“I like to think of content as currency. Here’s why. If you give valuable content, you will earn valuable customers.” -Julie Perry, Director of Social Media at StrataBlue
Engaging With Your Customers Through Content
Content marketing has been around for over 100 years. In 1904 an unknown brand named Jell-O gave away free cookbooks on how to use their product. Within two years of distributing the cookbook, Jell-O earned over $1 million in sales.
Not every brand needs to create a recipe book, but you do need to reach your audience where they are and help them solve their problems. Brands that share quality content with their customers are seen as experts in their field and are more likely to gain customer trust. As customers start to trust your brand and benefit from your content they are more likely to purchase from you. So how do you reach your customers on the limited time and budget of a startup?
You need to focus your content marketing efforts on where your customers are. Sharing your content via social media is a great way for you to amplify your content and reach your customers. For fashion brands this could be Pinterest or Instagram. For B2B businesses this could be Twitter, LinkedIn, and blogs. Most businesses’ customers have a natural gathering place based on the types of content that interest them. One area where all businesses should put some content is on their own blog where they own the space and can post valuable content like articles, infographics, videos, and more that their audience can share with others.
Engaging Through Content On Twitter
Twitter is a great place to engage with your audience in a low-cost (or no-cost) way. Before her journey into marketing, Julie Perry spent over two years as a superyacht stewardess and wrote a book titled The Insiders’ Guide to Becoming a Yacht Stewardess: Confessions from My Years Afloat with the Rich and Famous chronicling her adventures. At April Smartups, Julie outlined how she amplified her content to promote her book, drawing on her 13 years of marketing experience for large and small brands in consumer electronics and other industries.
When Bravo TV launched a new show Below Deck that follows luxury yacht crews, Julie recognized an opportunity to connect with her audience and market her book. She followed the Twitter discussions on Below Deck in real time and saw some girls saying things like they’d “like to work on a boat”, “this was their favorite show”, etc. So, she favorited some of their tweets about the show, and when they saw that @WorkOnAYacht (her Twitter handle) favorited their tweet, they came over to her site. Books were flying off the shelf during that hour of TV each week thanks in part to her Twitter marketing efforts.
*Tips On Engaging With Twitter:
Retweet, favorite and follow your potential customers. By promoting them they will often research you and follow you back.
Always put a comment with a retweet, even if it’s small, so that the person feels valued.
Put Some Money Behind It
“No matter how successful your content, it’s going nowhere if you don’t put a little money behind it.” – Julie Perry
It is getting harder every day to get your content seen by customers. Just look at the controversy surrounding Facebook brand pages and how brands’ posts are being seen by a smaller portion of their followers. To get around this amplify your content with paid media.
Paid ads are a great way to overcome the noise that is out there on social media because of the amount of targeting they allow.
Amplifying With Facebook
During Below Deck’s season, Julie reached out to fans of Below Deck with Facebook display ads. She targeted the ads to young women between 19 and 31 who watched and liked Below Deck, and were not already connected to her page. She also created promoted posts (like the one below) where she took a quote from the show and connected it to her content about a detailed job description of a Yacht Stewardess.
Julie put $21.86 towards the promotion and received 185 website clicks, at about $0.11 a click, and a click through rate of more than 12%. This is a very cost effective way to reach a highly targeted audience. And at these prices you wouldn’t have to sell many books to make good money from the promotion.
Amplifying With LinkedIn & YouTube
LinkedIn and YouTube are also places to target potential customers and clients. LinkedIn can be a great option for B2B companies. On LinkedIn you should first create a company page where you can share your content just like Facebook and Twitter. Then, for your paid advertising, you can target individuals by job title, employer, company size, or even their interest and skills. As spends on LinkedIn can be higher than other channels, it’s a good idea to have a very narrow group you’re advertising to and send them to a very specific landing page.
On YouTube you can create pre-roll videos that are shown before viewer-selected movies. The content you use is up to you, but you can start out with helpful content you might already be making.
These videos can be skipped after only five seconds, so make sure you make the beginning compelling and information packed so that viewers don’t skip your ad. You can target people based on their age, gender, viewing history, interests and geography, and even remarket to people who have already visited your site.
You will not be charged for your pre-roll video until somebody has watched at least 30 seconds of your ad. So if you create a 32-second video that sort of cuts out at 28 seconds and your viewer skips the rest, you will not pay for that view. This effectively gets you more great brand impressions that you don’t pay for.
At the end of the day, content marketing is a great way to market your business, but only if you know who you’re sharing your content with. So find the best ways to connect your content with your audience and add some paid media to make sure you get seen.