Brands are not all bling-bling and my-name-is-all-you-need-to-be-cool anymore. Fame for it’s own sake doesn’t cut it. A good product isn’t enough to ensure business success (though a poor product is likely sure to induce a company’s demise). A company needs to have depth and meaning in their community, be that community small or large. A business needs personality, whatever that may be. Real people need to show themselves from behind the professional curtain.
The time and effort it took to get from customer need to need-satisfied used to be quite an ordeal. Decreasing that friction, or “frictionless” as it is often referred to, is the goal that gets the conversion. When the customer wants the product and it is easy to buy, the occurrence of purchase increases. Think of all the friction eased by sales via the internet. Remember when EBay came along? Now think about how mobile search is changing how people meet their needs. New to the frictionless category: Voice Search. And it continues.
How frictionless is your customers’ experience?
Pretty Happy People Holding Hands
Have you noticed that Coca-Cola doesn’t just show pretty happy people drinking their product anymore? A shift is underway, and watching what some big guns are doing can be really helpful. This is part of the “push-sales” change to “pull-service” marketing. You have likely heard it phrased as “inbound” marketing (coined by Hubspot not too many years ago).
Your New Publishing Company
The shift from in-your-face marketing to informed-teaching is a process that is gaining momentum. “Content is king” they say. But what do they mean by that?
“Brands like Coca Cola changed their marketing focus from creative excellence to content excellence. Other companies like Red Bull took this revolution seriously and created a 150 person publishing company hidden somewhere in the mountains of Austria. The drink company is becoming a media company,” explains Jeff Bullas (jeffbullas.com). “The phrases and the words that are trotted out include: think like a publisher, inbound marketing, be authentic and engage.”
You might not have thought about it this way before, but no matter what business you are in, you need be a publisher too – or at least have a publishing division (also know as “marketing”).
Your New Movie Company
Haven’t read up on video and business? Read my recent post here. Videos are 12 times more likely to be watched than text is to be read. Human brains are wired for video. 90% of information that’s transmitted to the brain is visual. Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text. One minute of video contains the equivalent of 1.8 million words. Check out the blog post all about video and why your business needs it.
Visual and Snack Size
Hello Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope and Meercat. You have engaging content and video, but is it prepared for the way your customers want to consume it? The golden word: “Traffic”. You know you want it. The action starts at discovery. Where people see your business and go to it, whether it is your website, blog or online store.
Traffic is earned. You’ve earned it through building relationships on your social media. You can also do this through search engines, and you want to. The challenge is, earned traffic takes time and effort. If you aren’t willing to work for it, your aren’t going to reap the rewards. Traffic can also be paid for, but not all. Buying traffic through ads accelerates the discovery process. All your other goods and content need to be in place to keep that earned status. Says Bullas, “Big brands have the budget to buy that all important attention. Smaller brands are stuck between little budget and little time as they struggle to both work in the business and market the brand. But the emerging truth is that paying for traffic on social networks is now almost essential. The free social media lunch is slowly slipping away.”
Jeff Bullas also has this advice on the varied and inexact science of gaining traffic:
- The catchy and tempting headline that gets shared on social networks that get’s clicked
- On Twitter its that visual content. It could be that mini-infographic that captures the eye as it streams past in theTwitter stream that gets shared
- On Facebook it’s the quote turned into a visual image
- That short vine video embedded on Twitter
- A visual banner and headline that turns up on your Facebook profile that is a re-targeted
- An entertaining or educational video on Youtube
Engagement translated into digital-speak? Content. “Engagement doesn’t pay the bills but building trust and credibility with your prospects is essential. A blog post at first glance doesn’t produce sales. But this is where they start to see that you know your stuff,” notes Bullas. “You can be trusted to deliver value.” Create content that is long and slow-burning. Make it the meaningful conversation that lasts.
What does that look like? (Bullas)
- Instructional videos
- Case studies
- How to’s
- White papers
“Want deeper engagement… then produce some long form content.”
The content you give out to the world needs to show precisely “who” you are. Who are the real (and likable) people who make the company? Add in the “why” too. Why you are unique, why you are better than your competition. Finally, “what you do”, as in what that product is that people just can’t live without.
So you’ve got online “buzz” and brand awareness, and leads and sales. You are thinking you are on your way.
But Are You Real?
You’ve got the who-what-why answered and engagement is good… But that’s not all. Your product and company need to have meaning and make the world better for existing. You gotta have heart. Your business must be building relationships. The empty tin-men of business are all rusting out. Does your business have a beating heart?
Conversion (Insert Fireworks here.)
“It all comes down to leads and sales,” says Bullas. A business doesn’t survive without them. Build relationships and do all the social media & videos, but if you don’t complete the process, you won’t be around long either. “Conversion is a multi-step process. The more expensive the product the longer the journey. It starts with discovery, then moves to engaging the prospect and then the final link is conversion. The sale can happen on-line or off-line,” says Bullas. “Without doing this the rest is just noise and busyness.”
It Comes Down To Two Steps. Don’t underestimate how challenging they are. 1. You need to capture that lead. 2. You need to convert it into a sale.
Here are Bullas’ points on what you need for conversion: “Content needs to be woven into the whole journey from discovery to conversion. But hard nosed conversion requires a bunch of content.”
- Well designed landing pages that have high converting “calls to action”
- Webinars that educate
- Copywriting that convinces
- Educational videos embedded in landing pages in the conversion sequence that build connection and credibility.
- Testimonials from happy customers
- Bonus PDF’s
- Books and ebooks
Reminder: On all those pieces of content, you need clear and simple calls to action. You need them everywhere. “Content is the glue in all the steps, adds Bullas. “It needs to be strategic.”
Where is your business at in this content marketing journey? Where do you want to be?