3 steps to achieve better marketing performance
Content marketing (CM) is not a new concept. Marketers have been using content to disseminate information about brands and products for centuries. Its history traces back to the year 1732 C.E., when Benjamin Franklin issued the Poor Richard’s Almanack to promote his printing business.
Instead of traditional outbound marketing, which solely emphasizes the message ‘my brand is the best,’ CM uses valuable content to build a connection with potential customers. The usage of various channels and techniques makes CM an effective inbound marketing strategy.
But in 2019, is CM still worth investing in?
The short answer is yes. But even after almost 300 years of content marketing, building a successful CM strategy is still an evolving practice. Here are three tried and tested steps to get you closer to your CM goals:
Step 1: Know your product.
Every product is built to serve a clear and natural purpose: to solve a problem. Whether it is as complex as a computer or as simple as an eraser, every product is designed to take care of some kind of difficulty in our lives. There are two challenges that every marketer has faced for decades: their customer is not aware of their need for the product, and not aware that a product exists to solve their problem.
The aim of your content marketing strategy should then be to make your potential customers aware that they are experiencing a problem that your product can solve.
Before you write an article or film any videos for content marketing purposes, study your product thoroughly. Try to understand why it was created and how this product can be useful, as well as any potential flaws in its design. Most importantly: think out of the box and do not feel obligated to limit yourself to the official product description.
Step 2: Focus on potential customers’ problems
You now understand your product. The next step to to understand your customer.
Try your best to identify who your potential customers could be, what characteristics they have, and what kinds of problems they may experience. Make yourself aware of the problems they are facing and try to solve them through any content you produce. This exercise– a customer persona–is a useful way to understand your customer.
However, it isn’t easy to discover a potential customer’s problem. As a marketer (especially as a freelance marketer), it’s rare to market only one product at a time, and it is rare to be both the marketer and the potential customer at the same time (unless you are lucky enough to sell something you love). The key to this step, as simple as it sounds, is to ask your customers directly for their thoughts.
To do so, deploy strategies to connect with your customer to solicit their feedback. Various online tools are useful to collect customers’ idea, for example, email outreach campaign sending out online questionnaire offering discount once customer completed the questionnaire and reply customers’ comment on social media communicating with them.
Step 3: Create the right content
From the previous two steps, you should be able to have a clear view of your customer’s needs and how your product can solve them. Now is the time to create content targeting those specific needs. The simplest way to construct a piece of content is to answer a “how-to” question e.g. ‘How to choose the best travel destination.’
Let’s use Agoda as an example. As one of the world’s fastest growing online travel booking platforms, Agoda offers over 2 million properties in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. Agoda aggregates the wide range of choices into one website, which is easily accessible and available to customers around the globe.
While Agoda offers a tremendous amount of choices, customers may experience confusion when selecting their travel destination, and hesitate to make a booking while facing so many choices. This hesitation could be caused by many different factors such as unfamiliarity with the destinations, attractions, weather, and culture.
To tackle this problem, Agoda published an article titled “Best Places to Travel: 12 Asian Destinations in 12 Months” to help customers to choose the best travel destination. It provides the highlights of each Asian destination and the call-to-action is a link to booking, encouraging sales. The customers who had hesitated before booking were able to easily identify their ideal destination.
Remember, every piece of content created to market your product must be providing value. Content marketing strategy is a pathway connecting your product with a problem that can be solved. If you are executing your content marketing correctly, you should be able to build a lasting connection with your customer, benefit from effortless referrals, and become the first stop for any potential customers.
About the Author
Based in Hong Kong, Jason Yiu is a bilingual copywriter and marketer with years of experience in hospitality, food & beverage, and retail (both international brands and startups). Jason has served multiple roles throughout his career and wears many hats, from copywriting specialist to hotelier.