It was the end of 2007. We had worked hard developing our product, yet we had few customers. Our case was similar to the majority of other start-ups: we were boot-strapped and had little resources available for advertising. Getting our brand on television or other typical mass-media outlets was not an option. We knew we needed to be creative to out-smart our competition.
Over a period of three years we experimented with numerous marketing techniques. When taking into account the fact that we “tweaked” each one, we tried well over 100 ideas. Yet they all failed, we were still poor and in need of sales.
After reading about and researching content marketing, I decided to give it a try. It proved to be a game-changer and we finally saw results from our efforts. In this article, I would like to share with you the 4 specific content marketing methods which gave us the greatest success:
1) Create a space for users to leave comments.
Gathering the feedback that your own clients give regarding your service/product is an excellent way to boost sales.
Perhaps you already know that many customers directly seek out comments that others have made regarding the product they are considering to buy. However, did you know that up to 90% of buyers do so? That is what Invesp has reported online. What is even more amazing is the fact that 88% of those who read comments trust them as if they were recommendations directly from a friend of family member.
Type almost any product into Google, and in the list of predicted searches you will see that “reviews” ranks high on the list, often in the top position:
Several years ago, we launched a mechanism in this regard, which has proven to be way more effective than we could have ever imagined. Implementing this strategy increased our conversion rate by almost 50%.
What did we do? We sent those customers who recently bought our product an automated email which invited them to briefly describe their experience. We used all of the comments (999 out of 1000 were positive reviews) to our advantage and published them on our site:
The “comments” or “reviews” do not have to be limited to text. Many companies take advantage of the value of this method by putting their very own customers’ reviews out for the world to see in the form of a video or an interview. Wix Stories is one example of a company that uses videos of customers as part of their content marketing strategy:
2) Don’t under-estimate the power of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
Regarding content marketing, this was the first thing we began to use on our website. I’m almost certain that many of your clients send in questions by email or some other method and it can be a pain to handle them all.
The famous FAQs section for websites is nothing new. It is a section implemented by companies as a way to save time in answering questions and to serve their potential or current clients. Yet the suggestion I have for you is to not do a typical FAQs section which is basically just a long list of questions and answers, such as this:
In this “typical” FAQs section, there is no way for the big search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, or Bing to index the content. What you want to do is to have each question dedicated to its own page so that they appear in the top of the rankings on their respective results page.
Thus, what you need to do first is have an expert in your company handle all of the answers in an adequate fasion. More than one person should be answering the questions, depending on the specific content pertaining to the inquiry. If there is a “repeat” question, the user will simply be routed towards the page where their question has already been asked and answered.
Make sure that your team members are giving excellent, professional answers to each question. After all, who is more qualified to give solid answers regarding your product than your own staff? As each question is indexed on its own page, future clients will find out about your company simply by their searches performed on the internet.
To conclude this point, I want to bring to your attention our advanced FAQs section on our own website. We go even a step further and use the method of collective gathering of information. Here, users are allowed to provide answers, giving way for the question to be answered as best as possible:
And as a last reminder, as I said before, these questions are indexed and allow us to attract new sales:
3) Tell the world who you are and what you have done.
We live in a world where information is available at the tip of our fingers. It does not take much effort for our clients to find out about our company, when and how it was launched, who is on staff, etc.
I strongly advise you to not leave all the information floating around the internet about your company as the place where your potential customers are informed. On your own site, you can do more than just include a section for showing off your founders and staff. You can also share your story: the ups and downs, victories and failures that you have experienced along the way as an entrepreneur.
One mistake I see time and time again regarding this point is in companies hiring out third parties to do this work for them. Perhaps it may save a little time and energy to outsource this, but in the end, it is you who knows more about your company than anyone else.
Sharing the road that you have gone down not only will give people interesting facts about your own venture, but it could also prove to be helpful to others for their own projects.
Using this form of content marketing, you will reap the benefits of increased brand recognition, and will be an attractive alternative for your future clients.
I will share an example of this method that is close to home for me. A while back, I was introduced to Zapier while I was reading through various tweets. They were offering a free e-book, which was specifically focused on sharing their knowledge and expertise of being a company with employees working remotely.
We had just implemented the remote working policy in our company, so it was obviously something that not only interested me, but served to help me. I gained insight on the tactics and strategies they used. Furthermore, I started to follow their blog. In this way, they built a relationship with me. Guess who we decided to use when we were looking for a company to execute some integration services? You guessed it, Zapier. It’s been several years now that we continue to use their services.
Keep in mind that this method for content marketing may not have an immediate pay off, but has a huge potential over time.
4) Use geographically-specific content.
Finally, try creating content that is differentiated, depending on the location of your clients.
We stated earlier that we live in an age where information is available at our fingertips. More and more, people are looking for information that is specific to their needs and characteristics, such as where they are located. Thus, it is wise to create content that is specifically geared towards each geographical market you are trying to reach.
One to mention that uses this tactic is ZipRecruiter. They help out by finding a job online. As their services are available in a number of cities, they fine-tuned their content so that it could be specific to each one:
So, if someone is in New York, the content will show up like this:
And also worth noting is how it is displayed on search engines:
It has been almost 10 years now that we have used content marketing as a way to reach new clients. The techniques shared in this article have given us results beyond what we expected, I hope the same for you and your company. A couple things to consider before you start:
This article and its information was redacted by Christian Rennella, C0-founder of Préstamos En Línea, which serves countries all over South America. One of his focuses is to foster entrepreneurialism in developing countries.Back to Small Business blogs
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