Content Marketing: How to Connect with Customers
Years ago, marketing guru Seth Godin coined the term “permission marketing.” Traditional methods, he wrote, such as television commercials that cut into a TV show or Internet pop-ups that interfere with a website, have become less effective in the modern world where consumers are overloaded with information.
Instead of interrupting consumers with messages they don’t want, Permission Marketing is about having permission to connect with customers, giving them information they actually want, and developing longterm relationships.
It’s the basic idea behind the content marketing methods that are so popular today.
What is Content Marketing?
In content marketing, companies produce content their customers will find interesting and engaging. This might be inside information about a new product line, a sneak peek at next year’s fashions, or an exclusive interview with a company’s CEO.
People connect with their favorite brands, and actually want to know more about them. Content Marketing is simply a way to fill that need.
It can take many forms. Common types of content include how-to articles, newsletters, press releases, webinars, slideshare presentations, podcasts, infographics, and pretty much anything else that can a) be published online and b) will engage and interest customers.
As for web videos (one of the more popular types of content), there are many different video formats to consider. Web videos can be anything from simple product demonstrations to elaborate animations, behind-the-scenes stories, employee videos, factory tours, industry expert roundtables, interviews, testimonials and more.
When it comes to creating content, the only constraint is your own imagination.
How to Connect with Customers
How can engaging content help you connect with customers? Here are some examples:
Conditioned Air – Cool Blogging
Conditioned Air is a Florida-based company that specializes in air conditioning products. For several years now, Conditioned Air has been running a successful and highly effective blog. Every post is educational, and offers fantastic reader value.
Conditioned Air’s blog is a noteworthy example of how marketers can use relevant content, promoted across social media and search engines, to engage customers and build business.
Blogging is one of the most cost effective ways to start out with content marketing. It is also an evergreen form of content, meaning once a blog post is published, it can potentially keep bringing in customers for a long time.
The Home Depot – Viral Video Marketing
Home Depot was also one of the early adopters of content marketing. With a hugely successful YouTube channel, they offer step-by-step instructional videos covering a wide range of DIY topics.
Their videos deliver incredible value to people who need help tackling DIY projects they otherwise would not be able to complete. The Home Depot YouTube channel is a textbook example of how to engage and connect with customers through content marketing and potentially expand your customer base.
BuildEazy – A Plan to Upsell
BuildEazy is an online vendor of building plans. They offer plans for everything from Adirondack chairs to dog houses, and attract visitors to their website by running a company blog.
BuildEazy goes further with content value than simply attracting visitors to their blog, though. They offer every one of the plans they sell on their website completely free. No catch. However, visitors can only view the plans online. If you want to download a plan or print a hard copy, you have to pay a small fee.
Glass Depots USA – Try Before You Buy
Glass Depots USA sells a broad range of glass products, including shower enclosures, mirrors, sliding doors, replacement table tops and pretty much anything else made of glass.
The company runs a company blog, and offers instructional videos on their website. But the feature that makes this site noteworthy is their custom configure tool. Site visitors can custom configure their shower enclosure online. They can choose the style, color, texture and fittings for their shower enclosure, and see a preview.
This is a great example of effective, non-traditional content. It’s easy to use, gives something back to the customer instantly, and drives sales.
Content Marketing Effectiveness
Content marketing has proven to deliver an incredible ROI compared to traditional marketing methodologies such as direct marketing and advertising. According to Demand Metric, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates three times as many leads.
Independent research by Convince Your Boss (CYB) has shown this averages out to a savings of $14 per qualified lead over direct marketing for most companies.
Even a simple content strategy such as starting a company blog can have massive benefits. The same research by CYB shows that 82% of companies that start a blog for marketing reasons see a positive ROI. And according to Hubspot, companies that blog 15 or more times a month generate five times more website traffic than companies that don’t blog.
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