Everyone wants to build loyalty for their brand. But how do you achieve loyalty? One common sense way is to deliver a high-quality product, on time, at a fair price, consistently. If you do that, over months and years, you will have the customer’s trust, and most likely, their loyalty.
Beyond predictable quality and timeliness, what else can you do to stand out and build loyalty? And, in a “Covid world” where personal interactions are limited, what else should you consider if you previously built loyalty through a lot of face-to-face meetings?
One strategy for loyalty building is content marketing. Content marketing is delivering value to your customers, through an array of different channels – things like blogs, e-books, webinars, direct mail pieces – that entertain, inspire or educate your customer. It goes above and beyond the product or service you deliver and provides them something extra.
Of course, it is not as easy as it sounds. Think of all the messages you are bombarded with every day through emails, social media posts, and your marketing mail—how much of it do you pay attention to? Think about a recent post, email or direct mail piece that you actually did engage with—-why did you choose to read and think about that one? Chances are you learned something from it, found the topic interesting, or it was inspiring. You are like everyone else. It takes good content to break through the clutter and get someone to pay attention to your brand.
Content marketing is definitely not advertising. It is not transactional and it is not focused on telling people about your products and services. You can not entertain, inspire or educate simply by describing your products, no matter how great they are. You need to go above and beyond that and deliver something worthy and valuable that an advertisement does not.
So how do you do it? Some suggestions:
- Spend time and energy to learn and think about what your target audience is interested in. What would entertain, inspire or educate them?
- Be yourself. Your customers are smart and it won’t take long for them to figure out if you are trying to make you or your company sound like something you are not. In fact, you will do more harm than good if you over-sell what you can do because you are setting your customer up to be disappointed. Content marketing is more effective when it is authentic.
- Everyone loves examples, so in your content marketing, give examples, show how to do whatever you are talking about. It’s one thing for me to tell you about content marketing, but it is probably more meaningful if I give you an example of a personal experience with content marketing, so here is a simple one. I love to ride my road bike. Bicycling Magazine (@BicylingMag) posts workouts geared for road bikers to my Twitter feed. I love their workouts and used two of them extensively this spring. By posting something that was unique and relevant to me, it heightened my opinion of their product and brand. I always pay attention to their tweets in my feed.
- Try to get people to think differently. Talk about unique solutions to problems your customer faces, or provide fresh perspective on a relevant topic. If you gain a reputation for thought provoking content, people will continue to read your content.
Content marketing is not easy and takes time, so why should you consider a content marketing strategy? Here are some reasons to consider:
- It’s hard to stand out from the crowd of your competitors in the crush of messaging that comes at us all every day. It’s even harder now that in person communication with customers is limited by Covid. So, if you have a consistent content marketing strategy that is better than your competitor’s, then you can stand out.
- Just being authentic here……. hopefully you will sell more! Unless you just enjoy creating content (see #3, some people do), most marketers have an ultimate objective to sell more product. Content marketing is still marketing. But it is a very specific approach. If you are successful inspiring, entertaining, or educating your customer, in my opinion, you earn the right to also provide them information about your products, if and only if, your products help solve the problem you are addressing. It has to be a real, credible connection to the content, but assuming it is, let them know about your products wherever it fits best. If customers are engaged in your media and interested in your topic, most will be open to information about your services if it is authentic and not overdone (don’t make it an ad!).
- You might pursue this strategy because you are creative and it gives you pure satisfaction to provide extra value to your customers. You may just enjoy creating the content and sharing your expertise. If that is you, content marketing is a great strategy for you because it will probably flow naturally.
If your main content does not include any references to your specific products or services, I suggest you include something at the end (after your content) that lets people know who you are and what you do.
At AlphaGraphics in Apple Valley, we provide printing services and signs, including direct mail services, banners, posters, stickers, wall graphics and window decals. Our graphic design experts can help you create marketing materials. We can also help you figure out a content marketing plan. To learn more go on our website at https://www.alphagraphics.com/centers/apple-valley-minnesota-us489.html or call us at 952-953-5522