In marketing we say that it is content marketing that drives sales. Small and big brands show that this is indeed reflected in reality, and more and more of them invest in blogs, guides and e-books. How to make a guide that will be distinctive and will help you acquire customers?
Why content marketing?
“Buy now!” is no longer enough to drag your potential customer’s attention. You need to convince them that our offer is more than unique and to do that, we need to give them more than others do. Hence content marketing. It offers know-how and provides its users with interesting solutions, regardless of whether they will buy your product or not. And all these are to convince people to use your offer. Content marketing helps you build expert position. And it is experts we all want to cooperate with!
Different forms of content marketing
You can apply content marketing in many ways. Some of the most popular forms are blogs, guides, e-books, newsletters, and posts in social media. Also, content video is getting increasingly popular. The solution you use should be closely related with the brand’s action plan and take into account the potential of its authors.
What does it really mean? Running a blog or regular posting in social media (remember that to succeed, you need to do that on a regular basis) takes time. If you don’t have a dedicated person to do that for you and you know that for some reasons you can’t do that yourself, consider preparing a guide.
It’s a great time-saver and time is exactly what you want to save. A guide or an e-book is something you make only once but will be using many times. Blogging requires consistency, as only this will bring value.
E-book or video?
If you go for this solution, the next thing to do is to ask yourself this question. Preparing both will require some workload and resources. If you make an e-book, take proper care of its content, graphics and any potential corrections. But if a video is something you like more, you will need to choose a place, equipment, camera operator and editor. If you haven’t selected any of the above forms yet, consider the following:
- First and foremost: Focus on your (potential) customers. Ask them what they like. Look for some research showing what really works in your business. Remember to stay detached from your initial assumptions, as it may turn out that your customers need something completely different than what you had thought. Go through queries you have received in the past. Analyse customers’ needs to be able to meet them.
- Personal preferences. Not everybody likes being in the spotlight, so if it costs you much to make a video guide and the effect will be rather miserable, there’s no point in biting off more than you can chew.
- Review costs. Look through the valuations from your subcotractors to find out which matches your budget.
- When you’re ready with the answers, go to the next step.
What to write about?
Here you need to go back to your customers’ needs again. What products do they need? What functions do they find important? What do they use the product for? What kind of issues do they mention? What topics do they find relevant? What are their goals? Choose the one that interests them most. You can use some free tools that will help you discover how interesting a particular topic is, such as: Ubersuggest, Answerthepublic or Google Trends. Analyse the most recurrent topics in your customers’ queries. This will enable you to choose the one they find really interesting.
The next step is to define the content of the guide. At the beginning, it’s worth giving something to your customers to encourage them to stay with your brand in the future, especially if they are not familiar with it yet. Provide them with a smart quick-win. Keep in mind it must be effective: this is how you win your customer’s trust. Share your expertise which is difficult to acquire. Show a fragment of your work and remember to use your customers’ language. Don’t use specialist language: they may not understand it. Find the wording that belongs to your customers’ sector.
Make your e-book’s graphics user-friendly. Come up with graphics that will match your topic: is it to be calming, elegant, minimalistic or maybe inspiring for action? If you make a video, remember to keep the background calm and not distracting.
Leaving the text without any graphics, pictures, charts or infographics would be too dry: they make your message more convincing. Charts are perfect to show figures, growth and fluctuations. Infographics, in turn, works fine as a wrap-up for the content of your guide. You can commision the work to a graphic designer or prepare everything yourself, using some free online tools, such as Canva.
Don’t forget about it. A blatant mistake may do harm to every guide. Don’t do the correction yourself if you were the one to prepare the content: having gone through your own text several times, you may neglect some errors. It’s just better to use the services of a professional.
On top of that, make sure your e-book and video are reviewed by someone who has never seen them before and who is important in your business. This will tell you whether the content you have created really fits the needs of your potential customer.
Putting the guide in a marketing funnel
A guide is an important part of a sales funnel. It may come as a gift, e.g. for subscribing to your newsletter. Thanks to that, you get contact information to someone interested in the topic whom you may later on convert if you warm up the lead properly and guide them through all stages of the marketing funnel.