Your marketing plan did everything right. It covered all the digital bases: social media, email, blogs, SEO, etc. The company’s name is out there. So why aren’t the orders rolling in? What dropped between recognition and closed sales? Credibility! Name recognition isn’t enough. Your customers must trust your integrity and expertise to provide a solution to their problems. In response, some companies are turning to Targeted Content Marketing. A developing discipline within the field of public relations is closing the gap between recognition and closed sales.
“Immediately after an article appeared about our attention to detail and the customization that we do, a potential customer called from the opposite coast and asked for a quote,” said Tim Brando, the owner of an electrical device manufacturing business that sells six-figure products. “They bought two products, and then two years later bought two more. This brought an immediate ROI and more than paid for the program.”
Filling in the trust gap
According to a January 26, 2017 story in Forbes, the U.S. digital marketing spend will near $120 billion by 2021. It is on pace to consume 46% of all advertising by 2023. But all that expense doesn’t necessarily translate into sales.
Here is where targeted content marketing steps in to make that transition. It does so by making the dramatic jump across the threshold of known, to trusted.
Targeted content marketing is a form of PR that capitalizes on the adage that “content is king.”
It provides useful information in the form of articles to convey a company’s message to its target audience. It does this without directly pushing them to buy a product or service. Instead, stories help potential customers do their job better, cheaper, faster or smarter. Therefore, they get read and increase the odds of transforming prospects into customers.
Corey Wainwright summed up the payoff in her story, Content Marketing Strategy: A Comprehensive Guide for Modern Marketers, when she wrote, “Targeted content is used to: expand customer base; generate or increase sales; engage a community of users; and, most importantly, increase brand credibility.”
While content marketing can be presented in a variety of formats ─ including trade magazines, websites, newsletters and even white papers ─ an emphasis on the word “targeted” means that the content is only offered to the precise media outlets that speak directly to your potential customers. As a result, marketing dollars are not wasted with a shotgun approach.
Rankin PR approach to targeted content marketing
“We had done SEO, pay-per-click and inside telemarketing without much result,” recalls Brando. “Once we started using Rankin PR ─ a public relations company that utilizes targeted content marketing (rankinpr.com) ─ things quickly turned around. The stories they wrote, primarily case histories, got straight to the point by demonstrating that our service solves customer problems. Soon, the calls for more information came rolling in.
The actual content can take the form of how-to guides, articles addressing FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions), condensed white papers, new technology briefs, useful tips or case studies; the last item typically representing the best way to fully describe how your company can solve customer problems. Once created the information takes center stage to build trust.
“Targeted, informative content establishes you or your company as a resource, an expert in your industry,” explains Laura Godfrey, a former Director of Marketing at a large, publicly traded communications company, who recently decided to launch L.B. Godfrey Marketing Consultants, which is focused on website design and Search Engine Optimization and Marketing (SEO/SEM).
“It is a far more effective use of money because not only does it give a short-term benefit in terms of informing your customers, but that impression of you being an expert doesn’t just go away the next day,” adds Godfrey. “Credibility is not something that erodes quickly.”
Why targeted content marketing works so well
Often overlooked in today’s instant electronic news world, informative story telling or how-to articles in print publications and their online equivalent could be viewed as old school by some, especially younger marketers who favor SEO and social media to attract customers. Big mistake.
Published articles actually drive SEO results by creating back-links to your website within the content of the story. Algorithms used by all popular search engines, such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc., are designed to track traffic between legitimate, respected websites and the links they use within their content. The more articles that get published about your product or service, the more links are established, and the higher your ranking within any search engine.