If you want to build brand awareness, improve your relationships with your prospects and boost your profits (and who doesn’t?), then the key lies in customer engagement.
To engage your customers, you need to share your knowledge, resources and your thoughts with them. Rather than feeding them repetitive messages about your products and services, the emphasis should be on an altruistic approach, as if sharing information and advice with friends rather than touting for business.
This represents a shift in thinking for many businesses. We have followed the traditional advertising model for so long, and talking about our products and services without adding anything else to the mix follows the straight advertising model directly. However, two key things have happened that have made this shift in thinking necessary.
Firstly, traditional advertising is not as successful as it once was. The media – and our minds – have become saturated with advertising. We understand it, we can deconstruct it and we can see right through it. But that’s not the only reason why people expect more from businesses who are reaching out to them.
The explosion in online content marketing has played a huge part in the move away from selling to value-added engagement. Content marketing in all its forms – from blogging to email marketing to social media – gives people something real to digest and to learn from. It is, to paraphrase the popular saying, news they can use.
Instead of sending pure advertising messages – “we want something from you” – organisations are sending content in a spirit of generosity and information – “we want to give you something”. Admittedly, content marketing takes more time and effort than just putting selling messages out there, but the statistics show that it is more than worth it. According to the Content Marketing Institute, marketers believe content marketing is 18 times more effective in actually determining ROI than traditional advertising.
Perhaps that’s why a huge 9 out of 10 B2B marketers are using content to grow their businesses [Source: Content Marketing Institute]. Is your business one of that number yet?