Here’s how marketing worked not too long ago: a company created an ad. A customer saw that ad. And then the customer experienced the product or service and (hopefully, for the business) made a purchase and enjoyed the product or service.
It was a very linear process. But times have changed. Your customer’s purchase journey isn’t as straightforward anymore. The Internet has given consumers a lot of information. So much so, in fact, that it’s becoming harder and harder for companies to get their points across to their target audience.
This is the conundrum laid out by BoxCast VP of Marketing Sam Brenner during COSE’s recent Business Growth Boot Camp. With the average person spending upwards of five hours a day on a mobile device and more than a quarter of people reporting that they’re constantly online, how does a company, particularly a small business, cut through the noise and make their message stand out?
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It’s all about attention and context, Brenner told the more than 60 people who gathered for his presentation. He then outlined this four-step process businesses can follow to ensure the content they’re creating grabs their customer’s attention and is, contextually, hitting the consumer at a point that makes sense during their purchase journey.
Step 1: Understand the options you have
The first step, Brenner said, is to choose the type(s) of content you can create well consistently, including written posts, video, podcasting/audio and images.
Evaluate these four avenues, make a decision on which makes the most sense for your business, and then focus on that category of content. Take time also to evaluate the talent you have in-house who might be able to lend a hand in creating content. Maybe you have someone who is a video editing ace, or a great writer, or a Photoshop whiz. By leveraging the talents that already exist at your business, you not only are helping improve your content marketing efforts but you’re also potentially improving employee morale by giving your staff other opportunities to shine.
If you don’t have the talent inhouse, go out and get it. Creative talent is the variable to success when it comes to content marketing.
Step 2: Know where your content should go
This is where context comes into play. All of the platforms available to you are different and it would be a mistake to just create one marketing piece and use it across all of them. After all, consumers have a very different expectation when they open Instagram (a platform for stunning visuals) than they do when they open LinkedIn (which is much more business-focused.)
Step 3: Learn how to get your customer’s attention
Once you have identified and are familiar with the platforms and content delivery vehicles your business can utilize, you can begin the process of creating content pieces that stand out. These do not have to be sexy topics, Brenner emphasized. Think about the common questions buyers have about your product or service and then write a blog about it.
Relatedly, you can also get your customer’s attention by just acting like a human being on social media. Brenner relayed a time when BoxCast created a post for Facebook that said something like, “Using BoxCast is a piece of cake. Hey, by the way, what’s your favorite kind of cake?” Did that post in and of itself convince people to buy a BoxCast product? Probably not. But did it create goodwill and lead to a favorable impression of BoxCast that might lead to a purchase somewhere down the line? There’s a very good chance it did, Brenner said.
Step 4: Don’t be afraid to experiment
It’s important to keep in mind that not everything you try out from a marketing perspective is going to work, Brenner said. And that’s OK! Don’t be afraid to experiment. For example, if you’re thinking about creating social media ads or paid-for content, play around a little bit with targeting. Take a few hundred dollars and test your post and the targeting parameters you set up for it.
Same goes for new platforms that you might notice pop up. If you hear about some new delivery platform for your content marketing, take a couple hundred bucks from your marketing budget and try it out.
Did you miss out on this Boot Camp? Not to worry! There’s still time to register for Brenner’s next COSE Business Growth Boot Camp: How to Build a Marketing Machine from Scratch, which will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sept. 26 at the GCP offices and will dive into the day-to-day mechanics of operating a content marketing strategy. Best yet, you don’t have to have attended Brenner’s first Boot Camp session to get value out of his upcoming session. Click here to register now!