When it comes time to get serious about an inbound marketing strategy, many brands start to hesitate, or lose heart. On one level, we understand their worries – launching a comprehensive and multi-faceted digital marketing strategy can be a daunting undertaking!
In particular, we’ve heard – and assuaged – one concern from many different parties over the years (even among other professionals in our own industry). It goes a little like this:
“Can my content actually directly generate revenue? Is creating content only good for spreading my brand messaging, or can I actually expect it to create conversions and sales?”
The answer? Of course your content can create direct value in the form of conversions – if you’re creating the right kinds of content!
We could, here, go on and on about what makes a piece of branded content powerful and effective. We could talk about making sure that your page is optimized for search engines, that your tone is appealing and persuasive, or about how you could bring different forms of multimedia to the table by employing video, infographics, unique photography, or even audio content, all of which garner more shares on social media. We could remind you that “content” is a wide umbrella, one that applies to many different aspects of your website and which can be put to use at every single step of your sales process, in some form or another, whether that means lead acquisition, reputation management, or retention marketing.
But to go back to the matter at hand – conversions, conversions, conversions – there is one trick that content marketers always keep in their back pocket, ready to bust out when they need it most: When in doubt, tell a story.
We’ve talked about this content strategy in some depth before, but it bears repeating, again and again.
You see, today’s internet is noisy; consumers – your potential customers – are being bombarded by content from a huge variety of sources, every single time they go online. The best way to cut through the virtual clutter is to provide your audience with something not just designed to sell a product, but to actually create value, in and of itself. The best way to make your content stand out is to create something that is genuinely appealing, readable, lovable – that is emotional, personal, direct, well-researched, and informative.
Storytelling is a shortcut that helps you cover all of these bases, and more; it’s not a one-size-fits-all trick, but rather, a framework, a way of approaching content creation that helps narrow in on the who, what, when, and, above all, the why, all while stoking your reader’s sense of curiosity and compelling them further down your conversion funnel with each line.
And fortunately, there are all sorts of ways that you can put “once upon a time” to work for your brand’s content right now. Hubspot recently did a great job of highlighting the many stories that you can tell to help persuade your audience and close more deals. Here are a few worth keeping in mind:
The Customer Success Story
What could be more effective at convincing an audience member to become a customer than putting the customer at the center of the story? After all, wouldn’t you want to read a story where you’re the hero?
There are all sorts of ways you can put customer success stories to work. Employing a fictional, hypothetical business owner who needs to solve a problem can be a great way into a piece of content promoting a deal or a product launch, for instance.
More often, though, we see stories like this presented as case studies (when written from your brand’s perspective), or testimonials (when written from the point-of-view of the consumer themselves).
Either way, don’t be afraid to share your success stories, or let your satisfied customers do it for you: New customers love to see that you’ve been successful at creating results for your existing ones, and seeing quantifiable results may be just what I takes to tip them over the line from “curious” to “converted.”
The Origin Story
Believe it or not, audiences actually do want to know who you are.
Though we certainly do care about efficiency more than ever as consumers, we also care about the human side of things; most of us want to know that we’re doing business with good, reliable people, rather than some faceless, soulless, profit-obsessed enterprise.
With that in mind, don’t be afraid to share what makes you unique. Who’s on your team? How did they get there? How did you come up with the idea for your product or service? What motivates you? What setbacks have you faced? Being open and honest about all of these matters is a great way to position yourself as a reliable, trustworthy, and interesting partner, worthy of your potential clients' time and money.
The Product Story
What makes your offering stand out? What was it like in the early days of your company, as compared to now? Has your offering evolved over time? Why does it have certain features, or omit others? Is the history of your industry unique? Are there any funny or insightful anecdotes that insiders know, but newcomers don’t?
All of these questions matter to your audience, and answering them can help you persuade them into following up with your brand.
In short, telling the “how” behind your product or service is a highly effective way of communicating the “why” to your audience – why they need what you’re offering, and why they should be getting it from you in particular.
Ready to start positioning yourself as a thought leader in your field, increase your traffic, elevate your social media engagements – and create more conversions? Then you’re ready for content marketing! To talk it over some more, don’t hesitate to drop the Geek team a line! We’re always here and ready to help set you down the road to digital success… and, oh boy, do we have some stories to share!