A new way to sell and build your brand.
Do you know this guy? Are you still selling like him?
In today’s market landscape, content branding holds a prominent position. Especially online, people expect transparency, valuable information, timeliness and an invitation to engage. 2013 consumers are savvy and they are demanding that marketers play by new rules. Gone are the days of sleazy tactics and sly one-ups. Even used car salesmen are likely playing friendlier and more upfront games with prospects who walk on their lot.
A whole new world
Enter inbound marketing and content branding. Imagine a world where your target audience asks you to market to them. They freely provide contact and beg you for information. Well, ok – it doesn’t happen to everyone, but it could happen to you – if you play your cards right. Think about what happens when someone visits Google, Yahoo or Bing. At a basic level, all they want is an answer to some burning question. They type in a phrase and scan the results…
Attract. Click. Conversion.
IF your exchange of information provides enough value to that searcher, it is possible they will dig deeper into your body of content. IF your body of content intrigues that searcher, they might come back at a later time or they just might ask you to continue to keep them informed – to push them new information as soon as you make it available.
Regardless of what you are selling, there is always an emotional impact associated with the sale. In the case of the used car salesman, you may have walked off the lot with a car – but what about that rotten feeling in the pit of your stomach? Will you ever do business with that salesman again – probably not. Maybe you’ll even warn all your friends to avoid the lot at all costs.
The trust effect
It’s important to build trust, to provide more value than your competition, to be transparent and to do it well. If I can’t find an answer on your website or blog, I can surely find it somewhere within the first few pages of search results. Inbound marketing is based on the idea that you can make an exchange for something of equitable value – for example, my name and email for that free PDF download that teaches me how to master Twitter as a marketing tool. I really want to learn that new skill so I am willing to provide you with my email address.
A savvy inbound marketer will then continue to provide more valuable content to that connection – offering up a sale opportunity ONLY at the point they’ve gained some in-roads with trust. ONLY at the point that their connection has proven a willingness to engage. Isn’t it a whole lot easier to sell things to happy people that already value your body of knowledge and feedback? Wouldn’t you love to buy things from folks you’ve come to respect because they’ve already proven their worth to you?
Every form of content you release online is involved in the process described above – each piece sending messages and building impressions that are reflective of your brand. Whether you like it or not, search engines, social media, blogging, YouTube, content aggregators – they are all here to stay (and not to mention get more complex by the day).
- Why is Red Bull creating adventure movies,
- Expedia making touchy-feely YouTube ads,
- Ford creating a Hulu TV series, and
- Coca Cola publishing an online magazine?
They are building brand stories through various and evolving new content mediums because they realize their consumers are beginning to expect this growing level of engagement.
What are you doing to stay in the game?