Which is better for your business: loyal customers or fleeting, price-based customers? Shoppers can now pull out their phones, scan a barcode, and instantly find a cheaper price for almost any item. This is great news for customers, but it presents a challenge for brands.
The ease with which consumers can compare prices means that their relationship with brands is becoming increasingly transactional, and brands must find new ways to create meaningful relationships with customers. If done correctly, content marketing is a great way to build customer relationships that foster brand loyalty. Content marketing focuses on helping your customers succeed by adding value to your product experience, and it can mean the difference between loyal, relationship-driven customers and one-time customers who base their decisions solely on price.
If you look at businesses that are using content marketing successfully, they are really putting their customers at the forefront of their efforts. American Express has its “Shop Small” campaign, which says very little about AmEx itself. Rather, the campaign helps the company’s small business customers get more people in the doors. The big picture here is that happy, loyal, profitable customers led to increased revenues for AmEx.
When developing a content marketing strategy, follow these three tips for success:
Be Patient: Enjoy Long-Term Results
Content marketing requires patience and a commitment to developing quality content. One of the challenges of content marketing is that it’s a long-term strategy, not one that can simply be turned on and off. Many of the benefits of content marketing are difficult to measure and can only be observed in the long run. Over time, you can expect to see less churn in your existing customer base and a shortened sales cycle. Both of these metrics are driven by having deeper relationships with your customers that are based on an increased level of trust.
Change Your Mindset: It’s About the Customer, Not You
The crux of content marketing (and the reason it works) is that it’s about your customers and their needs — not about your product or company. Customers should feel that their time spent reading the article or watching the webinar was well spent. In turn, the next time customers need information or a product/service in your industry, they’ll come to you first.
Develop Target Market Expertise: Become an Expert on Your Customer
The individuals in each market segment will vary in the types of information they consume — whether it’s written, video, or graphic content — and where they consume it. Identify your target market and create a content marketing strategy that fits their preferences and targets ideal topics, mediums, and publications. In addition, you must understand any barriers to success your customers face so you can help them overcome these barriers through useful content. This will allow you to impact their business in a meaningful way, and they will associate (and credit!) your brand with enabling them be more successful.
While any marketing strategy attempts to increase revenues, the distinct advantage of content marketing is that it generates revenues by creating loyal customers. The result is a long-term return on your investment that will continue to work for you by improving customer relations and growing your bottom line.