In the words of Jay Baer, marketing strategist and best selling author, “If you sell something, you make a customer today; if you help someone, you make a customer for life.” His book, Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is about Help not Hype, outlines the importance of providing customers with content so valuable that they would actually pay for it. The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action”. In doing so, you build relationships that will result in loyal business for the long term.
The Case for Content Marketing
There’s no denying the effectiveness of content marketing. The Content Marketing Institute compiled the following statistics to support its value:
- 82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content. (Demand Metric, 2014)
- 90% of consumers find custom content useful. (Demand Metric, 2014)
- 61% of consumers say they feel better about, and are more likely to buy from, a company that delivers custom content. (Custom Content Council, 2011)
- 70% of consumers say content marketing makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company. (Roper Public Affairs, 2012)
A Fresh Alternative to the Hard Sell
Thanks to the Internet, your customers have access to virtually all the information that you do. They’re highly intelligent, and they see straight through any ‘salesy’ pitch. Your value add lies in seeking out, packaging, and presenting that information in order to honor customers’ intellect, support them with new information, and frame a novel perspective. Consumers want to become educated. By facilitating that growth, you earn their trust and appreciation, with new business as your reward. As Baer states, “In every business category, one company will commit to being the best teacher, and the most helpful. And that company will be rewarded with attention, sales, loyalty, and advocacy by consumers who are sick to death of being sold, sold, sold.”
Information Becomes Your Brand
Rather than focusing on the building of your individual brand, ‘Youtility’ becomes your brand. You become known for the help you provide for your clients. You differentiate yourself by adding real value, and customers come to know, like, and trust you because you put them first. When you consistently provide resources for your customers, you become the resource to which they turn when they’re in need of the service you provide.
Content Marketing in Practice
How do we implement an effective content marketing strategy? Social media, email, articles, and blogs offer huge potential for impact. Taking the concept a little further, I’m reminded of a fellow agent who published a book of vetted local contractors. Clients kept the resource close at hand, and every time they opened it in search of a plumber, landscaper, or painter, they were also reminded of the realtor who provided that information. The next time they were ready to sell, they were more inclined to reach out to that agent who had demonstrated himself to be a connected and knowledgeable member of the community. In the mortgage industry, a lender might distribute a customized market analysis for millennial homebuyers. A car dealer could share a video describing ten reasons why a particular vehicle is a great solution for young families. The possibilities are endless, but the results are consistent. Creative content marketing strategies hold great potential to engage audiences in a way that eventually translates into new business.
Content marketing offers a genuine, transparent, and refreshing alternative to hard sell marketing. Reach150 is well aligned with the practice of sharing that valuable content to inspire future business. Its mobile, social media, and retargeted advertising functionalities celebrate and educate customers for life.