Ah, the marketing rollercoaster! We’ve all been there
Have you ever gone at breakneck speed, churning out social media updates, Pinterest images or blog post after blog post? You’re so excited about it all and enthusiastically press publish to post your latest content everywhere.
You get several enquiries then relax waiting for all the new clients to come knocking. It seems to be going well. Then, nothing. The enquiries dry up, you stop getting retweets or Facebook shares and your social media visibility dips.
So what do you do? You catch your breath, regroup and do it all again. Pump out more blog posts, some guest posts this time or an article for a local magazine. Another bunch of Twitter posts and Pinterest or Instagram images. You get more interest from potential clients but nothing solid. Wow, this is hard work!
Starting to think this content marketing thing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?
Let me share a little secret with you. I’ve been there on that marketing rollercoaster, creating and blasting content all over the place like there’s no tomorrow, with little thought or planning. Finding a random client one month and none the next.
It wasn’t until I realised my content wasn’t going to bring a stampede of new clients to my door every time I published a blog post that I understood. I needed to get off the rollercoaster and join the content marketing train instead.
When you use content marketing to drive sales for your business, you need to appreciate you’re in it for the long-haul. In fact, seeing your content as a train helps. It’s not quick or easy but it does work.
By the end of this post you’ll be revving up your train ready to take the right route to get your customer to your final destination – sales transaction central.
Why content marketing is more marathon than sprint
Picture this: your potential customer is looking for a destination, the one you offer. It might be getting more confidence or ensuring your company hires staff correctly. Whatever it is, your ideal customer wants to be there.
But they don’t know that you offer the train to take them there. Yet.
That’s where your content train comes in. You need to make your customer aware, usually through blog posts and social media updates that your train is the one to be on. They’ll hop on board. By using targeted content –such as an email newsletter that gives valuable information, they’ll stay on board and give your destination more consideration.
They might leave the train to go sight-seeing or even check out a competitors train. You need to get them back on board. Remind them the train is waiting – use more blog posts. Entice them with a lovely free e-book or helpful worksheet, maybe a training video, webinar or existing customer case study.
As they get nearer the destination, your customer starts to anticipate arriving. They may waver and wonder if another train would be better. Blast reviews or testimonials over the tannoy and reassure them. Soothe those objections by making the journey smoother. A streamlined sales process helps – think Amazon’s mega-streamlined one-click solution to buy a product.
Your content marketing efforts are more like an over-night sleeper than city express. Some customers are happy to take the quick route. But most need more time to appreciate your destination is the place for them.
And your content needs to continually, and subtly, tell them.
Top tips to fuel your content train and keep your passengers on board
We need a plan, Stan
Decide the point of your journey and which route you’ll take. Before you start your content train in motion set up your content plan. This is your sat-nav. Without it you won’t know how to reach your destination
You’re not trying to break the land speed record
Publish consistently not all in one go then nothing. It takes time to build trust. Keep talking about your key topics in places your customer hangs out. And they’ll start to think of your company when they think of that subject.
It can take several months to start seeing results from your content so post regularly. You can’t expect great results when you enthusiastically pump out stacks of posts one month then none the next. Slow and steady wins the race.
How will they find you if you don’t tell them?
How will customers find you if you don’t advertise your train? Writing and publishing one or two blog posts won’t cut it, not matter how well optimised for search engines.
- Talk about a post in your email newsletter
- Mention your post when commenting on other blogs or in forums
- Link to your latest content on Google+, Facebook and other social media platforms
Get your message out there.
You don’t need to fuel your train with fresh content each time either. Simply re-purpose what you’ve already got and publish it in a variety of places.
For example, you could take quotes from your blog posts and put them on a nice image to make a meme for Facebook or Twitter. Or expand on a blog post to give a mini e-book that adds extra value.
A smart train keeps interest
People have enough information to wade through. If your content isn’t interesting, they simply won’t read it or get on board.
Writing about b2b topics is tough. Why? Because the subject matter isn’t as ‘fun’ or ‘sexy’ as stuff people read for pleasure.
But if you’re writing content that solves a problem for your ideal customer they’re more likely to pick up your train timetable and consider hopping aboard. You just need to be more creative in how you angle your piece. Try using images or fun facts to keep it light and get attention.
You’re not going to the moon
When you’re constantly told you must use content marketing to get results, it’s disappointing when it doesn’t happen for you. Marketing doesn’t bring sales success overnight. It takes effort and time. You’ll see gradual results. Celebrate the small wins of getting a customer on board and keep the train going. Or refine your expectations and destination.
Keep an eye on where your journey is going and tweak as necessary to keep your train on the right track.
Are you starting to understand the value of seeing your content marketing as a train journey instead of a marketing rollercoaster? Each time your ideal customer steps off that train, take a look at your plan. See how you can get them back on board and moving towards that destination where they make a sale.