Measure twice, cut once. Before you jump into launching a great big content marketing plan, take some time to map out your strategy. Chances are, you’ll do quite a bit of trial and error out in the field, but designing an effective blueprint beforehand helps you see what works and what doesn’t work. ScribeSpace has seen too many awesome business owners waste money on marketing tactics that simply don’t work for their industry. There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach.
What is content marketing, you ask? Well, we’ve written some blogs about it in the past. Content marketing is a form of inbound marketing, which helps draw new customers in using valuable content – blogs, articles, videos, infographics, funny memes, white papers – instead of pitching potential leads using traditional advertising techniques. A content marketing strategy typically includes a social media campaign, website updates, newsletter campaign, email campaign, and more.
Every great plan begins with great research. Do your homework. It may seem like a waste of time, but it the long run the knowledge you gain in invaluable to connecting with your target audience.
- Research your target audience – what products do they use? How do they find new businesses? What services do they?
- Identify problems in your industry – what are the failures? Where are the gaps? How can your business fill in the gaps? What sets you apart?
- Create a budget – how much money do you have each month to devote to marketing? Is your budget going to grow? You may need to revise your budget over time, but you can start as low as $100/month
- Get the scoop on your competitors – what are others in the business doing? What are they doing right? What are they doing wrong?
- Identify your goals – do you want new customers? Do you need to focus on client retention? Or perhaps you want to do some B2B marketing. Every business’ goals are different, so create your own vision.
Decide how your target audience finds new business and direct your marketing dollars and energy towards that. Doing the right research allows you to see what’s going on in the market at large.
The toughest part is that in our world everything changes pretty much daily. It’s difficult to stay on top of trends in the digital sphere. Revisit your content marketing strategy every six of months to make sure you’re staying on track.
Example of gearing your SEO content marketing strategy towards your target audience
The business: retail store geared for teenage girls.
- Your market is obsessed with social media – get your clothes on Facebook, twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Suggest outfits. Recommend accessories. Give them looks to emulate. Encourage them to Like or Follow You to get the latest news & deals.
- Their parents are most likely paying for their clothes – get parents’ email addresses and home address. Send them coupons once per month via email and once per month via regular mail.
- They wear what their friends wear – create a referral program. If your customer refers a new customer, they get a free bracelet.
- Make products they actually want to wear – fashion trends change rapidly, so make sure you sell clothes teenage girls actually want to buy. For example, Abercrombie & Fitch is struggling because teens no longer want to wear store logos on their t-shirts. The market shifted, and teenagers look for an individualized, unique style.
Don’t even think about starting a content marketing strategy without getting the proper analytics in place. Turn to tools like Google Analytics, Hootsuite, Bit.ly link trackers, Google Webmaster Tools, and SEO Moz to keep on top of what’s working for you – and what’s not.
Every month, review how you’re spending your marketing dollars and the return you’re getting. Without understanding your marketing plan’s ROI with actual numbers on actual paper, you could end up wasting thousands of dollars on techniques that simply are generating new leads or drumming up new business.
Let us help. Our digital marketing experts help you devise an individualized marketing strategy based on your goals, budget, industry, and target audience. Learn more by contacting us or by signing up for a content marketing strategy consultation.