Marketing has changed over the past decade. It hasn’t changed because marketers got bored with traditional marketing strategies, like cold calls to prospective customers, or direct mail or print ads. Marketing has changed because consumers have changed. Bombarded for years with advertisements that have now infiltrated the digital space as well, they’ve become less trusting and more skeptical. And CBD content marketing is not new but it has drastically changed.
And because consumers have changed, the old (outbound marketing) strategies don’t work as well as they used to. More than 90% of consumers now fast forward through television commercials, and more than 200 million Americans have registered on do-not-call lists to escape the harassment from telemarketers. Companies that still rely on those strategies are losing a lot of business.
That doesn’t mean consumers have stopped buying, of course. They’ve just stopped buying from companies they don’t yet know or trust. Stepping into the breach, inbound marketing seeks to establish that trust before making a sales offer.
Instead of pushing sales pitches at customers, inbound marketing pulls them into the buying process with useful, informative content—and with strategies like search engine optimization (to achieve higher search engine rankings) and social media sharing. Those strategies are more effective—and more cost-effective—than conventional outbound strategies. Inbound strategies generate about 4 times as many qualified leads, and do so for 62% less, as outbound strategies.
A recent survey from Hubspot found that on average consumers now make their way through 3 to 5 pieces of content before they’re ready to make a purchase. They read content that tells them how to do something they want to do, why one brand is more durable than another, or answers one of many questions consumers face in their buying process. These pieces of content build trust in (and authority for) the companies which provide them. That’s the essence of content marketing, a process Hubspot defines as follows:
“Content marketing is a marketing program that centers on creating, publishing, and distributing content for your target audience — usually online — the goal of which is to attract new customers. The most common components of a content marketing program are social media networks, blogs, visual content, and premium content assets.”
Content marketing has a number of goals, from increasing email click-through rates to amplifying lead generation efforts. At bare minimum, content marketing aims to convert window shoppers into buying customers by distributing relevant content through each stage of the buying process—converting a website visitor into a qualified lead (who’s now actively thinking about buying your products and services), and a qualified lead into a customer.
Consistency is the name of the game. Engaging content for buyers at each stage of their buying process, from brand awareness to loyal advocacy. There is information and sensory overload all around us and especially on the internet. Today, brands must compete for consumer attention and create ways for them to interact and stay engaged.
When we think about the customer journey, and the stages within it, we can begin to analyze the appropriate strategies for each point on the path.
For those who are brand new to you, how do you hook their attention? Well, not always with a 1000 word post. Landing pages, videos and entertaining items like quizzes or games make great choices.
Ok, so you got their attention. But what’s next? Well, when data or what appears to be valuable information is presented in the ways of an infographic or checklist, many will click on the link and even forward it, even if the information is pointless. When data is synthesized into a digestible, visual form, it becomes a powerful way to tap into your consumer’s informational and emotional centers.
Depending on your business and sales cycle, your leads become prospects after a certain point of interaction. Note that there are different types of prospects requiring specific types of content. Engagement is all about building trust in your brand. The industry term for doing this is ‘Thought Leadership.’ Think how-tos, helpful advice via blog posts and informational videos. And remember, social proof, in the form of strong social engagement, is a default requirement in this modern day.
Customers have questions and make unknowing objections based on fears. Some ways to address these limiting beliefs are through longer form content like white papers or e-book and even webinars. The choice depends on your demographic, of course.
So a prospect has become a customer, now what? Well, the hard work doesn’t stop here! Customer reviews are crucial to the future of your business, so compel your customers to leave an honest review on yours or any other review site. Social media conversations keep your brand top of mind and blog posts and newsletters do the same but in a much more personal, direct fashion. What’s important is that you are always there, supporting your customer in their life, answering any questions they might have and providing high value so that they don’t feel the need to seek an alternative.
Your customer becomes your brand evangelist over time. They also want to appear knowledgeable and trend-setting to their community of friends and family. Enable them to do this while also repping your brand for you. Provide ongoing content that is highly shareable, like offers, contests and freebies and your brand presence and customer loyalty will only increase with time. Remember: it’s always more expensive to acquire a new customer, rather than retain an existing one.
Let’s bring this down to earth. Say you have an online store for CBD tinctures and capsule. You want to find ways to drive more traffic to your website with enhanced search engine optimization (or sponsored ads, or social media posts), so that when someone types “buy high quality cbd oil” into Google, your site lands high on page one of search results. When they click through to your site, they might find a content offer like: “How to tell the difference between high quality, potent cbd oil and snake oil.”
In your article/video/infographic/etc, you’ll break down valuable guidance on how to evaluate a company and its products. To access the page or to download the content, you’ll direct the user to a page asking for their email and name. You now have their contact information, which means of course that you can send them personalized emails. Email marketing is one of the most powerful tools out there. Getting into someone’s inbox ensures the highest conversions for your marketing communications. Here, you can also see how no marketing strategy lives on its own. Holistic or integrated marketing looks at how each channel synergizes with the others, to deliver better results.
That’s content marketing in a nutshell. What it means for your business is a way to increase sales while polishing your brand and building customer loyalty. An experienced, full-service digital marketing agency can show you ways to do that. To learn more about the ways our branding, packaging, social media, website and content marketing services can help you grow your business, contact us today.
We share tips on branding and marketing in the new era and update you on recent trends in the budding CBD + Cannabis industries.