One of the most common marketing ‘problems’ I come across is how to consistently generate leads. It’s probably the most important aspect of running a business as, without quality leads, your business is going to shrivel up and die!
Business owners almost always have a short-term marketing plan in place to target the segment of the market that is actively looking to buy their product. This might be by advertising through mediums like Adwords, Facebook, Radio, Newspapers, etc. The main issue with this approach is that every single one of your competitors is doing the same, so you struggle to stand out from the crowd and the cost keeps going up.
So, how many businesses have a medium and long-term marketing plan in place that reduces the reliance on advertising? Very few.
Business owners are regularly told they need a website with a blog as part of their marketing strategy. But, few are told why a blog is important or how to use it well.
Here are 3 tips that will help you develop a marketing strategy that aims to reduce your overall costs as a percentage of sales.
1. Understand your customers
Spend some time with your staff and your customers and get to know the Buyer Decision Process. What journey did they go through, starting with awareness, going through to purchasing, and continuing to post-sale evaluation?
The process may look like this:
- Becoming aware of a problem
- Searching for information
- Evaluating alternatives
- Deciding to purchase
- Post-purchase evaluation
Once you’ve mapped this buyer decision process – I like to use a big whiteboard – start to break each stage down.
What are the questions likely to be asked at each stage?
What information can you provide to remove these roadblocks?
The first stage might include content that focusses on making people realise that they have a problem that needs your solution. It may be in the form of blog posts, ebooks, checklists, fun quizzes (like those Buzzfeed ones that everyone loves), or anything else that your creative juices come up with.
The third stage might include case studies on how your solution has worked well for someone else – especially if it’s a well-known person or brand that has used your product. Demo videos, FAQs, and samples also work well at this stage.
I’ll let you work out some ideas for the other stages. Remember, there’s no such thing as a bad idea when it comes to brainstorming content ideas. If you want to share a cool idea with me that you come up with, feel free to reach out on social media or email me.
2. Have a written 12-month plan
This is where most business owners fall short. We have a mental plan of what we are going to do and start with a lot of enthusiasm for the first few weeks. Then, we notice that we aren’t getting traffic or instant results and we start to give up.
Before you produce a single piece of content, create a simple 12-month content calendar. By knowing what you are doing for the next 12 months and actually writing it down, you are more likely to stick with it. Schedule time into your calendar each week purely to work on content.
How can I come up with 12 months’ worth of content ideas?
It’s actually a lot easier than you think when you have the right tools and processes. We’ll start with that big whiteboard we mentioned above. Brainstorm all the keywords that come to mind that are relevant to each of the stages of the buyer decision process.
The tools we are now going to use to get started are Quora and BuzzSumo. (There are others, but I can’t give you everything all at once!). Now, we’re going to use these tools and the keywords we came up with to find commonly asked questions and frequently shared pieces of content. It will give us an idea of what our target market is looking for and interacting with.
You’ll easily find enough ideas to keep your calendar filled for the next year. Then start creating!
3. Promote more than you create
This is the part that is almost always forgotten. There’s no point creating great content if you aren’t going to tell people about it.
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
Well, if we create an awesome piece of content and we don’t tell anyone about it, does the content actually exist?
Promoting the content is actually the hardest part and also the most crucial part. It can be either very fruitful or if we promote it to the wrong people, very expensive.
My key suggestions are:
- Know who your ideal customer is – be as specific as you can.
- Test and measure everything – analytics are available for a reason.
- Utilise retargeting and email capture.
- For every 10 minutes spent creating content, spend 50 minutes promoting it.
Executing a long-term plan will set you apart from your competitors and reduce your cost per acquisition. It will also create a snowball effect as each piece of content can continue to drive leads into your pipeline for years and years.
Want help with your content? The Equity Crowd is a marketing company that can either strategize and implement your marketing for you or work with you to create your marketing and content plan.