1. Create a Killer Content LibraryThe drum of content marketing has been beating for years. Every marketer knows theoretically that they must jump on the “content marketing” bandwagon, but few are executing it correctly. Content marketing isn’t just slapping together an infographic and calling it a day. Now, more than ever, Google is penalizing “thin content.” Thin content is easily recognized. It is short in word count, but most of all it comes up short in providing value.
Brands frequently employ blog content, external thought leadership content, native campaigns, and social media to generate visibility and leads, but expanding a content library to develop an array of diversified content that offers everything from free resources to larger pieces like extensive reports, guides, or even eBooks can build a strong relationship with prospects who return repeatedly and offer additional information to improve focus on the right prospects. Going wide and deep is the new mantra. Make sure the content offers value. Turn that 400-word blog post into a 2,000-word (or longer) in-depth post with lots of screenshots, and watch engagement soar.
2. Focus on Third-Party Listings in Organic SearchAs Google has aggregated content, so have websites sprung up that aggregate more targeted content. Consider sites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and others that searchers actively use to research purchase decisions. As a review aggregation site, 80 percent of inbound traffic for ConsumerAffairs.com comes from organic search results. Internal studies have discovered that 70 percent of our site traffic is consumers who are researching before making a decision.
Consumers who are on a mobile device typically purchase within 4-8 hours, while consumers on a desktop device purchase within 24-72 hours, signaling stronger purchase intent for mobile searchers. Knowing mobile users move quickly and that SERP real estate is limited in mobile browsers, brands should pay attention to third-party opportunities to increase the likelihood of reaching highly qualified leads.
As consumers actively compare brands, a final decision is frequently made on a company profile with reviews, and taking advantage of review site profiles and buyer's guide listings with lead generation features can help brands connect with highly qualified leads at their moment of need, increasing the likelihood of conversion.
3. Merge Killer Content With Third-Party ListingsMany review sites have a feature where the brand can respond to a reviewer’s post. Most brand responses are generic boilerplate platitudes. Why not use this high visibility opportunity to provide high-value content? Content such as a quality buyer’s guides with learning resources consumers can use to learn more about industry product features, which products or services are the best fit for various needs, or even interactive tools to see whether a product needs to be replaced are all options.
Creating or identifying interactive content that can be leveraged to reach customers actively researching before a purchase helps prospects identify the brand as a best fit for their needs, and collaborating with other sites offering these types of resources will help position the brand in more spaces where consumers actively research before purchasing.
4. Turn Customers Into AdvocatesThis lead generation tactic works particularly well with software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies, because the lifetime value (LTV) of prospects and the higher cost per action (CPA) costs from other paid marketing efforts means this free (or extremely low cost) way can be extremely valuable. One example is to participate in an accreditation program that bestows prestige or prominence to partners. This could be related to security, compliance, or marketing training. If the accreditation adds real value, customers will naturally share the benefits with their professional peers. Adding tools such as an accreditation seal or partner awards can further amplify the benefits.
Although referral volume is typically lower, the higher conversion rate is worth looking into considering the lower amount of spend and minimal resources required to earn referrals once a program is in place.
Client referrals are highly qualified due to the access prospects have to testimonials and data sets from current customers. The closer relationship increases the likelihood to close because prospects are able to see that the marketing message aligns with what customers are experiencing, and trust their colleagues to share quality resources to improve performance. Paid tools such as Influitive can help gamify the customer referral experience. Social tactics of connecting with and engaging customers on LinkedIn and having clients showcase their relationship with a brand on their own media properties or through case studies they can share with their own audiences further strengthen credibility.
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Danica Jones is Marketing Manager for ConsumerAffairs for Brands.