Content marketing, that alien buzzword creature. What a ridiculous notion, that by putting out sufficient quantities of high quality content, someone could attract customers without reaching out to them. A curious idea, indeed. Except of course, we’ve now seen it work. Inbound marketing strategy typically results in more leads, conversions, and best of all – does it for much less financial cost. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the occasional outbound direct mail, or even *gasp* picking up the phone. However, with the success of content marketing, came an overwhelming number of blogs, guides, tips, tricks, and endless more channels that can guarantee you ever more fantastic results. So, as we move towards the next phase of Inbound Marketing, how can a brand look to position itself and stand out from the crowd? A TrackMaven study back in February suggested that while the amount of content produced last year rose 34%, engagement on these decreased by 17%. What this means, is that it’s a saturated market. And as such, we need new ways to stand out. The answer, is in automation.
According to brandpipe, marketing automation is now worth a monumental $5.5bn as an industry. Across the board, it’s the go to tool for finding new leads, nurturing, distributing content, and maintaining engagement. There are no shortage of automation tools that can help you share your content – from MailChimp for your e-mails, to (wink wink, nudge nudge), SoGrow for your social media automation needs. The responsibility of the marketer, entrepreneur, business owner, or key communicator is to establish which channels best connect with each type of customer, and segment accordingly. Not every e-mail will drive traffic, just as not every Tweet is going to generate brand new business. However, the right blend of marketing channels will bring you the best chance of having your content seen by the right person.
How do we identify the right person? There’s two ways that we can look at this. Option A, is the creation of targeted content, and sharing it with the appropriate audience – this would be the “talk at” the audience model. This is an excellent way to raise your brand awareness and make people conscious that your brand exists and performs. However, let’s consider an alternative, Option B, Permission based content marketing. Now, that sounds like an impressive phrase that you can drop into your performance review and show off to your line manager, but what does it actually mean? Ever gave a website your e-mail address to receive an e-book, access a guide, access a trial, or anything in between? You’ve actively gave them your permission to be contacted. Not only does this make sure that your marketing operations remain strictly white hat and avoids the sending of unsolicited e-mail or other contact – the numbers don’t lie. It’s a few years old now, but in a study from 2011, opens on the opt-in lists were twice as high as those who hadn’t consciously given permission. Better still, not only did it receive more opens, the click-through rate on these e-mails were double the average engagement. In the years that have followed, there’s nothing to suggest this trend has really changed.
The Next Step
The moral of the story. Automation isn’t a scary thing, and is a force for good – when used with active permission based methods. The same applies to all channels – messages to your followers about your product is reasonable, messages to the world about them can be less so. To bridge the gap, and achieve opt-in results, it’s important to get your brand in front of people and deliver your value proposition. SoGrow, lets you do just that. Learn how, at www.sogrow.co.uk