If I say the word content in the context of sales and marketing, you probably think of blog posts, visual content, social media shares, etc. All with the goal of getting traffic to your site and increasing sales.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with that kind of content. I’ve written a lot of it myself, and that approach works. But if that is all you’re doing with content, you are missing out.
Free content in all its forms can help draw in and educate buyers, build relationships, and give you a presence on multiple platforms. That allows you to create an audience that will buy the things you sell.
Wonderful. Really. This is absolutely the core of a great content strategy.
But it’s still missing something.
If we broaden our definition of marketing content, we can see new possibilities that extend beyond what we would normally call marketing.
Content can also be used to fulfill specific roles and solve specific problems that plague a business.
With just a little thoughtful planning and some time, you can create assets that will solve these issues for you.
If your product arrives in more than one piece, you should really consider writing a good assembly guide AND create a quality video guide on assembly.
A good guide doesn’t mean one of those terrible, computer-translated monstrosities that come with products manufactured in China.
Try to put your product together yourself. Have others do it. Have people in your target market do it. Create a list of steps, potential problems, and indicators of success along the way.
Turn this into a text-AND-visual guide. Make it clean, simple, and easy to understand. Hire a writer to work with you on this one to make sure the end user (the rest of us don’t matter, the people who give you money do) can understand and use the guide.
Take a little bit of time to make something that is actually helpful and speaks for your brand. You only have to put that work in one time, with possible updates based on customer questions and product changes. It’s not a big deal, and it’s worth it.
Some market segments and products will need a printed guide, but some could be just as well served with a delivery-day email containing a digital version of the guide and a link to the video. Posting it as permanent on-site content works too. Knowing that kind of help is available will also boost confidence in those who are considering a purchase.
By turning what could be customer service problems into opportunities, you can create some awesome content that will reduce costs for the business.
Yes. Almost always, yes. If it’s more complicated than a banana, help your buyers out.
No matter what you’re selling, there are ways that you can help your customers to get better results from it and be happier with their purchase. Any time you have the opportunity to do that, take it. Physical products and software especially benefit from this kind of helpful content.
When you buy beard oil from Beard Brand, you get a delivery day email with their text AND video guide to how to use it. The guide also lives on their site and shows up as the second result when you search “how to use beard oil”.
So not only are they creating a customer service touchpoint by sending the email with the guide on the day of delivery (genius), they are also creating on-site content that brings buyers to their store by posting content they are already using elsewhere(also genius).
Right off the bat, this seems like a product that would be simple enough not to need a guide. It’s oil, that you rub on your beard. I’m in the target market and kind of intelligent, but as soon as I think of this product, some questions jump out at me:
And every one of those questions is answered in the guide.
Then you turn that into a step-by-step guide. Cover the bases, and revise the guide over time as the product changes or you collect more data on customer needs and questions.
Just like with assembly guides, you’ve got several options:
The guide should definitely live on your website as traffic-drawing content. You could also send a print copy with physical products, a digital copy via email, and make a short video.
Exactly how you put it into the hands of your buyers is best left up to them. Survey your buyers and ask how they’d like to receive it, or look at your demographics and do some research into what types of content they’re consuming.
Any kind of free content that improves customer experience and the usefulness of what you sell beyond a basic use guide.
What you are looking to do here is to help your customer get the absolute most benefit and enjoyment out of your products. Unlike assembly and use guides, this doesn’t have to strictly focus on the product itself.
Tumbleweed sells tiny homes: High quality, mobile, minimalist housing.
They have two target audiences:
The Tumbleweed blog serves up free content for both of these audiences.
Absolutely, yes. Anyone selling to consumers can profit by being informative, helpful, and friendly to their buyers.
Kitchen Appliances often come with free recipe books and technique guides. Hell, I’ve bought bottles of whiskey with a recipe for an Old Fashioned on the label.
This kind of content is accrued over time more than others.
Talk to your buyers. Think about what they know that you haven’t thought about. Ask what they wish they had known when they first bought from you. Find unexpected ways that people use your product. Encourage sharing between buyers on social media and in other arenas.
Collect this information and turn it into content that will enhance their experience. Give it to them in whatever format is appropriate.
Any way you want to that makes sense for your business and your customers.
You’ll notice that all of these also serve the bonus of spreading your marketing message. SO even while you’re helping out people who have already paid you, you’re creating assets that draw in more new buyers.
It accomplishes the most important thing a business can achieve. It gives your buyers a reason to love your products, interact with your business, and tell others about how awesome you are.
Only if you want to make your business stronger, more profitable, and more sustainable long-term.
Taking the idea of what can be achieved with “content” beyond what everyone else is doing can elevate you in the eyes of your buyers. At the same time, it can eliminate some of the problems that you, as a business owner face every day.
That kind of behind-the-scenes, high-level care and planning is what gives your buyers a great experience, and that’s what they’ll remember about you long after they’ve bought from you. It’s the same attention to detail will lessen your load of headaches and let you sleep better at night.