I love content marketing and believe in its value. I think every business should be developing a content marketing strategy and consistently create content that targets their perfect buyer.
That said, I also have to admit that there’s a lot of content out there and not all of it good.
Last year, Hubspot, a content marketing machine if there ever was one, put out a slide deck that included some interesting stats. For instance:
- In 1998, the average consumer saw or heard 1 million marketing messages – almost 3,000 per day. That was 15 years ago – before smartphones, Facebook, Twitter… (Source: Fast Company)
- 63% of consumers need to hear company claims 3-5x before they actually believe it. (Source: Edelman Trust Barometer)
- Nearly 3/4 (73%) of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content (e.g. offers, ads, promotions) appears that has nothing to do with their interests. (Source: Janrain & Harris Interactive)
- Personalized emails improve clickthrough rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10%. (Source: Aberdeen)
- In-house marketers who do personalize their web experiences, and are able to quantify the improvement, see a 19% uplift in sales on average. (Source: Monetate & eConsultancy)
These stats show a very interesting pattern. People want content that relates to what they want to know about.
Should be obvious, right?
But it doesn’t seem that way. In fact, many businesses feature either content that doesn’t position themselves as an expert in their field or bland information that really doesn’t help their buyer.
What does your buyer really want?
Let’s start with a few things your buyer doesn’t want:
- Sales pitches that only focus on features
- Unhelpful entertainment-style content
- Overly complex language or concepts
- Valuable information hidden behind walls
- Outdated information or web pages that no longer work
Your buyer is looking for content that will make a difference in their life. And they don’t have time to waste. One look at a website that has outdated information, for instance or pages that obviously haven’t been refreshed in a long time are a quick way to get your buyers to click away and visit your competitor’s site.
Here are five ways to give your buyer what they want:
#1 – Content that makes life easier or better
If you’re selling yourself as a voice-over talent, then featuring videos that demonstrate how to improve one’s speaking voice would be very valuable, especially if it was positioned to help an executive make presentations.
What does your buyer want? Ask her. Check out message boards, reviews, comment boxes, social media… anywhere your buyer hangs out and listen. If you have an opportunity to ask a question, ask and then carefully pay attention to the responses.
Your buyer often is talking but few are listening. This happens on Twitter all the time. Check out hashtags that focus on your industry and then create a customized search column using a social media tool like Hootsuite. You may be amazed how often your buyer is sending out messages about what interests her.
#2 – Content that goes beyond entertainment
It’s tempting to want to create a clever video with the hopes it will go viral. But restrain yourself. There are plenty of entertaining videos out there but most of them are forgettable. Your buyer likes videos but videos that add value to their life.
Skip pulling together your crew to create a spin-off from Avicii’s “Wake Me Up.” Instead, create a lifehacking video. Or a video that features unique ways to use your product. And videos that feature a current customer giving a testimonial is one of the most powerful pieces of content you can create. This type of content is what will compel your buyer to invest in your solution.
#3 – Content that is easy to understand
One of the top mistakes I see businesses make with their website is to feature complex language and concepts in their web copy and marketing collateral.
Your solution offering may be complex but it’s your job to make it easily understood. Your buyer is just asking you for the time. Not for every tiny gear mechanism behind the clock.
Now granted, there are times you do want to pull back the curtain to brag on your high-quality components. But typically, a buyer wants to get the gist of what you offer, how it solves a problem, and how dependable a solution it is within just a few minutes of visiting your website.
Show your copy to a ten-year old. If they get it, you’re on the right track.
#4 – Content that is easy to reach
One of the most frustrating things for a buyer is to land on a website and have a few, scraggly pieces of old blog posts hanging about while all the good stuff is hidden behind a paywall.
A paywall prevents Internet visitors from accessing content without a subscription. Some companies have placed most of their valuable content behind such a wall. The only way a person can get what they need is if they join the community.
This is the equivalent of asking a total stranger to marry you because you both like the same color. Your buyer would like to get to know you first before making such a commitment. Plus, you won’t generate many leads by insisting that a mildly interested buyer be placed in the same box as someone half-way through the sales process.
Make sure you have a variety of valuable content available without having to join your site or give personal information before being given the keys to the kingdom. Give your buyer a chance to fall in love with you before tying the knot.
#5 – Content that is current
An abandoned blog is a bleak thing, indeed. It’s like an old house, boarded up with a few broken windows, evidence that no one lives there anymore. It’s sad and a little spooky.
Do you really want a buyer to see a page that features your conference agenda from 2010? Or a Twitter stream that shows the most recent update as June 5, 2013? It gives the impression that you just don’t care.
It is far more preferable to have less social media channels that are updated on a regular basis than a wide variety of them that are barely touched. Determine what is feasible for your business. Usually a blog, Twitter, Facebook and/or Google+ is doable.
Your buyer is looking for relevant content. That means you need to keep up with the trends and developments in your industry. The more current you are, the more your buyer will feel they can trust your expertise. After all, who trusts a so-called expert when their content relies on information from the 90’s?
Also make sure your web pages work so your buyer doesn’t get the dreaded “404 Error” page. Review your web pages to catch any old information that is no longer valid. We know the search engines love a constantly refreshed website. Make yours shine by consistently posting new content.
Your buyer is looking for a business that “gets” her. Featuring relevant, helpful content that fulfills a need is a powerful way to show her you do.