Content Marketing and Becoming an Authority
Here, you should think of your ‘product’ as being your content – the content of your blog as well as the content of any YouTube channel you may have, podcast etc.
You may also have another product that you are actually selling, but your articles and blog posts are still products too and they are still what your visitors are going to use to judge your knowledge, expertise and honesty.
This is why it’s so important to make sure that you are posting in a way that strengthens your brand and that helps to build consistency and reliability. This is what content marketing is all about and it is what will allow you and your brand to establish the trust of your readers so that you can then start selling to them.
So say you were creating a fitness blog to sell an eBook; how would you do this with content marketing?
One good strategy would be to post twice a week and to make every single post unique and fascinating. Look at the competition and see what they’re doing wrong and then make sure you do it better – that might mean that the subjects you tackle are more unique than the majority. Or perhaps it just means that you’re going to do do more research and go more in-depth? Either way, you need to ensure that every time someone comes away from your article they are impressed and they feel that they got something they wouldn’t have gotten elsewhere.
This ‘style’ and commitment then becomes your calling card and it is what will make people seek you out for information. It’s also then what will make those same people more likely to want to buy from you when you say that you are giving away even more amazing secrets in an eBook or when you say that you highly recommend product X.
Consistency is key here and so too is a commitment to your values and to your USP (unique selling point). Make sure that each article and blog post stands alone as a testament to why you should be considered an expert and why your audience should trust you.
Note as well that you can also reinforce the association with your brand in your content. Try to mention your company/website name from time to time and to speak about yourself and this way people will be reminded about your brand as you are delivering value.
Another way you build trust is by trying to engage with your audience/customers and to build a relationship. This is one of the reason that those bloggers who have a personal brand do so well – they allow the visitors to put a face to the content they’re reading and this makes them seem much more transparent and honest. As a rule, we don’t put our face on things unless we believe in them.
Likewise, speaking about yourself can again help to create this trust as can showing some ‘behind the scenes’ of how you put your business together. The more upfront you are with your visitors and customers, the more they will think of you as an honest resource they can trust.
You can also create a relationship with your website visitors by interacting with them. This might mean asking questions in your blog posts and responding in your comments section, or it might mean surveying your audience via social media or an e-mail shoutout. This is why both these marketing tools are so powerful and effective.
Under Promise and Over Deliver
You also build your relationship through your service and the way you interact with customers. One thing that can go a long way to making you seem more trustworthy and to increasing the way the general public see your brand is by taking an ‘under promise and over deliver’ approach.
Basically what this means is that you are offering a certain amount of value and then delivering more. One obvious way you can do this is by improving on your delivery times. Tell your customers they will get their product in 3-4 working days and then make sure it gets there in 2. They’ll then be so impressed, they’ll be much more inclined to want to work with you again.
Giving away free gifts is also a good way to do this. If you’ve ever bought a phone case on eBay you may have received a free capacitive stylus – this is the same principle in action.
Finally, Pat Flynn talks about potentially recording personal messages for people who order e-mail courses and eBooks. This is such a nice personal touch and it goes so far in showing you went the extra mile, that it’s bound to build a lot of good will and brand loyalty.
Increasing Brand Loyalty
Building trust and strengthening your brand will immediately increase your brand loyalty but there are other things you can do as well to try and turn your first time customers into repeat customers and your one-time visitors into repeat visitors.
One obvious example is to use some kind of reward or loyalty scheme. This way, when someone buys from you you will be able to offer them a discount or an extra incentive for buying again. Likewise, you can also achieve increased brand loyalty by up-selling and giving your customers ways to increase their order. This might even go as far as creating your own ‘ecosystem’ or your own ‘walled garden’.
This is something that Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Apple all do to varying extents. When you buy a product like an iPhone for instance, you will then likely by apps for that device which will only run on iOS devices. This in turn means that those customers have an incentive to remain with Apple – otherwise all the money they spent on apps will be wasted. Likewise, if you buy a Windows Phone, then you might have extra reason to get a Microsoft Band – as the Microsoft Band has added functionality for Windows Phone users.
You can also give away promotional gifts as a way to enhance brand loyalty. This might mean giving your customers t-shirts with your logo on it for instance or mugs with the same branding. Either way, this has the effect of enabling you to ‘over deliver’ once again and at the same time means that your customers and visitors will be able to feel like a ‘part of something’. Essentially, as soon as someone puts on a T-shirt with your company name on it, they will feel more as though they are true fans of your business and they will increase their brand loyalty (of course this is also free marketing!).
Finally, make sure you create a mailing list. With a mailing list you can use e-mail marketing which will allow you to reach out to your previous visitors and customers. In doing so you can remind them of your brand, bringing you to mind once again and you can encourage them to come back to your business by offering deals and discounts. E-mail marketing is highly effective because it is not reliant on social media accounts or on your fans remembering to check in with your website – you can reach them directly and right in their inboxes!