Use Content Marketing to Satisfy Customer Purchase Needs
Content marketing supports sales cost effectively. This is why over 90% of marketers expect content marketing to increase during the next year based on results from an eConsultancy-Outbrain report.
Content marketing fulfills customers’ needs for relevant information at every step of the purchase process.
While marketers understand customers’ need to gather information before they purchase, many underestimate the value of providing content to support product usage and how cost effectively content marketing can encourage repeat sales and promote brand advocacy.
Here’s how marketers’ objectives align with customer needs and the information they seek during the buying cycle.
To help create effective content marketing, here are seven types of information customers actively seek.
- Provide detailed product information. Many businesses undervalue the need to offer potential shoppers in-depth content about their products; often posting just the information they’ve received from their suppliers. To this end, it’s useful to use photographs and videos to give customers a 360° view of your product. (Here’s how to feed the content marketing beast with images.) Actionable Marketing Tactic: Tailor your product information details to meet your prospects’ needs and interests. Understand what your customers want to know and see before they purchase. To this end develop a marketing persona. If you’re still not sure, then ask them what they need to know.
- Answer all of your customers’ questions including price. Until your prospect gets all of her questions answered, it’s hard to get her to put her money down, regardless of whether it’s a new article of clothing or a multi-million dollar system. This is what Marcus Sheridan refers to as the secret sauce. Actionable Marketing Tactic: Gather the questions your target audience needs answered. Speak to sales and customer service. Each answer can become a well-crafted blog post, video or article. Building a list of questions helps ensure that you cover all of the information that’s needed and enables marketers to get support from other areas of the business.
- Let your satisfied customers lend a helping hand. If your product lends itself to a community, it can be a great way to respond to prospect questions and provide information that helps close your sale. Current customers know where their issues were and how your product fit their needs. As a result, they can qualify your product for other prospects. Actionable Marketing Tactic: If you don’t have a community or plans to create one, ask your current customers for input as to the type of information that they found useful. If necessary, consider offering them an incentive for helping you (especially if you can get them to purchase further from you.)
- Be your prospects’ stylist. For businesses that are in the fashion and home decorating categories, it’s helpful to show them how to use your products and combine them. (Here are some tips to make your visual content pinworthy) Actionable Marketing Tactic: Think like a fashion magazine to show your prospects how to strut their stuff using your products. From a content perspective, think photographs and videos or, depending on where you’re located, have in-store events. Target does a great job of getting designers and stylists to curate their Tumblr presence. Another example: knitting magazines do trunk shows to show readers what the patterns look like in real life.
- Give them the recipe. Help your customers use your product better by giving them the recipe or pattern to create their own masterpieces. This applies to a wide range of products and target markets including food products like King Arthur’s Flour and Kraftfoods and to many yarn companies like Lion Brand that create special patterns to use with their products. Actionable Marketing Tactic: Include your branding in the recipe or pattern. Additionally, where appropriate, link to the specific product details to make it easy to purchase and make it easy to download the specifics. For example, Kraft not only uses the brand name in the recipe but also includes a small logo in the shopping list.
- Teach them how to use your product. Think fun education! This works for a wide range of businesses from makeup to cement. (Check out Concrete.tv.) Actionable Marketing Tactic: Consider who may want to get this type of information and who should be your brand’s spokesperson.
- Get out the vote. Encourage your customers to come back to rate and review your product. While many marketers are afraid of what they’ll find out about their offering, understand that if you don’t offer this information prospects will get it elsewhere. For many prospects, reviews qualify products – what’s bad for one person is good for another. Use this feedback to improve your product. Actionable Marketing Tactic: Make sure that every negative review is responded to. This is a golden opportunity to build better relationships.
As a marketer, it’s critical to provide prospects with the information they need to make their purchase decision. If you don’t supply it, they’ll look elsewhere and may not return to you to buy it.
What other information do prospects seek and why?
Here are some related articles of interest.
- How to make the case for content marketing
- The one reason you need content marketing
- 42 Ways to Attract Shoppers With Relevant Information
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewarchy/2527200986/