you’ve donned your trench coat and sunglasses and done some snooping on the competition.
Along the way, you probably noticed that your biggest competitors in the B2C retail landscape are making space on their websites for blogs or newsrooms, infographics and e-books. However, their readers don’t need a subscription and the content has no paywall. So, why are they spending time and money to deliver this content? Before you think “they’re spinning their wheels” and smirk—take a closer look.
Why content marketing? Customer-centricity and a personalized purchasing journey.
Just like Amazon, Apple, and Wal-Mart—the three kings of e-commerce—Forrester also provides a blog. There we find Forrester calling this era “The Age of the Customer.” But what does this really mean? For one, if you’re not focusing on the needs and expectations of your customer, you’re will lose them. Second, you must provide relevant content on your products or services so consumers can do their homework, regardless of whether you’re an e-tailer or a brick and mortar retailer.
“Consumers are 5x more dependent on content than they were 5 years ago.”
How do you capitalize on what you know about your customers?
Content can attract readers at the top of the marketing funnel through interesting, attractive articles which can tie back to products you sell through customer-relevant material. Content should demonstrate a close understanding of your market’s needs, wants, problems and aspirations.
Consider fashion vlogger Tess Christine. In just three days, her vlog GET THE LOOK: ARIANA GRANDE | 2017 Outfits for Less has crested a half-million views. Her sponsored videos tap into consumer desires to look like a celebrity or popular character. Less obviously, they directly encourage the use of products sold by her sponsors, driving up demand in a general or product-specific way. Images of Revlon brushes, Armani foundation creams and powders are sprinkled throughout the beautification and lookalike videos.
33% of millennials rely mostly on blogs before they make a purchase,
compared to fewer than 3% for TV news, magazines and books.
Content should help them pass through the marketing funnel.
As you can see, one of the most important reason to use content marketing at the top of funnel is audience building. By attracting potential leads through measurable interest in relevant topics, businesses gradually build and discover consistent middle of funnel audiences. Tracking gives insight into which topics are driving your leads and powers middle of funnel nurturing and content campaigns.
As consumers take their own journey from the top to the bottom of the funnel, explainers, infographics, and comparison content can help refine their search for the perfect purchase. You can present the pros and cons of competitor products to your own, or simply compare and contrast your business’s various product offerings. This shows you care about your consumers because you are interested in helping them find the right purchase.
A great example in home entertainment is the TV Buying Guide found in the content for Best Buy. It lays out different specifications, discusses the merits and drawbacks of either-or options, and prepares them for the bottom-of-funnel and purchasing stage.
In parallel to helping your shoppers, content offerings build loyalty and knowledge of your customer. Lead-gated content captures information useful to marketing campaigns and gives insight into customer interests and concerns. Even better, customers who find the right content will return for more expertise on subjects they care about and additional research on products they need, all adding up to strong brand loyalty.
Why are they building content marketing? Because customers expect
your business to show you know them, what they want, and
that you can anticipate their needs.
The key to content marketing and other marketing strategies is knowing your customer.
Without knowing your customers’ purchasing history, lifestyle preferences and commerce habits, marketing campaigns of any kind will have little chance of being relevant or well-targeted. Beyond content marketing, marketing the right products through other channels like email campaigns and point-of-sale cross-sell and up-sells can be frustrating. Even worse, offering irrelevant products reflects a poor relationship with and poor understanding of the customer, decreasing brand loyalty.
TouchCR can give a 360-view of your customers. Enhanced customer profiles built from over 80 different data points give you the insight you need to suggest products, inspire content campaigns, and even adjust their journey to match changes in their consumer behavior. Drill down to the individual customer level for insights into micro-journeys, up-sells and cross-sells and ideas for content that will keep them coming back again and again. Learn how TouchCR can unify scattered data in real-time to create actionable insights for your business and get the most value out of your customers. Contact TouchCR today to schedule a demo.