Do you spend money on ads and not know the return on investment (ROI) they are giving you?
If the answer is yes, then your small business is behind the curve. Advertising is dead and content marketing is stepping into its place as the number one marketing tool.
The whole premise of traditional advertising is that you are trying to interrupt consumers and get their attention. Your ads are based on hijacking techniques. You need to have something weird, funny or astonishing to get them.
That’s fine, provided it works. But it’s a back-handed kind of manipulation. It’s forcing your sales message onto someone and it coaxes them into a purchase rather than actively helping them.
The problem is the public are ignoring ads. According to veteran adman Dave Trott, 89% of people don't remember or even notice adverts.
That's a complete waste of time, money and resources isn't it?
Since the internet has come along, there has been information overload. We no longer passively gawp at the telly during the ad break. We check Facebook on our smartphones. We watch something on YouTube. Or we just put the kettle on.
There’s such complete information overload that we tune out of adverts. There are so many more exciting to do that we just ignore ads. Subliminally.
The whole success of the Mad Men era in the 60s was based on cheap mass-media advertising. Marketing departments were encouraged to pour as much money as they could into advertising spending. It was considered a safe bet. Marketers would almost certainly see a general rise in sales and correlate it to a new ad campaign.
But as time has gone on, costs have risen, and the effectiveness of ads has dropped. So advertising is no longer a safe bet. It is a lot more risky.
Today, you need to track the impact of your marketing budget and measure the ROI of every piece of content.
You need to justify every pound you spend on your marketing. If you don’t measure the results of what you do, you’re not marketing your business, you’re gambling with it.
As the famous merchant John Wanamaker said in the 19th century: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.”
I’m not saying you should give up on traditional advertising. It certainly does have some value. If you can tell me your newspaper ad has brought in 20 times its cost in profit, then I’d be foolish to say “stop!”. But in many cases, businesses just place ads and hope for the best.
If you look at how the internet has evolved, people are mainly looking for information and entertainment. And your customers have so much stuff to choose from, they want to devour the best stuff out there.
Google’s job is to sort all that information out. If you create brilliant content, Google will put you at the top.
Content marketing is about giving something valuable to people for free. Whether that’s a guide, a book, a video, an article ... it has become an essential part of modern marketing.
With content marketing, your company is connecting with clients. It’s not about dragging them kicking and screaming into your sales pipeline. It’s about giving them information. Winning trust. Making your leads warm and happy. Letting them climb through your sales process at a pace that suits them. Attracting and nurturing them, rather than screaming at them.
And that’s why you need to be doing content marketing — because the power of your ads is waning all the time.
Using the right tool for the job is important in any business, and it is no different in the world of content.
Valuable content is an essential part of any marketing strategy. From basics like websites through to business books, a portfolio of good content can become a valuable toolkit for your business.
Not every business will need all the tools, it’s about getting the communications mix right for you and your customers. Understand how your customers like you to communicate with them, and talk to them that way.
Website: Pack it full of value. Make it a hub of useful resources for your clients. The answers should all be there. Needs to engage. Keep it up to date.
Articles: Give away some of your hard-earned knowledge and show thought-leadership. Generate interest and understanding in return. A business blog is a fantastic way to publish and share your articles.
Whitepapers: Positioned somewhere in between a magazine article and an academic paper, this powerful form of content can super-charge your thought-leadership efforts.
Newsletters: Keep in touch. Short, sweet, relevant. Should be regular.
Social media: Join the community. Be seen. Social media offers a good way of showing what you know. Interact and make yourself useful. Twitter and LinkedIn are among the best.
Email marketing: The best campaigns are targeted, responsive and useful. Email can be a clever way of carrying on the conversation with potential buyers.
Case studies: The kings of content. Make sure yours show potential clients exactly how you help people like them.
A business book: If case studies are the kings of content, business books are the Masters of the Universe. Sure fire way of positioning yourself as an authority in your field. Big commitment to create, with bigger pay-off if you get it right.
What collection of content tools is right for your business?
By Sonja Jefferson and Sharon Tanton
In his article 'Why 8% of sales people get 80% of the sales' Donut expert and founder of Marketing Wizdom, Robert Clay reminds us of the importance of good 'follow up'. His research shows that only 2% of sales occur at the first meeting; the other 98% will only happen once a certain level of trust has been established. Incredibly, only 20% of sales leads are ever followed up - that's a shining pile of potential opportunity lost without a trace. For small businesses, what is the best way to keep contact with prospects after sales meetings? What communications strategy can you employ to show customers that your proposed approach is the right one for them? Effective follow up does not mean pushy closing and constant demands for orders or appointments. It's a different mindset: an ongoing dialogue; gently building rapport and proving your expertise, not bashing down doors. At the heart of this approach is good content - meaningful, useful communication that helps to build trust in the eyes of your potential customers, keeping you top-of-mind. Here are 5 examples of useful content you can send to prospects when following up sales meetings:
This is where marketing can really help sales. Produce powerful, customer-focused, helpful content that your sales teams can use to keep contact with customers until they are ready to buy.