6 Key Elements in a Content Marketing System That Sells
Have you wasted your time on marketing messages that do not sell?
In today’s digital and mobile world, it is more challenging than ever to reach your clients with your marketing messages.
Many business owners think marketing is complicated, and are frustrated when their messages fall flat on their clients’ ears.
Just like you, they want to serve their clients to the best of their ability. If they do not succeed, they are without cash flow and their business will fail.
In the past 20 years, marketing has changed tremendously. I was fortunate enough to have access to some of the top digital marketing experts in this industry, and they have taught me a new way of marketing.
Let me share some of what I have learned about this new way of marketing with six vital elements for a content marketing system that will dramatically increase your sales!
Are you ready to service more clients in 2018? Do you want to use your marketing to help your clients and your business be successful? Then, let’s get started.
A6 Vital Elements Required in Your Content Marketing System
1. Client with specific problem
What is the specific problem your clients have that you provide a solution to? Start by truly understanding the issues your clients are facing, and what dominant buying motive will move them to take action (buy your product or service).
Every client who is shopping for a solution is, in essence, looking for information to make a buying decision. They are uncertain about making the right decision, and without the proper information will not act.
Your clients need information (content) to help them choose the right product or service. That’s the essence of content marketing.
First, you need to understand what information your clients need to make a decision.
This client-focused attitude requires a different way of thinking. You need to stop thinking like a marketer and start acting like a publisher.
If you want to be successful with content marketing, it is vital to understand that every client’s biggest fear in a buying process is making the wrong decision.
That’s where you come in. By offering the right information, you not only reduce the fear level but also take control of the buying process. So, how do you take control and get on common ground with your potential client? By adding a second element to your content marketing system: relevant content.
2. Relevant content
Your content marketing investment can only be justified if they result in relevant content that produces results. The investment should lead to content that does two things: help your clients and supports your business. Meghan Casey offers a great solution to get you on the right content track: your content strategy statement.
A content strategy statement is a content mission with four equally essential elements. To create your content strategy statement, answer the following four questions:
- What kind of information will help your clients?
- Who will be your target audience for those information products?
- How will this information help you reach your business goals?
- How will this information help your clients?
By answering those four questions, you will have a clear guideline for your information products (content marketing).
Let me share an example of a content strategy statement:
We create how-to articles and publish case-studies that will position our business as the authority in this industry and generate more sales, and that will help brand managers to create successful brand campaigns and increase their market share.
If you have a clear idea of the content that you are going to create, and how it will help your clients and your business, it is time to move on to the next element: your content marketing plan!
3. Content marketing plan
If you want to get things done, you need to write them down in a plan and execute it!
To transform your content strategy statement into an executable content marketing plan, start by deciding on the frequency of producing, publishing and promoting your content.
Some business owners struggle with the frequency. How many times should you post something? The answer: let your available resources (time, people) define your frequency.
As soon as you have defined the frequency, you can plan all activities on a content calendar. This calendar will help you to schedule and organize the production, publishing, and promotion of your content.
1. Production: The production part of your calendar helps you to plan and manage the workflow of your content production.
2. Publishing: The publishing part of your calendar gives you a clear overview of the exact publishing deadlines and helps you plan specific content for special days of the year.
3. Promotion: The promotion of your content is essential to make sure you are reaching your audience. Unseen content is, in essence, wasted content.
So, promoting your content is a critical part of your content plan.
This might sound good, but the question still remains, how do you create a plan that works? The answer: by planning with the end in mind. Define the end product (content) you want to produce and work backward.
Let’s assume you’ve decided to write a blog post. You probably are going to promote it on social media. Now, take the promotion of your blog article as the endpoint.
Pick the best day and time to promote your blog content. It may take you five days to finish that blog post. Now, define specific stages in your content production planning. By the way, Hubspot published a great article on this topic, titled: How to Write a Blog Post: A Bookmarkable Formula
The first stage may be brainstorming about particular topics and titles.
A second step could be interviewing an expert on this topic.
The third stage might involve organizing your content. The result of this stage is an outline of your blog post.
The fourth step involves the actual writing of your content. This will result in a draft version of your article.
The fifth stage is a revision of your draft (by a proofreader).
The sixth step could be finalizing your blog post for publication (include tags, optimize for SEO, add appealing visuals).
We are halfway in creating your content marketing system, but still, need three additional key elements to complete the system.
So far, you have a client with a problem, relevant content to solve the problem and a plan on how to deliver this content to your client. But there are still some crucial elements missing: your client’s permission to send them material, a follow-up sequence to nurture the relationship and the rule of three.
Let’s continue first with the fourth element: asking for permission to send potential clients your content.
4. Opt-in model (permission based marketing)
To opt-in means to choose to participate in something. Focus your content marketing efforts on getting your clients to opt into whatever information product you offer them in return for their e-mail address, phone number or other desired contact information.
When they opt in, they choose to participate in receiving more of your valuable advice presented in a series of information products.
The opt-in model is the best way to build a healthy relationship with your potential clients. The focus of this relationship is to gain trust and reduce the fear they might have of deciding to do business with you.
The opt-in model also helps you to build your audience. You can do this by adding them to your e-mail list, but you could also invite them to join your Facebook Group, subscribe to your YouTube channel or Podcast.
The idea here, in essence, is the agreement that your audience wants to receive your information products in return for joining your community. If you move the relationship beyond giving you an e-mail address, you have arrived at the fifth element: nurturing the relationship.
5. Sequence of messages
Before you can nurture that relationship, you need to invite your potential client with what Donald Miller calls a transitional call to action. As Donald explains in One Overlooked Strategy That Will Dramatically Improve Your Marketing: “a transitional call to action offers people a less “risky” path to doing business with you. It gives you the opportunity to deepen the relationship first.”
Offering a freebie in return for an e-mail address, inviting someone via Messenger to connect with your Chatbot, or sending them a text message with a freebie, are all transitional calls to action.
That’s all good but leads to nothing if you do not follow-up with more content. That’s where the fifth element, the sequence of messages comes in!
As soon as your client has opted in for whatever information product you offer, you should send them messages with a specific sequence. Here’s a sequence that was suggested by Copyblogger.
You start with a welcome message and follow up with the first message that immediately delivers value. Give them some tip they can implement right away. You could even include a subtle offer by offering them a discount coupon to your new training. Continue with sending them message two and three. The third message could also include a subtle offer. Give them practical advice on a specific topic and include a link to a landing page where they can get more advanced solutions.
Then, continue nurturing that relationship with a fourth and fifth message. Use the sixth message to include a direct call to action. Tell them you have a sale going on and would not want them to miss the opportunity. Use a compelling call to action, something like: “Hey John, today is your last chance to save $500 when you sign up for …”. Write a persuasive invitation to sign up for your training or buy a ticket to your event or buy one of the products you offer. Then continue again with five more messages to help your client and send the tenth one with another call to action to claim your offer. I think you’ll get the idea by now.
If you build this sequence of events well, it will dramatically increase your sales. But there’s still one final element missing: the rule of three!
#6 The Rule of Three
The first time I heard about the rule of three was during Joe Pulizzi’s keynote at the CMI event. As Joe explained in 6 Steps to Content Marketing Success: “The best customers become sticky when they subscribe to around three pieces of your content. It can be print, event, any content. The key is to build a loyal audience first and then diversify.”
This means your content marketing system should include creating at least three information products. This could be a weekly newsletter, e-mails with tips, a free online video series, a webinar or a podcast. And ideally, you need a system to track how many information products your potential client is consuming.
Content marketing does work, but only with a systematic approach and a long-term focus.
It starts with a client who has a problem, information products to solve that problem, a content marketing plan to produce and promote those products, permission to deliver clients those information products, a series of information products to build a relationship and the rule of three.
Use these six vital elements to create your successful content marketing system. The system will help you to focus (save time and money), position yourself as the expert in your industry, attract more clients, increase your revenue, and service more happy clients who will feel inclined to refer others to do business with you. And last, but not least, dramatically increase your sales.
Juan is a B2B Content Specialist & Copywriter at Felix Relationship Marketing in the Netherlands and was the number one blogger at Marketingfacts in 2017.