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In recent years, content marketing has grown among B2C businesses to become on of their top strategies for attracting new leads. Of course, for content marketers, this comes as no surprise: we’ve seen the statistics, and we know how well our strategy works. However, while many businesses have tried content marketing, they often struggle to settle on a solid strategy. As a result, their marketing goes through fits and starts, and the success they hoped to achieve often falls short.
The problem, of course, lies in the strategy and execution rather than in content marketing itself. So, for B2C businesses that want to build a sustainable content marketing strategy, here’s where to begin.
You can’t please everybody, and the more you try, the less you’ll please the people you really need to win over. Instead, focus on the people who form your core audience, and work on delivering a hyper-targeted message to them.
Of course, doing so means putting a lot of work into understanding your audience. What are their basic demographics? What cultural reference points can you connect with? What are their interests, concerns, and motivations? If you can connect your product to a specific pain point or show how it will fulfill a certain dream, you’ll go a lot farther than you will with a more generic approach.
Most businesses have one line of products that is more popular than another, and those key products should get the most attention. However, fully-developed B2C content marketing strategies should include all products, especially if they work as add-ons to the main product line.
Do you sell fine leather shoes? Take a moment to mention your line of shoe care products. Or if you sell stationary, choose images that match your paper collections with your line of pens. Remember that returning clients are some of your best customers, and while you may not land a customer with a secondary product, current customers may be delighted to hear about them.
Segmented email lists are a boon to marketers and customers alike. Far too many businesses adopt an email strategy of “send all the things to all the people all the time.” It’s overwhelming to the users, yields poor returns to marketers, and usually results in a higher unsubscribe rate.
Instead, go back to your customers, look at their purchasing behavior, and segment your lists so that visitors only receive content that matches their interests.
A warning about email segmentation, however: don’t just add people to new lists without their permission. You don’t ever want to send your customers email they didn’t sign up for. And, if you do use segmentation, make sure you don’t accidentally end up with users on so many lists that they end up buried under an avalanche of email. The point of segmentation is to curate your lists, not proliferate them.
We often use downloadable PDFs for our B2B clients, because their content marketing strategies lend themselves to longer, information-packed content. However, we’ve also seen some fantastic B2C downloadables that our clients have used to great success.
Do you sell clothing or other merchandise? Try assembling a seasonal “look book” to showcase the latest styles. Do you run a personal improvement business focused on fitness, productivity, or wellness? Try offering a planner. Or maybe you offer a range of kitchen appliances. Why not a selection of recipes?
Social media is one sector where B2C businesses have far more success than B2B. People like to use social media during their down time, when they’re not thinking about work. And in those rest breaks, they’re more likely to be open to a nicely-composed image or a featured blog post.
Of course, you will need to choose your social media platforms carefully, as not all of them will play to your strengths. If your product line is fairly photogenic, then Instagram is your friend. But if you focus more on services, then you may struggle to find images that fit your brand.
Never fear: inspirational quotes get a lot of traction online, as do pro tips and daily challenges. And if you’re running a regular blog, sharing your posts to social media (with an image) can draw attention to your more thoughtful content pieces.
Your strategy should involve a mix of marketing channels, including blog, social media, email, and (increasingly) video. With all these moving parts, you will need to establish a schedule and stick to it. The question is, how frequently should they plan to put out new content?
The short answer is: the more the merrier. Blogs that update multiple times a week have shown to be more effective than those that update once a week or less. However, this also comes a caveat about quality over quantity: only produce as much content as you can produce well. One long blog post a week is better than two short ones.
Consistency is also critical. If you send five emails in one week and then none the next, that erratic schedule will be a detriment to your marketing plan. Instead, send at a pace your subscribers can manage. I’m on two or three lists for companies that sell very visual emails. I receive one or two a week from each business, and I almost always open them because I know they’ll be well designed and it only takes a couple seconds for me to glance at their contents.
On the other hand, I’ve unsubscribed from lists that email me less frequently because I’ve found their content unappealing or unfocused. And if one of those lists hasn’t emailed me in a while and then suddenly begins sending me a weekly update? That sudden change in pattern is usually a prompt for me to unsubscribe.
Creating an effective content marketing strategy for your business isn’t magic, it just takes planning and dedication. The secret sauce, if you will, is a finely-tuned knowledge of your customer base. On that score, you can always learn more through testing and paying close attention to your user analytics.
And, of course, if you need a hand, we’re always here to help.