Contributed by Uwe Dreissigacker
Uwe is the CEO and founder of online invoicing platform InvoiceBerry. He’s a lifelong entrepreneur and has worked in the software and online business for over 15 years.
The big marketing methods of today all revolve around a few key things, such as PPC (pay-per-click, or digital ads) and content marketing.
Content marketing is a form of marketing that is definitely non-traditional. Instead of sending out your marketing message to everyone (as in radio or TV ads), you create value on your own property, like your blog.
Thereafter, you work on getting visitors to read your message, appreciate the value and, over time, become subscribers and buyers.
Content marketing allows you to build up a relationship with your visitors and, best of all, is very nearly free. It requires minimal or no budget at all. The ROI is great, especially considering you’re not just getting customers, but also building up your brand’s reputation.
But how can you get started with this still-new form of marketing? We’ll show you the seven best ways to get started with content marketing today.
How to get started with content marketing
Create your goals
Before you start typing away your first blog posts, you need to figure out exactly what it is you want from content marketing.
Basically, what is the goal or goals?
Your main goal could be (and should be) to attract qualified leads to your blog in order to improve your sales. I emphasize this one because many businesses have the simple goal of increasing traffic.
But traffic without sales is meaningless. Therefore, your main goal should be increasing traffic in order to increase sales.
It could also be to position your business as an influencer in your industry, with leading statistics, think pieces and so on. This would give more authority to your brand.
Create your ideal customer profile
If you want to have qualified leads (and not just random any-and-all traffic), then you need to know what kind of visitors will want your products or services.
The highly qualified leads are those that are primed to buy — they just need your help to convince them to take that final step.
Therefore, you need to know information about them, including who they are, their age range, income, likes and hobbies, methods of communication, typical online habits, etc.
In short, you need to know as much as possible about them so that you can tailor your message specifically to them.
Create a strategy with tactics
When you’ve got your goals, you’ll need to make sure you have a strategy in place to figure out how to get there.
You want qualified leads, but how do you get them? You want your visitors to buy your products or services, but how will you convince them?
That’s where targeting and conversion come into play. If you have your ideal customer profile, and you know where they are (for example, certain Facebook groups, LinkedIn, etc.) then you promote your blog posts there.
When they come to your site, besides having quality content, you need to find ways to convert them. This can be accomplished by creating irresistible offers or making your landing page or blog posts as efficient as possible.
Have quality content
This is the most repeated statement when it comes to content marketing, and for good reason. You need to look at your blog as the thing that you are “selling.”
The same way you want your products and your services to be perfect, you should strive to provide value to your customers.
After all, your blog posts are the content in content marketing. They will inform people and provide value for them, and be the first steps to creating loyal customers.
Therefore, your blog posts need to address and assist readers in their pain points. If you know your customer well, you should have no problem coming up with great content.
Convert with a lead magnet
In order to make sure your visitors are eager or primed to learn more about your company, you’ll need to offer them something.
Imagine they finish reading your high-value articles and are impressed. Now what? What do you want them to do next?
Usually you have a few choices, and they all revolve around keeping the contact — by getting readers’ email addresses.
You can do it by offering a free trial or product, providing a PDF or other resource, or simply asking them to sign up for your newsletter.
Use social media
One important way for you to get free traffic is to use social media. In fact, you should be promoting your blog posts on social media for the same amount of time (or more) as it took you to write your posts.
This includes creating a business page, Facebook groups and even forums that will get visitors interested in your topic.
The main point of your social presence is not your company, but your topic. It is about providing value and answers, not about selling your services or goods.
That’s why your main social goal is to be helpful and build up your brand reputation. As long as your blog posts have the same goal, you should be able to funnel social users to blog visitors.
From subscribers to buyers
Getting your visitors’ email addresses isn’t the last thing on your list. It’s the goal of your blog, definitely, but it’s not the goal of your content marketing.
You now need to nurture those subscribers, providing useful information about your niche as well as incentives to buy from your company.
This is also a long game. The truth is that not everyone is ready to buy from you the minute they sign up for your newsletter or download your resource.
You need to educate them and show the value that your product or service brings (in a non-salesy way), and then you can start with the offer.
Here, patience and perseverance will be your best tools.
With these seven steps, you will be amazed at how successful your content marketing can be. With tracking tools, you can measure the ROI and you’ll find that not only are more people willing to buy from you, but they will also have a higher regard for your company.