“Make the prospect a more informed buyer with content”. – Robert Simon
Click and share worthy, engaging and enticing, interesting and valuable – content. In order to create customers through content, it should be all these things and more. Companies that can consistently provide such content to their customers are able to motivate existing customers to provide repeat business and prospective ones to move towards ‘conversion’. Creating customers through content is also about including a call to action – a like, sharing with their friends and associates or even subscribing to regular updates from your company. Such ‘interactions’ ensure that the target audience remains interested and engaged in a way that encourages them to spread the word about your company, in addition to continue doing business with you.
The effort to create customers through content will not be successful if customers perceive the content as self-promotion or an underlying hint to buy. For customers to see value in the content it must contain information they can use, help them to solve problems they may have, be educational and value-added enough to help them personally and professionally. The heading and beginning of the content should grab eyeballs and the remaining portions must complement them by providing knowledge, excitement and high value. When a company can consistently deliver on the promise of great content, customers will stay and encourage others to buy its products and services. Content must address the needs and motivations of people – help them improve their business and gain some insights for personal use too.
The truth is that there is a sea of information and tons of content available. In order to create customers through content, there must be something extra and exceptional about it – it should throb with the desire to meet the interests of the target audience and the focus should remain on customer service. Ensuring that customers and other readers remain continually intrigued by the content offered will make it stand out and apart from all the others. Also all content must not be sent to all customers – personalized ‘send lists’ will ensure that only content that is relevant to a particular set of customers will go out to them. For example: sending out mailers for the latest teen trends to an elderly person (without a history of such searches) will only serve to infuriate them and unsubscribe from any more updates from your company. Creating personalized content and sending it out to the relevant section of your customers and target audience, will gain customers and enhance satisfaction and engagement levels. More customers and repeat business then translate to greater sales, more profit and sustainable success.
Creating customers through content must definitely be at the top of a company’s priority list. The popular search engines too, recognize distinct and value-added content and ‘raise’ it to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPS) for all to see. These top spots on the SERPS ensure that the company’s website and other sites receive more customer traffic and remains in the forefront. If the content is relevant and interesting, the perception is of value-added customer service and customers in turn would be happy to engage with your company for business or also direct those they know to do so. In order for the content to be engaging, avoid trying to slip in a marketing message. Customers see this kind of content all the time and very often most of those messages are not new and in fact are lack-lustre and boring. Interesting content is its own advertisement, will draw people in long enough to want more from the company, and will let others know of it too. In order to create customers through content – it should be good enough to spark and sustain interest.
We have discussed earlier on, that when the aim of the company is purely sales, the content should be different from content written purely from a customer service and education point of view. Combining the two will fail to serve any purpose and rather would disengage customers and other audience. The impression received from such content is that the company is only out to push their products and is not interested in the needs and requirements of the customer. Creating customers through content is about striking a fine balance between serving their emotional needs and being relevant enough to address their interests and expectations.
There is no denying that the basis of writing content is to attract and retain customers. Knowing your customers and the target audience would ensure that your company puts out content that would be relevant to them. Content, that is line with the trends, has the latest information on the industry and outside, is SEO compliant and delivers that extra edge, is sure to gain customers and excite them enough to share it with others. Companies can also ask their customers as to the kind of content they would like to receive in order to create more material that is relevant.
Companies that have a content strategy and one that aligns with the overall business strategy would be more successful in their attempts to gain customers through content. Through feedback and data collected, companies would be able to publish continually content that spans topics, industries and styles. This content should be available to customers and other readers across the channels of information – customers should have the choice to read it on any medium they please. By using multi-channel content distribution, companies display empathy and care for their customers and target audience, which are traits that customers seek in a company before doing or repeating business.
If the content published by a company resolves problems for customers and other readers, it proves to be highly successful. For example: a company that deals with a particular product or service – such as troubleshooting – would add value to its customers by providing them with tips on self-service or the different aspects of customer service. These subjects do not directly related to the product or service, but still add value to the customers by providing topics that would be useful to them. Consistently providing information on such subjects, over time, establishes the subject matter expertise of the company, which even the search engines recognize. When a company is able to establish itself as an authority on certain subjects, outside the realm of their industry and product line, it becomes easier for it to gain repeatedly, customers through content.
It would be hard to find a company that does not have a ‘presence’ on social media. Irrespective of size and customer base, companies will always benefit from being visible through the popular social media channels. People are increasingly engaging with each other, sharing comments and content, engaging in ‘discussions’ and gaining information about companies and products via social media sites. Companies do not have a choice and must keep the content on these sites as relevant and updated as their website. A number of business transactions take place through these social networking sites now and companies cannot afford to waste this huge opportunity to create customers through content on them. If your company does not provide relevant and engaging content, you can be sure that your closest competitor would be creating content to gain your business too. Content on these sites must flow easily and allow the readers to ‘share’ it and create discussions around it.
Before creating customers through content, seek to build relationships with them. By sparking their interest, you give them a reason to do business with your company and provide repeat business. Solidify these relationships over time by providing them with fresh, current and relevant content and reap the benefits of loyal and profitable customers.