Editor’s Note: Our first regional i♥marketing user conference included six rapid-fire sessions on best practices for each stage of the customer lifecycle: Attract, Capture, Nurture, Convert, Report, and Expand. This blog post covers the key points of the Attract rapid-fire session.
Just as with any relationship, in business you have only one chance to make a first impression. In online marketing, there are many ways a new potential customer could find you; it’s really important to know the likely channels and position the right content in each, so that you attract that new customer from the first hello.
Begin by scripting a thorough outline of your ideal customer. Build out personas that match potential customer types, including at a minimum company size, industry, problems to solve, why they might buy from you, and the channels they use to get information. All this gives you guideposts for your content creation and marketing plan.
Three factors to attract the right prospects
Once you know who your customer is, there are three important factors for attracting those customers. Content, search and social (in that order) are the ultimate trifecta for inbound marketing success: Let’s look at each.
Content, as we define it in content marketing, is:
The presentation of information – for a purpose – to an audience – through a channel. It could be a blog post, a tweet, a video, a webinar, an image; almost anything.
It’s important for one main reason: Buyers complete up to 70% of the buyer’s journey before allowing or soliciting engagement with sales. Content is your means to get them to continue that journey with you…useful or pleasing content is the reason the buyer will continue to consider you and your brand throughout the journey.
90% of consumers find custom content useful and 78% of buyers believe that organizations providing custom content are interested in building good relationships with them.
3 key content tips to be a better marketer:
- Scale content across as many platforms as possible. When you create a webinar, turn it into a white paper, make it three blog posts, and socialize at every step. Reuse, recycle.
- When you create content, have in mind the keyword you want this content to be found for. Use natural language and don’t stuff the keyword, but make sure it’s there in prominent locations.
- While we recommend leaving most of your content ungated (it’s much friendlier and helps increase overall traffic), do consider gating certain high-value assets. Only people who are motivated will fill out a form to get a content asset – and those people are excellent leads.
SEO is the process of putting content in front of people who overtly and explicitly express a desire, via keywords, for a particular product, service, or piece of information. In other words, people are raising their hands saying they want information. The job of a search marketer is to make sure that a site and its content highly relevant for both search engines and searchers.
When someone goes to Google or Bing or Yahoo, or any other search engine, you want to make sure your content shows up appropriately for the words your audience is using.
There are more than 100 billion searches in Google every month. Companies that understand SEO best practices and optimize their content stand to see significant gains in new customers, thought leadership perception, and customer satisfaction.
3 key SEO tips to be a better marketer:
- Google’s goal is to show pages that delight humans. Your goal is to have the best page on the internet for your target keywords. If you don’t have one of the best pages, you won’t rank (or rank for long)
- Don’t ignore the long tail. It’s great to rank for major industry terms, but these are often extremely competitive. Long tail terms (5-7 words) are usually less competitive and are often better quality. For example, you don’t know much about someone that searches for “computer,” but you know exactly what someone that searches for “where do I buy a gaming computer in San Francisco, CA” is looking for.
- The average searcher spends less than 6 seconds on the search engine results page before taking an action. They glance through the titles to see what looks most relevant to them, then read the description to make sure they are likely to find relevant content. Use an SEO audit tool, and pay attention to the SERP preview at the top. This is what a searcher will see in the results. Make sure it is compelling!
3. Social media marketing
Social media is the modern form of the traditional word of mouth. If you produce insightful, thought-provoking content across your company’s social platforms, you will see the level of engagement from your online community increase.
Each interaction that a follower or fan has with your collateral, be it a like, favorite, share, repin, RT or +1, heightens the company’s exposure, extends its overall reach, and captures greater share of voice.
Those social actions mentioned are equivalent to the traditional form of recommending, supporting, questioning, rebuking or validating a business or idea. Social makes it scale; yesterday it was one-to-one, today it is one-to-many. Take advantage of the amplification and increase your website’s inbound traffic.
Marketing is all about making connections with people, so given that there are over 700 million active accounts on Facebook, exceeding 300 million on Google+, and hitting 200 million on Twitter, companies that successfully integrate social media into their marketing strategies tend to get ahead of those who don’t.
3 key social tips to be a better marketer:
- Create unique and trackable links for each social channel you publish on. That lets you measure which channel performs the best by analyzing the number of clicks to form submits/leads captured.
- Add pictures, graphics, images, and videos to your posts to make them more engaging. On Facebook people share videos 12 times more than links and text posts combined, and people “like” photos twice as often as text updates
- Social is about listening, sharing ideas, connecting with like-minded individuals – it’s all about engagement!
Want to learn more right now? Visit the Act-On Center of Excellence to get the whole Attract presentation.