Content Marketing: The Answer to Building Stronger Customer Relationships
What Is Content Marketing?
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as a “strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” In simpler terms, content marketing is targeted. It provides value to the recipient and is designed to build trust and rapport with your audience. Content marketing is not promotional. This is not a time to push your sales message out to your audience. Rather, you want to pull them towards you through thoughtful communications and information that is relevant to them.
Think of content marketing as a long-term relationship. In this relationship, nearly everything you do should be for or about your customers, not you. When done right, it can improve the overall customer experience leading to more loyal and, often, higher value customers. Additionally, you’ll stay top of mind with your clients year-round rather than a once-a-year touch point that might feel a little forced.
Why Content Marketing?
We’ve all heard content is king, but have you ever asked yourself why? This quote from Andrew Davis, who happens to be one of my favorite content evangelists, sums up content marketing nicely:
“Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.”
That last part is really important…trust drives revenue. Think about the last time you needed to hire someone such as a plumber or an accountant. You probably asked a friend or co-worker for a recommendation of someone they liked and trusted. Over the years, face-to-face interactions have declined as online interactions have risen via tools like social media and live chat. This is true even more so now due to COVID-19. Content can help bridge that gap and build trust.
What Is Marketing Automation?
In a nutshell, marketing automation gives you the ability to send the right content to the right audience at the right time. We’ve all received that odd email or print mail solicitation, e.g., a catalog for a pet store when you don’t own a pet. Those companies are buying address lists. It’s a numbers game for them; and they hope that by casting a wide net, it will pay off in sales. Nothing screams “you don’t know me” like this tactic. With a marketing automation tool, you don’t have to be like those companies. Marketing automation takes the work out of list segmentation so that you can quickly identify prospects using your own data.
Here are some stats to consider…
70% of companies report that the most important benefit of automation technology is better-targeted customer communication.
(Liana Technologies, 2017)
61% of consumers say they have greater trust in, and are likelier to buy policies from, companies that provide content.
30% of marketers use audience segmentation tactics to improve email engagement.
In summary, the benefits of content marketing combined with marketing automation result in better-targeted communications, improved email engagement through list segmentation and greater trust.
If you’re wondering if a marketing automation tool is right for your agency, consider these questions:
- Do you find it difficult to nurture prospects through the buying cycle?
- Do you struggle to send out regular communications?
- Do you have an ongoing source of professionally written content?
- Does your agency use multiple systems for marketing and lead management?
- Do you know if your email marketing program is really working?
Ultimately, by using a marketing automation tool, you’ll be able to:
- Consistently stay in touch with prospects throughout the buying cycle. Its automated processes enable you to spend less time managing communications and more time building your business. Remember a key aspect to a good content marketing strategy is consistent communication. Consistent communication builds trust. And what does trust lead to? Revenue.
- Create dynamic lists.Dynamic lists are a great automation tool. You set the criteria once and the system automatically updates the list based on that criteria.
- Nurture prospects with compelling, pre-written content.Regular touch points with relevant content send the message that you’re interested in a long-term relationship, not a transactional one.
- Track and analyze campaign performance.You’ll be able to see how your campaigns are performing and can make corrections earlier rather than later. In the process, you’ll start to learn more about your prospects and can start to sell smarter.
Find out more about our marketing automation tool and how it can help you quickly build and track marketing email campaigns, and deliver relevant, timely content to clients and prospects.
Lisa Muvich, manager of content strategy, leads the Applied Marketing Automation (AMA) content team and directs the content strategy for the AMA content library. Lisa brings over 20 years’ experience creating and managing digital content across a variety of industries – software, manufacturing, financial services and insurance.
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