Fall is the time of year that brands double down and refine their new strategy and marketing plan for the new year. Content marketing remains the single most important investment that businesses can make to increase new customer recruitment and to retain and build upon the loyalty of previous buyers.
Don’t head into 2019 without a formal written plan and strategy for content marketing. Here are 9 critical opportunities your business can participate in monthly, that will help grow your monthly recurring revenue (MRR) and expand brand recognition locally, or globally.
1. Display Advertising Makes an Epic Comeback
Just when we thought that consumers are saturated with static image advertising, it has started to perform again according to marketing experts (and in our own experience). While video advertising has definitely taken the lead when it comes to paid promotion, display advertising has made an unexpected and epic comeback, and should be incorporated into your 2019 strategy.
Remarketing is the reason. When you retarget the customer with a picture of the product their purchased, or the landing page that they visited and engaged with, you are tapping back into a memory of a positive experience. Much like running into someone you ‘had fun with’ last year, a familiar flash back to a positive brand, product or service experience elicits a new visit. And that visit has a high probability of converting into a sale.
Remarketing by showing a variant of a product the customer already purchased is powerful. For instance, if they purchased a dog harness from you, design the image to show the matching leash. Did the consumer purchase part of a collection? Create your retargeting with display advertising that shows them the rest of the collection that they can own too, with a repeat customer discount to reward loyalty and motivate the purchase decision.
Don’t underestimate the value of showing a previous customer what they bought, to remind them about your buyer/vendor relationship, and encourage them to participate by shopping again for another gratifying product (or service).
2. Voice Search Enabled On-Page Content
It is hard to find a house in America that doesn’t have a Google Home or Alexa personal assistant. One of the most exciting innovations is the launch of the new Google Home Display. It’s essentially a tablet that adds the visual element of virtual assistance and we’re guessing that every home is going to have one too.
The move to visual virtual assistance by Google fulfills the need that consumers have to search online for products, services and general information by voice (rather than typing it into a search engine and reviewing links). Google Home Display will show the best recommendations based on the search query the consumer has provided.
Consumers won’t be typing in: “Dog grooming Miami” anymore. They will be searching by conversational terms like:
- Best dog grooming in Miami
- Open Sunday dog grooming in Miami
- Top rated dog groomers Miami
That shift to conversational search for products and services is one of the most important changes to content marketing. Website designers are already threading in key conversational phrases into landing page copy (LPC) to help index on those search terms. There are also opportunities to use those conversational search strings in your blog and social media content, to improve traffic and results.
3. Long-Form Blog Content
We know what you are thinking; finding time to add new content to your blog among all the other tasks your marketing department has to fulfill is difficult. But Google and other search engines reward businesses that invest in high-quality content, by directing more targeted traffic to your website. So, while you may THINK that blog posts aren’t that important, when you review your referring traffic analytics, you’ll see that they are a powerful magnet for customer recruitment (and retention).
The algorithms of search engines are complex; and they are smart enough to be able to recognize high-quality, strategic and informative content from ‘fluff’. We’ve all visited websites with paltry short 300 – 500-word blog posts, tag clouds and just about anything else that could be used to gain the ‘blessing’ of the search engines. That kind of content is a waste of time, both for SEO purposes and to your customers who (like Google) can also detect fluff, rather than relevant content.
The highest performing blogs are over 2,000 words. Branded blog content between 1,200 and 2,000 words performs well. The reason is many ‘marketing experts’ have convinced brands that the optimal length for blog posts is 500-800 words, and it is such a common length that search engines are looking for articles that break that unwritten rule. Here’s a little secret… 500-800 words suits the marketing agency in terms of expediting content services, but it’s not what is best (or most effective) for your business.
Remember to break out the content into short paragraphs and set your H1, H2, and H3 tags accordingly. Not only does it make your long-form blog content easier to read, but you will notice that search engines favor the structure and reward your post with more traffic.
4. Instagram for Direct Retail (In-App) Sales
In 2018 Instagram moved to revolutionize e-commerce. We all head to Pinterest or Instagram when we want to think about the things we want to buy; whether fashion, home furnishings, art, accessories, personal technology, pet supplies and of course, recipes and exciting new restaurants. Now for both networks, consumers can buy directly from a post they have viewed.
If you are selling a physical product or service, you will want to lean more heavily on Instagram in 2019 to promote your business. The first step is to make sure you have an Instagram Business account (and not a personal one), so that you can unlock and start utilizing all the tools and analytics information provided in the business dashboard.
The second step is to grow your audience. Want to know what works? A multichannel advertising promotion where you give away something. Whether that is a grand prize, a number of coupons or rebate discounts on your good or service; give them a reason to flock to your Instagram account and follow you. Spend time building out your brand persona with Instagram Stories (the more personal the better for authenticity) and interesting content. Try giving away a small prize every month to retain and engage your Instagram followers, and launch products with buy-in-app opportunities to create a new sales opportunity.
5. Personalized Brand User Experiences (UX)
How do you feel when you get an email like this? “Dear Valued Customer” … You can already hear the internal dialogue in the head of any individual who receives a non-personalized email like this. Not only does this type of broad scale broadcast emailing not work, but it makes people feel like they are irrelevant, or just ‘one of the crowd’ of people your business is trying to engage.
It doesn’t convince them that you think their business matters.
All email marketing platforms allow for personalization by first name and last name. A quick note about tooling your website subscription form for success? Remember to separate first name and last name fields, so that you can easily integrate that into your personalized email marketing correspondence.
If the customer likes your business, they know your business name, where you are located, and the products or services that sell. Shouldn’t you (at the very least) address them by their name if you want to encourage them to buy your product? It makes a big difference and also helps brands build loyalty.
6. Live Stream Video for Crowdsourcing New Customers
There is no lying in a video. Well, sure there is the opportunity to mislead online consumers, but we’d like to think that putting your name, and your face in front of the camera emphasizes the need to be completely honest with your customers.
Live streaming video is an exercise in intimacy, in a world of text and advertorial imagery. Videos are easy to engage with (press play) and very easy to watch on a smartphone, no matter where you are. So, it’s no surprise that video marketing continues to lead the way and provide more engagement and sales conversions than other types of content.
Should you host your livestream videos on Facebook? There are many tools that make livestream webinars on Facebook actionable for businesses, who want to market to the viewers who engage with the video.
a) Facebook sends a message to every subscriber on your Business Page to let them know a live video is starting, to help you gather your customers.
b) Once one of your Facebook followers engages with the livestream video (by hitting a ‘like’ button or making a comment), Facebook then notifies people on the individual’s friend list, that they are watching the video. “Lauren just made a comment on this video”. Powerful stuff, because you know if your friends are doing something on Facebook that looks interesting, you want to jump in too. This is also an opportunity to gain more followers on your Facebook page (if they found the livestream interesting).
c) After the livestream is over, Facebook provides integrated sponsored advertising tools that allow you to directly remarket to the individuals who watched your video. You can choose variables of viewing engagement, from “watched 10% of the video” to individuals who stayed engaged for the full duration of the livestream.
When you send an incentive or special offer to all individuals who participated in your livestream video, you are creating a campaign with a measurable outcome that can help you track your conversions. How many coupons were issued and used? How many consumers subscribed to your email to qualify for a prize? The promotional possibilities are endless.
7. Focusing and Targeting Niche Communities
Find the hobby interest and market to that, not just target market. How many subgroups can you create within your large target market? What matters to that niche consumer group the most, and what interests do they share that you can appeal to?
Knowing your target market is a fundamental of marketing. But advertising to everyone within your target market as though they are all driven by the same interests, motivations, and needs is missing the boat entirely. Brands and business need to separate niche communities within the global target market to find unique opportunities for personalized marketing.
Here is a good example. Let’s say for a moment that you sell dog supplies and your target market is aged 25 to 65-year-old pet owners. Wow, that’s millions and millions of people. Now go through a market segmentation exercise to refine the niche groups within that market, which could include:
- Owners who have senior dogs
- Owners who have toy breeds
- Owners who are training a new puppy
- Owners who foster dogs or volunteer with rescue organizations
- Owners who compete in agility training
- Owners who compete in dog shows
With that short list, you can already see the potential of target market segmentation. Each one of that type of dog owner has unique motivators and desires that can be engaged with, through campaigns that acknowledge and focus on those needs.
How do you begin to segment those groups? Create a contest and an online survey and send it to your email subscribers. Place a form on your website that allows visitors to “tell you more” about their interests. As the data rolls in, segment your lists for targeted email and push notification marketing. Suddenly, you have customized the content to the precise needs of that customer, and conversions go through the roof.
8. Content Syndication (Paid Promotion)
There are many businesses that have built a high-quality and large library of evergreen blog content on their brand website but have not explored how they can continue to use that content to recruit new customers. One of the fundamental benefits of adding new content monthly to your blog, is that you have new and interesting articles to share in social (without the need to rely on third-party content). Why drive your customers to other websites?
But once you have cycled that content several times in social, what else can you do with those helpful, informative or entertaining blog posts? Content syndication is a sponsored advertising opportunity to send those blogs to high-traffic media sites as ‘recommended reading’ at the bottom of the page after a related article hosted by that site.
How does it work?
a) You build a campaign using the Taboola or Outbrain dashboard that targets a specific article URL on your business blog. Remember to install the tracking pixel so you can access analytics and results from your sponsored content spend.
b) You select (or omit) media outlets that do not fit with your advertising niche. For instance, if you are selling fishing products, you’ll want to target outdoor and sport related online magazines, and omit health and lifestyle, fashion etc.
c) You decide your CPC and maximum budget amount and create your advertising flight. You can create one campaign in Taboola with multiple images and advertising captions to A/B test results.
If you have invested in high-quality content, you can essentially use it as ‘bait’ to draw in traffic and potential customers. Taboola and Outbrain are the leaders in content syndication platforms.
Outbrain is very strict about the content it will accept (for instance, it will not promote content about supplements or nutraceuticals), and it is a little more expensive. Taboola is more open to all product and service niches, with reduced rates that are optimized starting at .040 cents (CPC).
9. Customer Retention Content Marketing
In your goal to penetrate new markets, and reach a broader number of potential customers, don’t forget to incorporate retention strategies into your content marketing strategy for 2019. Once a customer has purchased from your business and enjoyed a favorable experience, they will return, and their long-term value as recurring revenue should be part of your marketing plan.
“Acquiring new customers costs 5 to 10 times more than selling to a current customer — and current customers spend 67% more on average than those who are new to your business”
Source Web: 2018 Invespcro.com
What channels for content marketing are the most effective at keeping existing or previous customers engaged with your brand? It’s a matter of reaching them and reminding them about that relationship you have already established, and in 2019 that will mean leveraging more personal channels of communication including:
- Mobile push notifications
- Email marketing with loyalty incentives or special offers
- Retargeting campaigns
- Mobile apps
- Social media content
We want to encourage our visitors to provide feedback and comments on our articles. Did you find the recommendations useful? What other elements will your marketing team prioritize in 2019 to help recruit and retain customers? Share your insights with us.