How Content Marketing can grow your business
1. People buy what they understand
The biggest assumption in business is that the market understands what you are selling and how it will add value to their life or business. The reality is that most people don’t. In this age of digital technology, even the most benign and common aspects of our life involve products that are complex and change so quickly that they are superseded before most people even understand the previous incarnation.
Every aspect of life has become complex and confusing. Common sense should make it clear that any business that wants to remain relevant and valued needs to make customer education a significant part of their marketing strategy.
2. Content Marketing differentiates businesses
Most industries are over-serviced and highly commodifed, which means there are a lot of businesses with very little differentiating them. To the consumer or business buyer, this usually dilutes the buying decision down to buying on price, because there is no other premise to make a decision from.
Real Estate is a classic example. There is no shortage of agents, each with their own unique brand image. But to the consumer, there is really nothing that differentiates the capabilities of one from the other. Agents that use information products such as newsletters to educate their market are able to successfully position themselves as experts, purely because they have an information strategy and their competitors don’t. The articles also generate enquires from inquisitive readers. Invariably, this often leads to an all important listing.
In marketing, perception is reality. If you are educating your market and your competitors don’t, then you become the expert by default.
3. Content Marketing creates referrals
Information marketing can be a powerful referral tool. Information that is unique and valued by one reader is also very likely to be valued by someone they know.
People love to give other people information that makes them look good and will generally benefit the recipient, whether it’s a family member, work colleague or friend. People you have never met can become the best referral generating mechanism you have, IF you provide quality content.
4. People value informative content
You only need to look through history to understand that humans have always valued information. The greater the access to information, the more empowered people feel and the less inclined they are to divest their thinking to others, whether it’s the influence of political powers or the endless influence of advertising messages.
From the moment the printing press was invented, and information began being disseminated throughout the world, so began an intellectual awakening and an empowerment of people, regardless of class or race. The more informed people become, the more egalitarian the world became.
We are in an age when virtually anyone can gain knowledge about anything. Even just a few decades ago, these possibilities were merely pondered. Now, it is our reality – a way of life.
5. People buy from businesses they like and trust
Trust is difficult to establish with prospective customers who have never dealt with you before. There is nothing to base the trust on unless they know someone who has bought from you previously. Information helps to build a foundation of trust. By giving people information that they find useful and informative creates the logical perception that if you can write knowledgeable content, you can probably do it just as well. It validates your capability claims.
If the prospect is updated with information content on a regular basis, such as through an email or printed newsletter, then they begin to feel as though they know you and understand how you operate. As with any relationship, the better we know people and the more we know about them, the more likely we are to like and trust them.
6. People prefer to deal with experts
It makes perfect sense that customers want the best that money can buy. But choosing the best is often just a matter of chance, particularly with services.
Smart business owners are using Information Marketing to build a personal brand and a perception in the market place that they are on top of their game. A book, white papers, a published article, even a quality newsletter or content rich web site help to boost this perception as an expert. Notice how people that appear on the Oprah show with a book go from obscurity to international expert (and instant millionaire) almost overnight. This is Information Marketing at its best.
You don’t need to have a best seller to be considered an expert. If you are providing your market with information and your competitors aren’t, then you are in the winner’s seat already.
7. Content Marketing is about Relationships
Many marketers refer to Content Marketing as Relationship Marketing, and for good reason. In modern business, the primary function of marketing is about creating a dialogue and building a relationship with customers and prospects. An ongoing dialogue which is based on the frequent delivery of new and relevant information will, over time, build a sense of trust, understanding and a desire to buy a product or use a service.
Information is also a passive form of advertising that doesn’t tell the prospect to do anything, but by informing them through expertly crafted messages, they quickly reach the conclusion that they actually need what you have to sell. An outcome that ‘tell’ style advertising rarely achieves, particularly in low budget small business advertising.
8. People are cynical about what businesses have to say about themselves
Modern consumers have become extremely cynical about what businesses have to say about themselves. Basically they just don’t believe it, and for good reason. The claims are rarely validated and often lack objectivity.
What they do believe is facts and information that help them solve a problem or get what they want in their life or business. If you get the content right in your Information Marketing, your product or service becomes the obvious solution.