Let’s say you’re operating a small or mid-sized business. You’re wearing a dozen hats, and one of them says “Marketing”. Now, in days gone by, marketing used to be the fun part of running your business. It was a pleasant break from inventory control, manufacturing schedules, and the million-and-one other things you do to keep your business operating smoothly. But then it became not so fun.
The internet rolled in and with it came strange terms, complex paradigms, and a language all its own. And as soon as you tried to learn the language, it changed and morphed into something else. No, this was definitely not fun anymore. Marketing became uber complex. Technobabble, competing platforms, and an unending stream of the “latest” marketing models, simply confused the hell out of most small (and even large!) businesses.
Remember the good old days when marketing consisted of putting ads in trade magazines or newspapers? Well, they aren’t coming back again. But here’s the good news: If you just follow a few simple steps, you can create a dynamic and effective content strategy that will propel your brand forward. No kidding. Because when you strip away all the hype, the jargon, and the competing claims it still comes down to one thing: You want to sell as much stuff as you can. No more, no less. And here’s how you do it …
Reacquaint yourself with your audience
Over the years, you’ve changed, and so have they. What was a hot sales point two years ago, may be passé today. Or it’s possible that a product that was designed for one group may now be of benefit to another, thus expanding your sales base. This is not rocket science, nor is it complex. Get with your marketing/sales team and hold a round table discussion. Then, hire a good firm to do an in-depth market survey for you. It will be worth its weight in gold (and sales!). Knowing, really knowing your potential customer base, will give you an insight on how to market to them.
Put that information to work for you
Once you’ve pinned down your target audience, it’s time to devise your content strategy to reach them effectively. Your marketing survey should have given you a wealth of information about what propels them to act, what turns them off, and what turns them into buyers. This, then, becomes a “bingo” moment. You can see the forest, you can see the trees, and your marketing roadmap should point you in a clear direction to reach them. You know them. You know what makes them tick. Now it’s time to say hello.
And here’s where it gets fun again
This is where the creative comes in. The really fun part of any marketing campaign. Now it’s time to have some insightful discussions about what your approach will be. Maybe light hearted or serious, glitzy or sedate. Perhaps “how to” videos will make an impact, or celebrity endorsements will move the needle. The point is, once you’ve gotten this far, making the decision on how to proceed should be a snap. Just follow what the data indicates, throw in a little of your own insight, and you’re off and running.
And don’t forget to fine tune
In the world of internet marketing, things can change in a nanosecond. So, what works today may not work next week. When clicks, browsers and sales start to fall off, don’t regard it as an abnormality. Somebody else may have come up with a better product, or are running a special sale, but the sooner you investigate, the quicker you can correct your course.
Is any of this complicated?
No! If you break content marketing down into its integral components, it’s really no different from what you’ve always been doing. Including what you did in the dark ages pre-internet! Size up your audience, find out what they want, and give it to them in a form they’ll find attractive and interesting. Forget the “devil in the details,” thing. The details will automatically fall into place based on your research. Don’t let anyone muddy the waters with extraneous information, esoteric technobabble, or the “new, latest, strategy thing!” Come on, isn’t it time marketing got fun again? You bet!