Let's talk... content marketing
How content marketing helps you build a relationship with and engage your customer
Historically, customer relationships were formed face-to-face with the people that walked through your business door and interacted with you every day. However, in recent years and particularly the post-pandemic, increasingly digital world, purchases happen online (accounting for 63% of shopping occasions), and fewer businesses get the chance to speak to customers in person. Your customers might even be based far across the world from you, so you seldom, if at all ever, get to meet them.
Despite the shift to digital, it’s essential to continue to develop relationships by engaging with your customers. By doing so, you can build strong connections with them while attracting new people to your brand, wherever they are.
Content can help you to achieve this. There’s a reason for the saying that ‘content is king’; it’s a proven fact that unique, quality content will enable your business to succeed online.
Through content marketing, you can utilise your digital channels to share messages, inform customers and reach people all over the planet. This will drive results, bringing increased sales and a growing base of loyal customers.
This guide lists the top eight benefits of content marketing used in boosting your business and forming long-term customer relationships.
1. Establish brand identity
Your content should showcase who you are as a business, including your values, personality and how you seek to support customers. In doing so, you will set expectations and allow for consistent and positive experiences. This should lead them to engage more with your brand and ultimately want to buy from you.
To establish your brand identity through your content, you need to ensure everything you create follows your brand tone of voice and keeps your target audience at its heart. This causes your personality to reflect through every piece while directly aligning to the needs and preferences of your audience.
By keeping this consistency in all your content over time, you will be seen in precisely the light you want to be, enabling you to build a reputation as a credible business.
2. Build trust
Another way that content can help you build customer relationships is by framing your brand as a voice of expertise and authority, available to assist and guide buyers on their journey.
One of the main priorities of content is to inform readers, answering their questions, teaching them about new concepts and helping them understand how to overcome the obstacles in their lives or in business. Most content online is also freely available to users who need it. By providing helpful information without asking for anything in return, your customers will feel grateful to your brand and begin to trust you.
Specific content, like thought leadership pieces, will highlight you as a voice of authority, showcasing your expertise in a set area by educating the reader and offering the answers they need. In delivering this value, you can allow customers to see you as the go-to for their needs in that area, again driving trust and reputation.
With increased trust will come warmer sentiment towards your brand, as they see you as a useful source. This will make them more likely to purchase from you as they believe your products and services will genuinely help them, fuelling a long-term relationship that keeps them coming back for more.
3. Help more people find your business
There are substantial search benefits linked to content marketing. By targeting keywords relevant to your products and services and utilising good SEO practices, you can rank higher on search engine results pages. The higher you rank, the more likely you are to secure clicks from search traffic. This helps users to come across your business, even if they had previously been unaware of you.
With 5.6 billion Google searches every day, that’s a lot of traffic potential. To be successful, you must ensure that your content matches their search intent and offers value, helping the user to feel rewarded and left feeling satisfied with their experience. From here, you can kickstart customer relationships on the right terms.
4. Attract the right people
Content will not only help you to attract more people to your business, but the right type of people.
In blogs and videos, people will see a title that in theory, should very simply reflect what your content is about. If they click on it, it means they’re already curious about what you have to say and therefore potentially interested in a topic that should be relevant to your business, and maybe even interested in the products and services you have to offer.
The key is in mastering the art of creating topical content that aligns with your offering. It’s also why matching search intent in your SEO practices matters. By doing so, you can ensure you reach leads who could genuinely become customers. This will improve your conversion rates and stop you from spending wasted time on reaching people who simply aren’t a fit with your brand.
5. Support the buyer journey
Throughout their journey, buyers have changing needs. To effectively guide customers through the process, with the outcome of a purchase with your business, you need to craft content that supports them at every stage.
Different types of content work best for different stages of the buyer journey. In the early steps, they need information that helps them to identify and explore their need or challenge (for example, a blog titled ‘how to get healthy after lockdown’). Next, they need more information about possible solutions available to them (’10 easy exercises to do at home’). Finally, they want to make the right purchasing decision to complement their mission (‘how resistance bands can level-up your workouts’) which will lead to ‘which resistance bands are best’ (product and price comparison). After purchase, they will want advice on how to get the most from their products, such as (‘5 targeted glute workouts using your resistance band’).
By addressing the various needs your customer will have across their journey, your content can guide them from one stage to the next. This will help your customers turn from strangers to leads and on to customers, and finally to brand ambassadors earning loyalty from satisfied customers who want to continue their relationship with your brand and share it with their friends, enhancing word-of-mouth marketing.
6. Kickstart conversations
Great content should engage the reader. The best way to do this is to explore topics that relate to their interests, thoughts and opinions while offering a new angle or perspective that they won’t have seen before.
By focusing on your customers’ interests, they’re more likely to want to engage with you – including expressing appreciation for your content, asking questions, or sharing their own experiences in the comments section. These are all strong markers of engagement – if they like what you’ve created, they might even share it with others. Opinion or ‘fun’ pieces (such as quizzes, meme threads or humorous articles) can be beneficial for this, like the below example from BuzzFeed, where users have taken to the comments to share their results.
Kickstarting conversations through your content can also bring your customers together by giving them a place to share common issues or opinions. From here you can build a community, centred around your brand, which will further delight customers and enhance their experience.
By creating compelling content, you will initiate two-way conversations between your brand and customers, so they feel seen and valued by you. Remember to always respond to a customer – even if what they have said is negative. Be interactive and show you care about what they have to say – good or bad.
7. Populate the channels your customers use
While content may typically be associated with blogs and articles, there are plenty of types of content out there. For maximum results, you need to ensure your content is present on the appropriate channels so you can target as many potential customers as possible.
Fortunately, content marketing can be repurposed across channels, including email, social media and video. This means you will empower your content to work for you on several platforms, such as shortening a blog into a social media post or turning it into a script for a video.
By populating all the channels your brand is on – which should be those that your customers use – you can create more touch-points between you and your audience while ensuring you reach them on the platforms they want to be targeted on. This will improve brand visibility and maximise the opportunity of leads finding and engaging with your business.
Specific channels, like social media and email, are particularly beneficial post-purchase. Ensuring valuable content is shared here, will allow you to elongate your customer relationships and keep communication open with them.
In short, it’s essential that your content strategy addresses all of the various channels that your brand needs to be present on while also mixing content types to further drive traffic and engagement.
8. Offer continued value
The priority for many businesses is acquiring sales. Due to this, it’s all too easy to forget about a customer once they have handed over their money. However, by carrying on the relationship post-purchase, you can retain customers too – which works out as more cost-effective than securing new ones.
There are many ways to offer value after the customer has converted. Product guides, demonstrations, hints, and tips will enable people to get more from their purchase, while emails with exclusive deals or discount codes encourage repeat custom.
Another option is to utilise user-generated content. This is a time and cost-effective way of getting content for your brand, putting the spotlight on your customers and allowing them to share their experiences. Examples include reviews, influencer photos and case studies. By sharing content from genuine customers who love your brand, you can encourage others to make a purchase, too, with consumers heavily influenced by recommendations.
By paying attention to your customers, you will help them feel valued and listened to, and in return they’ll feel proud to support you.
Utilising content to extend your customer relationships is essential in turning buyers into brand ambassadors. This means they’re more likely to endorse your business to other people and come back for follow-up purchases. It will also improve loyalty, helping you to grow your customer base and a positive brand reputation.
Content marketing can be a very powerful tool, provided that you do your research and put the right effort into the planning and creation of your content.
Executed well, you can make a stranger into a brand ambassador in a few steps. Building enduring and supporting relationships that keep on adding value to both your customers, through valuable content and experiences, and for your business through stronger conversion rates and repeat purchases. It’s truly a win-win situation!