Content marketing is the sharing of valuable and free information with the aim of converting prospects into customers; and ensuring they keep coming back. By adding value, as well as educating and entertaining people, you can create enduring and engaging relationships with your customers.
Coca-Cola’s Jonathan Mildenhall summed it up nicely when he said that due to 24/7 connectivity, advertisers needed a fresher and more relevant approach to content to keep consumers interested.
The first rule when creating content is that consumers are looking for solutions to problems – not sales pitches - so your content needs to be useful and enjoyable.
How does it work?
Content marketing works for direct sales businesses as well as B2Bs. Quality content can help increase brand recognition, improve relationships with customers, and raise the credibility of your business and brand.
Content is the backbone of the internet and without it there would be no World Wide Web. With the arrival of social media, quality content has become highly sharable, which can increase referrals to your business.
People are more likely to trust the opinions of their friends and families over the hard-sell by advertisers. For example, the “Like” button on Facebook allows customers to share products and opinions with their friends, creating trust in your business and enhancing brand positioning. And content is now a two-way street with customers able to give feedback and start discussions of their own regarding your content.
At the heart of content marketing is the concept of providing free content that people can use instantly. By utilising and maximising this form of marketing, you can become a thought leader and authority in your field. For your content marketing strategies to be fully appreciated, you need to be adding more value than anybody else, anywhere!
Keep an eye on the data
PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising, as well as other traditional advertising, can steer consumers to your website, but once they arrive you need them to stick around. The longer they hang around, the longer you have to make an impression and convert leads into real customers.
Every retailer should know the data on who their customers are and how their customers found them. If your content marketing data shows you that your leads are not transforming into conversions then you need to ask yourself these questions:
- Is my content different from my competitors?
- Is my content engaging and relevant?
- Is my content at least 80% engaging content, 20% marketing? (It should definitely not be any more than 20% marketing).
Although content marketing largely appears on the surface to be free, it can be an enormous time vortex. Be aware of how much your time is worth and how much of it you’re spending on creating content. Be conscious of including content marketing into your overall marketing budget.
Will it work for the food retail industry?
If you’re not sure if content marketing can work in the food retail industry check out Jeni’s Splended Ice Creams. Google her and Jeni has shared her “secret” recipes everywhere, which has resulted in a lot of online sharing, reviews and brand recognition.
But for retail in particular, you still must integrate content marketing with other traditional forms of advertising.
Here are a few great examples of some clever content marketing:
- The Red Bulletin Magazine for iPad (Red Bull)
- Grill’d blog
- Coca-Cola Content 2020 (Part 1 and Part 2)
- Kraft’s iFood app
- Baker’s Delight Virtual Bakery
As content marketing matures and continues to find its feet, it’s only a matter of time before businesses, including bricks and mortar retailers, will start to rely more on content generated marketing.
What can you do to further engage your customers?