Going digital to build your business

March 19, 2015

Managers of organisations, big and small, face the question: how can we use the internet to increase revenue, attract the best and brightest, generate leads and retain the customers we have?

The answer is to develop and implement a ‘content-based’ marketing and public relations strategy.

While mainstream media, advertising and branding, as well as the quality of products and services, are integral to the marketing mix, the quality of content on websites, blogs, videos, e-books and social media is also critical to success because the internet has become a first port of call for people looking for information.

Generally speaking, visitors to your company website are either searching for content that will help them make purchase decisions or they are browsing to expand on their level of knowledge about an issue, product, service or whatever.

You will need to cater for both groups in your marketing and PR strategy because not everyone is ready to buy now and an informative website containing powerful information with a clear focus may convince a browser to become a buyer in the future.

Furthermore, content that describes problems and provides details about how to address those problems creates opportunities for an organisation to exercise ‘thought leadership’ as a trusted source of information.

Thought leadership – recognised leadership in a specialised field – contributes to an organisation’s reputation setting it apart from competitors and helping it build a name as a desirable place to work.

Niche markets

The ability to search online using search engines like Google gives people the power to dig up specific information particular to their needs. This has facilitated the creation of micromarkets comprising people who will no longer accept ‘square peg in round hole’ solutions to their problems. Instead, they want products, services and information tailored to meet their specific needs.

Before creating content to cater for niche audiences, you will need to divide potential buyers or clients into distinct groups and make notes about everything you know about them.

A financial services company, for example, might identify groups such as: young professionals entering the workforce, high net-worth individuals aged under 35 years or men nearing retirement age earning an average wage.

Questions to ask while conducting research include:

. What problems do people in each target demographic face?

. How can we solve those problems?

. What information would influence people in the different groups?

. How can we entertain them?

. What content would convince them to buy what we have to offer?

Armed with the answers to these questions, you can then develop buyer profiles that will make it easier to create content for each demographic. Each distinct group will have different information needs reflecting their particular circumstances.

One approach is to develop buyer personas for each group. A buyer persona is a description of a typical person in a niche group that incorporates details such as sex, age, income status, education, likes and dislikes.

Using the financial services example, it is clear that different things will be important to different people. A young professional entering the workforce, a high net-worth individual aged under 35 years and a male nearing retirement age earning an average wage will each need to be satisfied that their specific requirements can be met before they sign up with a service provider.

Think like a publisher

Online, the battle for attention is not won with ‘spin’ and a focus on products and services. It is won by delivering useful content that brands your organisation as a market leader.

Content that is tailored to meet the needs of defined market segments creates a direct link with the internet-user bypassing traditional media and advertising channels.

To build your business online, you need to think like a publisher of information who is telling the world that you understand your industry, understand your markets and customers, and could be an organisation to do business with.

All content must resonate with your value proposition – your organisation’s promise of the value that will be delivered.

Managers of organisations, big and small, face the question: how can we use the internet to increase revenue, attract the best and brightest, generate leads and retain the customers we have?

The answer is to develop and implement a ‘content-based’ marketing and public relations strategy.

While mainstream media, advertising and branding, as well as the quality of products and services, are integral to the marketing mix, the quality of content on websites, blogs, videos, e-books and social media is also critical to success because the internet has become a first port of call for people looking for information.

Generally speaking, visitors to your company website are either searching for content that will help them make purchase decisions or they are browsing to expand on their level of knowledge about an issue, product, service or whatever.

You will need to cater for both groups in your marketing and PR strategy because not everyone is ready to buy now and an informative website containing powerful information with a clear focus may convince a browser to become a buyer in the future.

Furthermore, content that describes problems and provides details about how to address those problems creates opportunities for an organisation to exercise ‘thought leadership’ as a trusted source of information.

Thought leadership – recognised leadership in a specialised field – contributes to an organisation’s reputation setting it apart from competitors and helping it build a name as a desirable place to work.

Niche markets

The ability to search online using search engines like Google gives people the power to dig up specific information particular to their needs. This has facilitated the creation of micromarkets comprising people who will no longer accept ‘square peg in round hole’ solutions to their problems. Instead, they want products, services and information tailored to meet their specific needs.

Before creating content to cater for niche audiences, you will need to divide potential buyers or clients into distinct groups and make notes about everything you know about them.

A financial services company, for example, might identify groups such as: young professionals entering the workforce, high net-worth individuals aged under 35 years or men nearing retirement age earning an average wage.

Questions to ask while conducting research include:

. What problems do people in each target demographic face?

. How can we solve those problems?

. What information would influence people in the different groups?

. How can we entertain them?

. What content would convince them to buy what we have to offer?

Armed with the answers to these questions, you can then develop buyer profiles that will make it easier to create content for each demographic. Each distinct group will have different information needs reflecting their particular circumstances.

One approach is to develop buyer personas for each group. A buyer persona is a description of a typical person in a niche group that incorporates details such as sex, age, income status, education, likes and dislikes.

Using the financial services example, it is clear that different things will be important to different people. A young professional entering the workforce, a high net-worth individual aged under 35 years and a male nearing retirement age earning an average wage will each need to be satisfied that their specific requirements can be met before they sign up with a service provider.

Think like a publisher

Online, the battle for attention is not won with ‘spin’ and a focus on products and services. It is won by delivering useful content that brands your organisation as a market leader.

Content that is tailored to meet the needs of defined market segments creates a direct link with the internet-user bypassing traditional media and advertising channels.

To build your business online, you need to think like a publisher of information who is telling the world that you understand your industry, understand your markets and customers, and could be an organisation to do business with.

All content must resonate with your value proposition – your organisation’s promise of the value that will be delivered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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