With the increasing importance of content to commercial success online, content is not something to leave to an intern; it needs a strategy to ensure it really supports marketing. Having a content marketing strategy in place will ultimately manage content as an asset to achieve marketing goals of reaching, converting and engaging target audiences. It's how a brand creates, delivers and governs original or curated content to attract and retain customers, positionin the brand as a credible expert and motiviation change in consumers behaviours.
Creating engaging content is one of the most powerful online marketing techniques available today, since it fuels many inbound marketing techniques:
Paid search marketing
Social media marketing
Conversion rate optimisation
Below are the reasons why content marketing is central to success online.
Shareable content drives creates awareness for your brand. If your content engages readers they will share it via their social accounts, email or word-of-mouth as a recommendation. Everyone is an influencer today!
Content drives results from SEO. Google has made this important since 1998 when it launched. Content became, and still is, king since websites are content and being found relies on content.
Content drives purchases. We base our decisions on online content when shopping online or researching for offline purchases.
Syndicated content drives purchases. Content marketing strategy is much broader than your site though, and includes content on social networks, online publishers, com- parison sites, blogs and many other types of site which help engagement and influence sales.
User generated content drives purchases. Buyer behaviour has changed, we now want to reference wider opinion from others like us about products and services, whether rating sites, blogs or social networks – buyers dig out content to help their decision making.
Content on a range of platforms drives purchases. The importance of the internet continues to increase as technology (especially smart phones and tablets) evolve and we evolve with them.
The RACE Digital Marketing Planning Framework
The RACE mnemonic summarises the key online marketing activities that need to be managed as part of digital marketing. RACE covers the full customer lifecycle or marketing funnel from:
(Plan) - Reach - Act - Convert - Engage
There is also an initial phase of PLAN, which involves creating the overall digital strategy, objective setting and plan.
REACH. Reach involves building awareness of a brand, its products, and services on other websites and in offline media in order to build traffic by driving visits to different web presences like your main site, microsites or social media pages. It involves maximising reach over time to create multiple interactions using different paid, owned and earned media touchpoints.
ACT. Act is short for Interact. It's a separate stage since encouraging interactions on websites and in social media to generate leads is a big challenge for online marketers. It's about persuading site visitors or prospects take the next step, the next Action on their journey when they initially reach your site or social network presence. For many types of businesses, especially, Business-to-Business, this means generating leads, but it may mean finding out more about a company or its products, searching to find a product or reading a blog post. You should define these actions as top-level goals of the funnel in analytics. Google Analytics Goals can include "Viewed product", "Added to Basket", "Registered as a member" or "Signed up for an enewsletter. Act is also about encouraging participation. This can be sharing of content via social media or customer reviews (strictly, part of Engage). It's about engaging the audience through relevant, compelling content and clear navigation pathways so that they don't hit the back button.
CONVERT. This is conversion to sale. It involves getting your audience to take that vital next step which turns them into paying customers whether the payment is taken through online Ecommerce transactions or offline channels.
ENGAGE. This is long-term engagement that is, developing a long-term relationship with first-time buyers to build customer loyalty as repeat purchases using communications on your site, social presence, email and direct interactions to boost customer lifetime value. It can be measured by repeat actions such as repeat sale and sharing content through social media. We also need to measure the percentage of active customers (or email subscribers) and customer satisfaction and recommendation using other systems.
LK Marketing can create a digital marketing strategy to help businesses to take the best advantage of the opportunities available from digital marketing. When creating a digital marketing strategy, knowing how to structure it and where to start is often the biggest challenge!