Looking for prospects and customers with your marketing? Is growing your business a goal?
For most businesses, a slick billboard on the side of the road and a professional-looking logo aren’t going to be enough. Marketing is more important than ever in a world still struggling under a pandemic and COVID-19 restrictions.
Your business and sales team need marketing that can find, target and influence prospects at the moment they are looking for a solution. Those prospects are also jaded. Who can blame them for being leery of fake promises from other businesses? They want to do the research and they want to decide on their own.
It should be obvious by now; you need a content marketing plan.
The State of Content Marketing Today
According to industry data, 30% to 40% of most marketing budgets are spent on trade shows (sponsorship, travel and travel expenses, and attendance). Much of the collateral used in the show later becomes content marketing. Even as trade shows have been cancelled, businesses have been slow to move resources to other marketing channels and their content marketing.
Content Marketing and COVID-19
With the cancellation of trade shows, many businesses are struggling to fill in that marketing gap. The business has stopped talking to customers and prospects.
To fill in the communication gaps brought about by COVID-19, businesses need to increase their digital and content marketing.
Rather than a trade show, you should be moving your budget to blogs and content marketing, email campaigns, SEO and social media, and other digital channels. As much as possible, businesses should be tearing down the walls between them and their customers (after all, a pandemic puts up enough walls) and opening up new communication avenues. Look into providing free content. Help your customers — deliver support and encouragement during these difficult times.
Unfortunately, many businesses have been slow to adjust. Rather than reaching out to customers, they are cutting their marketing department and waiting for another trade show. Now more than ever, you need a strong content marketing plan.
Create Your Content Marketing Plan
Even during quarantine and COVID-19, you need to get your content marketing in the hands of those who need it — your customers and prospects. To get you started, here are a few steps you can take right now, even when your team is working remotely.
Evaluate Your Buyer Personas
A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. It is also one of the most important tools in your content marketing toolkit.
Before you write your first blog or post your first tweet, you need to know the person you are trying to reach. A strong buyer persona can help you identify the problems facing a prospect. You’ll know what content to produce, where to publish it, the topics to cover and more. It provides critical insight into the shape of your content plan.
Focus on Your Customers
Remember, your content marketing plan needs to focus on your customers and how you can help them. The content you produce shouldn’t be about your business. It should be about solving problems for customers.
A lot of bad content out there focuses on what a business does. It ends up being a list of services or accolades. A reader goes to a website for that. Prospects and customers are turning to you and your content for a solution to a problem. You need to focus your content on your customers. Solve a problem they are facing and provide useful information.
Provide a Path to Purchase
Another problem with content plans, or even a lack of a content plan, is gaps — missing trails that lead to a purchase. A prospect may land on a piece of content from you. They read it, like it, but they will have additional questions. They are going to do more research. If you aren’t providing the next answer, they will go somewhere else to find it. Suddenly, you’ve lost a good prospect.
Have you mapped out the Buyer’s Journey? Most consumers (business-to-business and business-to-consumer) follow steps, like a journey, toward researching a problem. After their journey, they make a buying decision. Your goal should be to provide the most useful information at every step on the journey. Make it easy for them to select your business when it’s time to purchase.
Reach your Content Marketing Goals
Many content marketing campaigns start with the best intentions, only to falter. Resources get pulled toward what seem like higher-priority projects. Suddenly that great content expert doesn’t have time to meet this week (or month). The result is delays, wasted effort and lost opportunity.
To keep up with demand and ensure you are always publishing the best content possible, look at outsourcing some of your content needs. An agency resource, or even managed services for marketing, can provide you with flexible expertise and resources when you need them. Problems can happen. Prepare for them with additional resources and a back-up plan so you can keep up with your content schedule
Jump-Start your Content Marketing
So, you’ve got a great buyer persona and some top-notch content, but you’re still having trouble finding your audience. Want to get more people reading and sharing your content? It may be time to invest in paid marketing.
A savvy digital ad campaign can be rocket fuel for your content marketing. Look at a Google Ad campaign or Facebook marketing. If you know the research avenues a customer will take, why not advertise on them? If you have great content and know where your customers are hiding on the internet, then a digital campaign can be a tremendous boost to your marketing efforts.
There Is No Downtime in Marketing
It has been a difficult year for many businesses, with COVID-19, lockdowns and global issues having an impact on the market and resources. It’s easy to see why companies would pause their marketing campaigns or just wait out the market disruption, but that’s a mistake. It is critical to maintain progress on your marketing goals.
Businesses, including your customers’, are struggling under the same difficulties. They are looking for help, just like you are. If you aren’t marketing, and aren’t providing a connection to those customers, they will find another business to help them. That’s lost business, lost customers, and lost revenue.
Contact GO2 Partners today to learn more about content marketing, digital marketing and more. Talk to an expert in marketing to see how 20/20 Marketing can save you money and fill in the gaps in your marketing plan.
We’re here to help.