As you already know by now, the consumers of your products or services don’t really want to hear more about your business, your products or your services, unless there is some kind of gain for them too.
Tired of pushy and salesy messages following them around wherever they go, they have their own set of rules for choosing the content they will spend their time on, consume and share.
If you want to engage them, you’ll have to adhere to those rules and find ways to implement them in your strategies. This is how you begin.
Know your customers
Any marketing strategy which yearns to have good results should be based on carefully researched buyer personas and content marketing is no exception. If you want to catch the attention of your customers, you have to know them well and be able to offer content which is relevant and useful enough to make them want to post comments on it or share it with their own private circles.
To be able to successfully develop your buyer persona, or even better – several of them, you need to dig into some of their important characteristics, such as:
- Demographics, like their age, gender or location.
- Education level, income, job position.
- Interests and habits.
- Relationship status.
- Buying motivations.
With such data on your prospective customers, you will be able to define your audience and find more about their needs and wants, as well as about the kind of content they are most likely to consume. By identifying their position in the sales funnel, you can access their content needs even better, and you will have a clear notion of what kind of content will turn your suspects (those who are yet to become aware of your brand) into prospects (those who are evaluating whether your service or products are the right fit), and then convert them into loyal buying customers.
Solve your customers’ problems
Once you’ve become familiar with your buyer personas, you’ll also have a deeper understanding of their pain points, and all the challenges they face. This kind of understanding is crucial for creating engaging content, which is, above all, customer-centric. This means your content needs to be of some importance to your prospective clients, or that they can use it in their own lives.
So when considering your next content piece, make sure it falls somewhere along these lines:
- Your content piece can successfully solve your customers’ problems.
- It adds some kind of value to their lives.
- It is interesting enough to grab their attention.
- It encourages your customers or inspires them.
So, whatever you choose to do, start with your customers and their needs on your mind, and think about how to best make your content worth their time. One of the great examples is the New York Times, which added a simple to use tax bill calculator to all the articles related to this topic, helping their readers understand how the latest changes will affect them. Not only did they add extra value to their readers on a personal level, showing them that they actually care about their needs, but they’ve also succeeded once more in confirming their trustworthiness and relevance on the market.
If you want to engage your customers with your content, try to connect with their emotions. A study dug deeper into emotions caused by content, claiming that content going viral has one thing in common – it evokes feelings of both high-arousal and high-dominance.
Arousal ranges from excitement to relaxation, with sadness being a perfect example of low-arousal, and joy or fear of high-arousal emotions. Emotions we find hard to control, such as fear or anger, are considered low-dominance, while the ones we have more choice over, such as admiration or inspiration, are on the opposite side of the scale.
According to research by Buzzsumo and OkDork, the most engaging content is charged with positive emotions and invokes awe, amusement, and laughter, as consumers are most likely to share their upbeat and positive emotional experiences with others.
A step further than tailoring your content to the needs of your target audiences is its personalization. This strategy is widely recognized in email marketing campaigns, which now usually rely on automation tools to segment and personalize content. According to studies, personalized emails give six times higher transaction rates, while 74% of marketers report that targeted personalization is boosting engagement rates.
Personalization goes beyond digital marketing and can be successfully combined with some traditional marketing activities to increase engagement. A well-designed postcard for direct mailing campaigns, with a clearly defined, personalized offer, will not only give your customers a physical connection with your business but will also engage them with taking the desired action.
Personalization is the reason behind the success and popularity of many great campaigns – just take Share a Coke as a perfect example of real-life combined with social media craze, and how we love to be in the center of narratives and spread happiness around us.
Another great way for boosting the engagement of your audience is by adding visuals to your content and evolving your usual text-image piece to visually richer forms of expression, such as infographics, illustrations, and videos. We value visuals as our brains process visual information 60,000 times faster than text, making it easier for us to grasp the message, and remember it longer.
It is no surprise that a short video is the most engaging content format across all industries. Adding video to your emails can boost their click rates 300 times, while a simple switch from a text post to a 2-minute video can get you three times as many inbound links than a standard text-image piece.
Try some of these strategies when planning your next content marketing campaign, and be ready for some great results.