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WEB TIPS: Increasing sales through content marketing

Solve customer problems through educational articles.


August 2, 2012
by ANDREW SHEDDEN

Marketing has never been more important than it is today. When putting together a content marketing plan, ensure you have a tightly defined market. As the old saying goes you don’t want to be a mile wide and an inch deep.

Think hard about what constitutes your most-desired marketplace. Are potential customers early adopters, laggards, geeks, technophobes, large companies, or small companies? Are they fast or slow growing, high volume and high margin?

The more clearly defined the marketplace the easier it is to create action. Gain an understanding of the key challenges your prospects are facing to create great content that helps reduce or eliminate them.

Do your homework:

• Ask prospects and existing customers what their challenges are.

• Read marketplace-specific blogs, print and online publications.

• Join some LinkedIn groups and follow the discussions.

• Check out marketplace forums

The next step is to create unbiased and educational content that’s mapped to the buying process in your marketplace. Many manufacturers do this poorly. Here’s what you need to do:

• Rank the major problems revealed by your research.

• Consider which problems are most detrimental.

Create educational content that offers workable solutions to these specific problems, but make it short and snappy: people have less time to read. However, a complex problem may require a longer piece. If you are in doubt, create long versions and split-test them.

Content that’s even remotely like a sales pitch will fail. Click here for an example of a long and unbiased educational report.

Finally, consider at what point of the buying process you would like to reach and influence your prospects. If it’s at the first stage (identifying need) offer content that identifies and solves a problem they may not know they have. By doing so you have their attention and interest long before they have another supplier in mind.

Andrew Shedden is the president of Broadfield Consulting, a marketing consulting firm that makes it easier for companies to grow their revenues. For new media resources and services visit: http://www.broadfieldcommunications.com. For free industrial marketing resources visit his blog at http://broadfieldconsulting.com.