By Ken Kelly, Kelly Roofing.
Forget everything you knew about marketing. There’s a new trend sweeping the world and shaking the foundation of what we all know works. It’s called content marketing, and it is for real.
Content marketing differs from traditional marketing in its customer communication approach. Traditional marketing relied on disruption and attention-grabbing tactics. Content marketing focuses on providing benefit to the consumer during his or her time of research and helping the customer make a good buying decision.
Companies that understand content marketing start by changing the structure of their business. They no longer have one department for sales and another department for marketing. In order to deliver excellent UX, or user experience, these departments and positions are being combined into a new trend called “smarketing.” Smarketing departments and smarketing managers ensure that the company’s message is unified through all channels at all customer contact points. Let’s look at specific ways smarketers are using content marketing to succeed.
Traditional vs. Content Marketing
Quantity of leads vs. quality of leads. It used to be all about the number of leads marketing was able to drive into the company. It was then up to the sales team to work its magic and pressure the customer into a decision. Well, not anymore. Today’s customers do 63 percent of their large-purchase research prior to engaging with a company. Content marketing provides customers the information they are looking for, thus focusing on only those who are about to buy.
Marketing budget increase vs. competition score. Considered fact, it is a wide-held view that increasing the amount of money spent in marketing directly increases the company’s sales. Not true. There are market limits. An easy example would be trying to increase sales in your service and repair department. If it’s not raining, roofs aren’t leaking. It doesn’t matter how much money you dump into marketing. If there isn’t a need, sales will not increase. Content marketing focuses on winning every one of those customers who do have a leak, when they have them. Save your money and increase your win rate by directly targeting those customers at a time of need with helpful information that the customer will find truly beneficial.
Volume vs. targeted user. Not a week goes by where we don’t receive a spam email from some SEO expert promising to increase our website’s performance. Given the opportunity, they really can make it look as though your site is better, bigger and generating more traffic. But, is traffic really leads? Or, better yet, does increased traffic directly equate to an increased number for jobs won? Not in this case, no. So, when you review your KPIs, or key performance indicators, with your marketing team, don’t get excited when you see traffic increasing. Content marketers would look at only one metric: did it help us win more jobs? The key isn’t to blindly rank higher or increase Web size. The key is to target specific customer types so that they find exactly what they are looking for.
Amount of content vs. quality of content. I used to think it was important to provide customers all the information they could possibly need on our website. The concept was simple; if they have everything they are looking for, the customers won’t need to go elsewhere. However, it didn’t take long for my own consumer behavior to change my opinion on this. We are all busy and time is an increasingly more valuable resource. Consumers don’t want to go looking for things. They want it served up in a way that is easily digestible and actionable. Essentially, less is more. Content marketing is all about being concise and giving customers exactly what they will find useful. This concept doesn’t stop at websites either. Make sure your entire marketing message is concise and easy for the customer to benefit from.
Social activity vs. social media demographics. If you’re like many people trying to use social media for promotion, there is an air of confusion where to invest resources. Mastering social media is all about knowing your client’s demographics. Women tend to enjoy Pinterest. Google+ has an active user base of 73 percent males. Business owners focus their time on LinkedIn. Each of these social media streams has a different style of communication. To create a content marketing strategy, target your potential customers by creating specific campaigns that speak directly to each of their needs in the area they spend time.
Specifications vs. A/B testing. A high-quality content marketing strategy ignores jargon, specifications and promotional brochures. Content marketing focuses on quality original content, good design, frequent updates, and concise, omni-channel, responsive and truly beneficial deliverables that customers use to educate themselves on the path to good decision making.
Contact us vs. strong call to action (CTA). Every site has a “contact us” page, and it should. This is reserved for more general communications. Smarketing managers are using content marketing principles and making it easy for the customer to do business with their companies. One simple way is by creating strong CTAs. Each piece of content should have a link to gain more information or to enlist help. There is an entire science behind consumer behavior that goes into creating great CTAs. Everything from color, font, typeset, wording, images, layout, placement and size should be studied and considered when creating CTAs.
Note: This article is a condensed version of the one first published in Roofing Contractor Magazine and the full article can be viewed here.