Generating traffic online can be a difficult task. Traditional outbound online marketing strategies work well, but can be challenging for some online startups. Channels like email Marketing and Google Adwords are extremely effective, but do typically require a budget to successfully push out your message. Fast and free to create, content marketing is the complete other side of the coin. But why should you spend time creating “fluff” that won’t even close the deal? Because it will…
Traditional marketing is all about the “push” – pushing the message, pushing the offer, pushing the value – just a whole lot of push. The idea here being that, if you push hard enough to enough people, you get results. Content marketing is the complete opposite – it’s all about the “pull.” Pulling people to your site with content that’s original, educational, interesting and funny will get you results. As you begin to offer the content people want to see, you get traffic. Whether you’re just trying to drive traffic to a website for something like affiliate marketing, choosing to display ads – or whether you want to sell to your traffic directly, content marketing will get you there.
When you’re creating a marketing strategy, it’s easy to get trapped in the lens of optimism. You start to think that your copy is intriguing and will create conversions, simply because you want it to so badly.
You have to change your perspective from that of an advertiser, to that of a consumer. As the customer, do you really respond to ‘salesy’ ad copy that says “buy, buy, buy!” That’s a guaranteed no. However, do you choose to do business with online retailers that you have a solid content relationship with? Yes! This may sound like an obvious tip, but you’d be surprised how often it’s skipped: Every time you write copy for your site, finish, stop, and ask yourself – “would I actually take time to read this?” Pose yourself as the expert, and give people the content they want.
You’re an electronics retailer. Issue a monthly white paper on the evolution of flat-screen TV technology, marketed on your homepage and to an existing email list. It’s okay to require an email address for the download, people expect that much. After your prospective customers learn (from you!) about TV’s for one, two, or six months; who do you think they’ll turn to when it’s time to purchase that flat-screen?
Note the Competition
It’s important to know what you’re competing against. Sure, price may be a part of the equation, but more likely than not you need to know what the type of content the other guy is offering. In addition to simply checking out their sites, you can compare traffic data in free tools like Alexa. If there are topics that drive traffic, you need to be reporting on these. Never copy original content and use it as your own, but chances are you already know the same industry knowledge – you might as well give your take on the hot topics.
Subtlety is not invisibility
Okay, so you might not want to push so hard with the “buy, buy, buy!” message – but it’s okay to let someone know you’re selling something. You are a business after all! This is where the subtlety comes into play. If you’ve been running your education series on 32-40” flat-screens for the past 3 months, and you come to the conclusion that the best value and quality for that size range is an LCD above $XXX.XX – have a banner ad in the text for that TV. It’s not rocket science, there’s a heck of a good chance you’re going to sell some 40” TV’s that day!
The best thing you can do with content marketing is be consistent. You need new, fresh content on at least a weekly basis. Just think, how often do you visit websites where the content isn’t even updated on a weekly basis? You have to stay fresh. Throw in related articles, feature you’re take on someone else’s hot topic – just keep it coming. If you give people a reason to visit your site, they will. After that, it’s up to you what you want to sell them.