Tips For A Super Effective Content Marketing Strategy

Tips For A Super Effective Content Marketing Strategy

Content is extremely important, especially when it comes to content marketing. Content marketing is a bridge that separates marketing and storytelling. Which is super important to a business looking to attract and keep their customers.

The Ardath Albee who is the CEO of Marketing Interactions had this to say, “content marketing is the practice of sharing information your target audience will find helpful and valuable with the intention of creating a profitable customer relationship.”

Churning out valuable information in a form of a blog post, article, on social media and other ways is the heart of content marketing. It is more of telling a story about your company and your products building trust with your customers, instead of just trying to sell them stuff.

Keeping in mind all of that, here are some tips from experts to help boost the effectiveness of your business’s content marketing strategy.

Tell A Story

As mentioned above, content marketing is about telling a story to your customers. It often consists of narrative elements, for example a plot and a persona to engage with the audience. Stories have a way of drawing people in for more and more if done correctly. If your content marking is done right, your customers will definitely be coming back for more!

Moses Velasco, the chief product evangelist at Socialbakers said this, “Storytelling will always be at the core of every brand’s content marketing strategy.”

He also told the E-Commerce Times that, “Marketers use storytelling to create brand awareness, engage their audiences, and drive customers to a purchase.”

With social media becoming such a popular marketing tool today, companies should take this opportunity to tell their stories on these platforms. It only makes sense, because social media has such a wide reach and it is a great place to share story-based content marketing.

Velasco also added that, “the rise of the new Stories format on Snapchat, and now Instagram and Facebook, has opened a new opportunity for brands to take their storytelling to the next level and reach customers at their fingertips.”

“Stories are already engaging on an organic level, and they are a key advertising opportunity for today’s brands. The ability to leverage the authentic format as an advertising platform is a chance for marketers to create content that feels a lot less like traditional marketing.”

The goal of content marketing is to give your e-commerce customers an experience by entering a story.

“Don’t be robotic in treating e-commerce as a simple exchange,” cautioned Jake Athey, VP of marketing at Widen.

Make It About The Customer

Content marketing isn’t always about your business. The content should be tailored for the customers, offering information that they might find useful.

Lee Frederiksen the managing partner at Hinge Marketing said, “It’s not about you.”

He also told the E-Commerce Times in an interview, “be sure you stay focused on the issues your client is facing and that you can be of assistance with.” He also added,  “don’t start talking about what you do and how you do it, [because] then you are slipping into promotional marketing.”

That old advertising question “Whats in it for me?” is exactly what your audience is thinking in their heads. Always think of your customers and try to give them the kind of information that they want.

“Content marketing is simple if you keep your audience in mind,” said Pulse Marketing’s Hartin. “What are they looking for when they come to you? What can you provide that will assist them in some way? How do you establish yourself as a resource for them? By answering those questions, you can effectively determine the topics and mediums through which you can initiate a content marketing strategy.”

Problem Solving

We are all customers at some point in our lives. Its fair to say that we all have problems with maybe a brand or a product. So, as a brand it is your job to answer any questions that your customers might have.

Marketing Interactions’ Albee said, “focus content on what your product or solution enables or provides to your audience that they couldn’t do or didn’t have before.”

“Help them visualize the impact of success or of avoiding loss by not acting. Show your audience how to solve a problem or gain an outcome that’s important to them and is something you can help them achieve,” she added.

Data Is Key

Although content marketing is a very creative process, it works best when you pair it with actual data that you have collected on your customers based on research you might have done. This will give you a clear idea of what your customers are looking for. From there you can start putting out content that matches what they’re looking for.

Greg Faucher the director of integrated media at AMP Agency said this, “while I consider myself to be a creative person, I also have a background in SEO.” He also told the E-Commerce Times, “I believe the creation of content should always be based in data.”

“I truly believe that before creating content, people should figure out what topics they want to be known for, and then use trend and keyword data to understand what people are actually searching for.”

Always Be Consistent

It is very important to be consistent with your content marketing strategy especially in the frequency of your posting and overall branding.

Marketing Interactions’ Albee said, “be consistent. This applies to publishing frequency, messaging style, and brand positioning across all the channels you use to share content with your audience. You want them to be able to recognize your brand, even if your logo isn’t present.”

Keep in mind that a supply of new content is the heart of any successful content marketing strategy.

“Regularity of content is more important than depth,” said Hinge Marketing’s Frederiksen. “For example, it’s better to publish one blog post a week than to publish three in one week and then nothing for a month.”

Develop A Voice

Developing a distinctive voice for your content marketing is great. After all, your voice is a key component of the overall strategy.

“Know your audience and find a voice,” said AMP Agency’s Faucher.

He went on to add, “if you’re going to be known for travel, people might not appreciate content that is overly humorous. It might lessen the credibility of the content and decrease effectiveness.”

“However, if you’re a movie reviewer, people might really appreciate a unique brand of content that your website could become known for. Your ‘content voice’ will become more clear once you discover what is truly resonating with the public.”

Use Your Employee’s Content

Last but not least, don’t forget your dear employees. They too have a lot of valuable information that can be turned into content and then shared. Allowing them to help you out can strengthen your content marketing efforts.

“Employees are viewed as trusted source of information when others are seeking information about a brand or a product,” said Michael Brito, head of U.S. digital at Lewis.

He also went on to tell E-commerce Times, “when internal thought leaders and subject matter experts can be mobilized and activated to participate in industry conversations, the result will include another layer of trusted content surround-sounding your audience.”

 

Article originally from E-Commers Times, written by Vivian Wagner on the 23rd October 2017

Instagram Marketing: 5 Ways Gain More Followers And Interaction

Everyone owns an Instagram account today, young or old. According to an article by Hootsuite, Instagram has 500 million active users monthly and counting. This photo sharing platform will only grow and grow in the years to come.

In order to be successful reaching your potential customers through Instagram, follow these steps:

1. Instagram Analytics

If you didn’t already know, there are a number of analytic tools available to help provide helpful information and help make your brand more successful on Instagram. When looking for an Instagram analytic tool, look for one that can monitor ‘post’ performances. For example, how many people that particular post has reached, the best click through rate and the post that received the most engagement. From there you will know what kind of posts your followers are most interested in.

Another feature to look for when looking for in an Instagram analytic tool is, scheduled posting. Imagine how much easier your life would be if your posts have been created in advance and are scheduled to be posted on time. Also, most of these analytic tools are able to establish when is the best time to share a post and for it to perform well. Sometimes the best times to post content is at night after office hours, and that is where scheduled posting comes into use too.

Lastly, you’ll want to look for an analytic tool that can also monitor for keywords and hashtags. Through knowing what the keywords and hashtags users are using, you can then easily connect with you followers to create a bond.

2. User Generated Content

UGC (user generated content) is an effective form of marketing. What is User Generated Content? It is an occurrence in which an Instagram user or social media user talks or gets paid to talk about a particular brand in their posts. Such posts have become one of the most popular types of content on Instagam. Users enjoy looking at other people giving opinions on a certain product as it is a form of social proof and gives unsure customers more confidence in purchasing from a brand. User Generated Content isn’t just limited to Instagram as many other social media platforms have them too.

3. Create a Social Wall

Create a live social wall that can be placed either in your office or when your company has events. A social wall is basically a feed where users can use a specific hashtag and all the pictures shared under that hashtag will be featured on a screen. Tools such as Tint and Tagboard helps you to compile all the user generated content and share it.

Marketeers could also potentially use this tool and feature it on the brand’s website, show casing their customers through a specific hashtag.

Read: How Instagram Can Help Online Selling 

4. Cross Promote

Of course in order for people to know about your Instagram account you have to promote it. You could promote it through other social media channels that you may have. You can also promote it on your website. For most business, their main website receives the most traffic. As a marketeer you could incorporate an Instagram link or Icon that links to your Instagram page onto your website. From there people will be aware of your Instagram account.

5. Social Media Influencers

Social media influencers is an emerging trend and has gained popularity over the years. This is the era of trend setters and opinionators. Many businesses use this marketing tactic today, no matter what the field. People now tend to turn to others that they look up to or admire for their opinions and sometimes even their approval. Just like Instagram Analytics, there are tools that can also help you look for the right influencers for your specific business. Obviously you’d potentially want to look for an infuencer that has knowledge related to your business. It wouldn’t make sense if you got a fashion influencer to promote about a car business. Platforms such as Sprout Social and Buzz Sumo can assist you in this process.

Conclusion

If you’re looking to improve your brand/companies Instagram marketing, it is best to try one of these tips mentioned above. First, marketers have to ensure that there is a tool tracking the businesses Instagram account. This part is very important as you would want to understand your customers further. Also, not to mention how much easier life would be with the help of scheduled postings! Secondly, remember to find suitable content to fit the brands audience. Whether it be UGC, a video or opinionated posts by influencers. Lastly, it would make a huge difference if the brand invested in incorporating a social wall onto their website to promote their Instagram account.

 

Physical Retail Stores Are Not Doomed Yet, But Brick And Mortar Needs A Revolution

A successful interactive store must show it understands the customer through multiple touch points

“Physical retail is dead!” – open any news publication and you’re likely to find a similar headline. The reasons for such fears are aplenty.

Evolving the shopper’s profile

The Southeast Asian region is very much on the rise. In terms of economic growth, the ten countries that make up the ASEAN trading bloc are equivalent to the world’s ninth largest economy. From 2010 through 2020, ASEAN GDP growth is projected to reach 5 percent: Vietnam is set to grow by 6.8 percent on average over the decade, with Indonesia clocking in at 5.5 percent[1].

This region’s burgeoning economic health is also apparent in the steady rise in disposable income levels – creating a critical and fast-growing mass of youthful, urban, middle-class consumers who are hungry for the best digital retail experience technology can offer.

Rise of the digital-savvy natives – The Millennials

By 2020 the majority (60%) of the world’s millennials (18-29) will live in Asia2. Being digital natives, millennials rely on mobile devices to meet all their needs – making purchases, doing research, hailing a cab, or booking a flight.

Booming e-commerce sector

With economic growth in the region surging, internet access has become more affordable. Steady improvements in the price-to-performance ratio of mobile devices – coupled with improvements to battery life – have helped consumers bypass infrastructure roadblocks, especially in the less developed markets.

With mobile devices providing the gateway to most internet access, mobile is certainly revolutionizing consumer retail behaviour: allowing shoppers to research goods while in stores. Tools such as QR codes, online coupons, and even augmented-reality product overlays can help retailers tap into this trend.

The tech-savvy Southeast Asian region has skyrocketed the booming e-commerce uptake, with recent research by Google and investment firm Temasek Holdings predicting that e-commerce sales in the region will grow at a 32% CAGR from $5.5 billion in 2015 to $88 billion in 2025, when they will make up 6% of total retail sales.

Growth and evolution of e-commerce

In Singapore, vacancies in the city’s main Orchard Road area, a magnet for tourists lured by malls and Japanese department stores, have risen to a five-year high across the island, the highest since 2009[2].

The simplest explanation for increasingly vacant shopping centres is that e-commerce has taken over. The ability of retail sites, led by Amazon, to make online shopping convenient and safe, fits the needs and expectations of the millennial generation that lives online. Improved presentation of a wider range of products and the ability to obtain value and choice through cross-border shopping, together with increasing ease of ordering and return, are appealing to Asia’s shoppers and are driving rapid growth in online sales.

About 230 million Southeast Asian individuals are relying on digital means to purchase products and services, helping the region’s internet economy to balloon to more than $50 billion[3]. Over 60% of people research online before buying in-store, while 27% research in-store before buying online.

The changing consumer behavior – Knowing what consumers want

Here lies a key factor influencing the retail sector today: the shopping experience. People used to make several trips to a store to find the best option before buying an expensive item. On each trip, they were likely to make lots of other small purchases as they wandered around.

Today consumers do all their prep online – reading reviews, exploring alternatives on social media, finding the best discount – which means less ambling through shopping centres and less making incidental purchases at adjacent stores. This behavioural change means predictive analytics have to change. Store and digital research data sets have to be connected to produce the real insight needed to understand how consumers research and respond to offers.

As the customer journey changes, retailers are shifting their focus where the customer is increasingly at the centre of a perpetual shopping experience. This journey sees the customer moving through the organisation with data being collected at every touch point (store, app, website, contact centre, email, etc.) in ever greater volumes.

To improve the holistic experience, leading retailers are creating much fuller and richer single view customer datasets, that capture and process all this data in real-time. This data is used not only for insights, but also to trigger promotions, marketing activity, and alerts to deliver a more personalized, intimate in-store experience.

One retailer that has recently committed to providing data-driven, personalised customer experiences is Macy’s. In order to attract and retain customers, Macy’s tapped into various apps, mobile wallets, and online promotion codes which make it easier for shoppers to research, compare, and purchase their items. Going a step further, Macy’s integrated their application with social networks, which enables them to serve customers faster, provide recommendations, and launch new features such as image search – where customers can take a picture of something they are looking for, then find that product at Macy’s.

Recognising that customer preferences were shifting, London Theatre District has also embraced technology in its sales platform, providing a secure booking engine, interactive seating plans, customer reviews, and real-time availability. With their open API platform, LTD has expanded their sales through a variety of partners including airlines and hotels, providing a superior customer experience, as well as enjoying increased customer loyalty.

Another mainstay in the industry, Marks and Spencer, is empowering their business analysts to use data to enhance decision-making without IT support. Using data visualisation technology, the staff are able to understand information without needing to interpret it – allowing M&S to transform into a truly data-driven organisation, entirely focused on improving the customer experience.

Does this mean traditional brick-and-mortar retail is dead?

If it’s experience that is driving a shift in a shopper’s preference, there will always be a place for stores. To get ahead of the digital wave, traditional retailers must use digital technologies and innovations to create new products and services, understand more about customers’ experiences, and reinvent their business.

In order to truly compete with pure-play, online-only stores like Amazon, Alibaba, and Lazada, physical retailers need to go beyond having both an online and physical presence. They must be able to provide interactive stores that integrate traits from both, combining the physical and digital to offer an entirely new shopping experience.

Frost & Sullivan views this changing retail model – evolving from a single channel of interaction (in-store or online), to omni-channel (interacting across multiple channels) – as vital in adapting to the changing consumer landscape.

A successful interactive store must show it understands the customer through multiple touch points: online footprint, loyalty programs, preferred payment method, and more. It must replicate the “online” experience in store: immediate product info, sizing options, similar recommendations, stock checking, and deliver-straight-to-your-doorstep.

It is nearly impossible for any brand to survive or grow today without having some sort of digital presence or digital marketing in their business strategy. Amazon’s success in e-commerce stems from an understanding of the way people shop, and the friction points that make shopping hard. To effectively compete and stay relevant today, physical retailers need a total willingness to experiment and commit to omni-channel strategies, as well as engage with consumers to see what works in the quest for seamless shopping experiences.

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[1] Accenture analysis of data from HIS Global Insight, 2011.

[2] http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/from-clicks-to-bricks-online-stores-setting-up-shop-in-malls?

[3] http://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Consumers/Southeast-Asia-digital-consumer-market-to-hit-50bn-in-2017-report

This article first appeared on e27.com on 4th Aug 2017 written by Erich Gerber.