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Living In The Now: Content Marketing

Content marketing.  We hear it more and more, every day.Content Marketing

Smart marketers understand that traditional marketing is becoming less and less effective by the minute, but what exactly is content marketing?

The main purpose of content marketing is to not only attract customers and engage a clearly defined target audience but to retain them as well.  This is achieved by consistently creating relevant and valuable content with the intention of changing or enhancing consumer behavior (Content Marketing Institute).  Changing or enhancing consumer behavior basically means to drive profitable customer action.

So how do you drive profitable customer action or call customers to action with this type of marketing?  While no one has it down to an exact science just yet, what has been successful for many companies, both small and large, has been communication with customers and prospects openly and honestly without selling.  It sounds funny, but it works.  Consumers have been approached, from a marketing standpoint anyway, the same way for years.  They know and understand the process well.

Instead of simply pitching products, content marketing seeks to deliver information to the consumer which is informative and engaging, ultimately making the consumer more intelligent.  The bare essence of a strategy like this is that if sellers and businesses can deliver consistent and truly valuable information to consumers, they will be rewarded by consumers with their business and loyalty.  For Ecommerce websites, this concept is extremely important.

According to Roper Public Affairs, 80% of business decision makers prefer to learn about a company and their products in a series of articles versus an advertisement.  “70% say that overall, content marketing makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company and 60% say that content and information about the company helps them make better product decisions” (Content Marketing Institute).  The proof is right there: people want to know more about what they are buying and who they are buying from.

 

Content Marketing Examples

The age-old internet standard, “content is king” truly applies in this digital day and age.  There are many ways to engage an audience, while educating them on your goods and services and hopefully turning them into not only customers, but repeat customers.  Here are a few very simple content marketing ideas with which you can inform your audience about your site and its products:

* Blogs

* Webcasts/Podcasts

* Newsletters

* White Papers

* Videos

* Social Media

You may want to consider running an informative “series” which examines at greater depth a particular model or item that is new or popular in separate installments.  This will keep consumers tuning in to learn the latest.  In addition to keeping your content fresh, engaging, and informative, make sure that you actively participate in discussions by asking questions and urging your audience to get involved in the conversation.  Think about creating polls or areas for feedback where anyone can get involved.

The bottom line is simple: it’s ok to be creative and expand upon conventional marketing techniques.  Besides, old-school, traditional practices just aren’t as effective as they used to be.  Consumers are much wiser to the marketing practices of old.  Not only that, search engines are really focusing on high-quality, relevant content and ranking websites accordingly.  Content marketing isn’t just the future; it’s here now.

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