What Type of Content My Target Audience Will Find Engaging?

Content is King; a statement that has held true since the age of advertising. Like all great things, content marketing has evolved and improved over time. Gone are the days when brands would simply pin-up posters of their products in any given location to try and entice consumers.

Ogilvy Rolls Royce Ad

Take the above ad for example; published in 1958 by David Ogilvy’s company, the ad created a sensation among Americans of that era, and greatly pushed the sales of Rolls-Royce. Reading it today, you may find it hard to skim past the long content, but Ogilvy utilised one of the most powerful elements in advertising that still holds high regard today: Audience Engagement.

He did so by using a powerful Headline that was able to connect well with the emotions that the Target Audience felt at that time (the posh society of post-war America). Flash forward 6 ½ decades, Ogilvy’s methods of engagement are still applicable but have been morphed to fit into the current scenario of an internet and technology savvy world.

Content marketing is an advertiser’s new best friend; 71 percent of consumers today feel bombarded with ads on social media. Instead, they want more than just a flashy product commercial; they want an experience, a little taste of what to expect. Content Marketing can achieve that by creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content. The method also adds a layer of trust in Target Audience, Creating what brands crave the most: Loyalty towards their products. Since this is an extensive article we’ve we’ve split it into sections to make it easier for you to navigate and read through.

  1. Why must you implement a content marketing strategy
  2. Popular content forms in use today
  3. Platforms on which content marketing thrives
  4. The content marketing formula
  5. Brand/Product/Service specific content marketing

Why must you implement a content marketing strategy?

Leads/Sales for a long period over new channels:

The fact that content marketing gives you an open playing field to mix and match with various content forms over a multitude of platforms, there is a big chance for your brand to generate leads, improve sales conversion and ultimately get closer to your Target Audience on a more personal level.

Reach consumers who use ad blockers:

Everyone hates a pop-up ad; they’re annoying, disorient you from an online experience and are generally considered as spam. Content marketing provides a more genuine, trustworthy advertising approach, one that actively induces consumer interaction.

Get Organic traffic/SEO:

Without SEO, anything you publish online will be lost forever in the massive sea of stars that is the World Wide Web. Content marketing has proven to be an SEO friendly marketing method, and provides credibility with boosting organic traffic.

Ad Fatigue:

Imagine seeing the same ad over and over again as you scroll through your Facebook feed. It can get annoying to the point where consumers lose interest in what the ad is trying to communicate. With content marketing, marketers can keep the essence of the ad fresh while varying the way the ad is presented.

Popular content forms in use today

Infographics:

Pretty much self-explanatory in its naming, Infographics is a presentation of data in a visual way. The concept is widely popular among readers, and gives license to creative freedom in graphical presentation, adding loads of value to the written content. Being a more comfortable way to consume information from, Infographics are likely to be shared three times more on Social Media than general content posts.

inphographic

Memes:

Short and sweet, Memes are one of the easiest content forms you can make. But bear in mind that they are not used for information, rather for entertainment. If done right, memes have a high chance of going viral, as consumers love nothing more than to share something outright hilarious.

Meme

Videos:

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then videos are worth a million. No matter what you are promoting, there are always ways to present in on the screen. Videos have proven to be one of the most searched forms of information or entertainment, so to give your SEO a big boost, consider making one that is relevant to your brand, product or service.

Guides and E-Books:

Guides are a detailed form of content and specifically meant for sharing information. Guides work well for SEO purpose as Google’s crawlers are now paying more attention to long-form content that mixes and matches other content forms.

Guides & Ebooks

Book reviews:

There is a book for everything today, and your target audience is bound to pick up one. Avid readers will love to know how good a book is before they have a read, plus it gives off the impression that you are well versed in your subject matter, adding a layer of credibility to your brand. You can induce some consumer reaction by asking personal reviews.

Book Review

Product Reviews:

Like books, product reviews will boost your brand’s credibility, and if you engage professionally with services providers and manufacturers that are relevant to your industry, that credibility increases tenfold. Collaborate with influencers who can review your product and add a trust factor among consumers.

Product Reviews

“How-to” posts:

The age old 5Ws & 1H concept is still effective to date, and a “How to” post is something that is frequently searched. If you are SEO hungry, “How to” posts will help generate the same, as the format takes advantage long tail keyword searches, ultimately bumping up your site ranking.

How To Post

List:

Humans are hardwired to be obsessed with lists. If you make one relevant to your product or service, chances of it being read are very high. Lists are everywhere and can comprise of anything, and Google analytics have revealed that a numbered list (odd numbers count) are the most popular.

Lists

Case Studies:

Nothing spells professionalism better than a good old case study. Need to explain what your product or service is and its impact on consumers? Perform a case study with all those intricate details. Ultimately, you’ll get a healthy dose of credibility and if promoted well, a strong consumer following.

Case Study

Podcasts:

The radio may have lost its charm among general audience today, but audio files still hold high regard among commuters who like a good plug and play of useful information. If your Target Audience falls under such a category, podcasts could be a useful medium for some knowledge sharing.

Podcast

Remember, there is no hard and fast rule that you must try every form of content marketing. Instead, focus on adapting and implementing an idea into a select content type. When that idea morphs into a quality piece of content, your Target Audience will evolve from one-time consumers to a dedicated and loyal fan following.

Platforms on which content marketing thrives

No matter what type of content you choose to work with, you’ll need a base, a platform on which you’re content becomes viewable. In the online world, content representation into three types.

Platforms on which Social Media thrives

Paid Media:

Media that is bought and sold for; online advertisements like Google AdWords, Facebook ads, YouTube ads and sponsored content, have shown a very high percentage regarding reach towards the Target Audience, and is also reliant on ROI. Strong reach may increase the chance of a targeted user getting convinced to purchase, yet may not provide a longer, more sustainable impact that permanently etches your brand into the consumer’s memory.

Owned Media:

Owned media refers to platforms through which your content is promoted. Your Website, Facebook Page, YouTube profile, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram accounts are types of owned media. Think of owned media as your virtual office, space for you to actively promote everything your brand represents and connect to your Target Audience in the online world. Since owned media is just a platform, you are free to use it in any way you like for your content marketing needs. How effectively you use it, with your chosen content strategy, will determine the overall reach and interaction with potential consumers.

Earned Media:

Even if your brand is marketed well online, consumers need to be certain and feel a sense of trust with your product. You can achieve that trust factor through earned media; sharing of social media content, Twitter mentions, blog mentions, product reviews and influencer marketing. Of course, to gain such high level of trust among consumers, it takes time, but also pays off handsomely, in the long run, immensely boosting your brand loyalty.

The content marketing formula

Content marketing isn’t something you could just cook up out of an empty pot. The process requires careful planning and meticulous detailing with a whole host of ingredients blending to make fantastic pieces of share-worthy content on various platforms.

The Basic Formula:

Content Marketing = Ideation + Creation + Publishing + Promotion

Content Marketing Formula

Ideation:

Everything begins with an idea. It is from this seed that your entire content marketing plan branches out. To come up with a path-breaking idea you need to do research and lots of it. You achieve great content marketing when you bridge the gap.

“What they’re looking for”- Analyse your Target Audience:

This is the first and most critical step towards creating your content plan. When you can understand who our audience is and what their expectations are, you will be able to create more relevant content. Analyse these aspects:

  • Audience demographic (age, sex)
  • Audience geographic (location)
  • Audience behaviour (reactions towards competition brand’s content)

When you narrow down the points mentioned above, your next step is to hunt for relevant topics that are trending, valuable and share worthy and in some way link to your brand, product or service.

Analyse the Target Audience

“What we want to say”- Create a content strategy:

Question yourself as to why you are about to create a piece of content. What is your end goal with the content you are about to create? To make this easier and more understandable, create a content strategy. Your strategy must be able to answer one or all of these goals:

  • Boost brand awareness
  • Increase brand reach
  • Page promotions
  • Boost website visits
  • Focus on consumer interaction

Remember, strategies could change even after your content is created and published. Be open to a trial and error method before you push for massive promotions.

Creation:

With your strategy set and your ideas in full flow. It’s time for the actual creation of your content. Again, depending on your Target Audience, your type of content will have to vary in, but make sure you stick to a content formula that is valuable, relevant and has great visual appeal. Based on current market trends and audience expectation, keep your content fresh by mixing and matching its various forms like GIFs, Blog posts, Infographics, Videos, etc.  Ultimately, your content creation must sync well with your strategy and be able to:

  • Solve a problem
  • Trigger a purchase decision
  • Add value to SEO
  • Entertain

Creative Social Media post

Publishing:

Much like creating content for that relates to your Target Audience, publishing your content must also have a timed approach. Google Search algorithms and Facebook’s targeted post boosting have made it easier for marketers to preselect a publishing time and date, resulting in better and more accurate reach to the consumers. It is important to optimise content that is share-worthy on mobile devices as well, with a majority of consumers now spending more time on smartphones.

Publishing funnel

Promotion:

With over 27 million pieces of content being shared every day, your content is just a small grain of sand in a huge desert. To make that little grain noticeable among the rest, you need to make the most out of the promotional options available. So how do you amplify your content?

promotion strategy

Remember, none of these techniques will work wonders unless you connect them with the golden catalyst of content marketing- Search Engine Optimisation. SEO is a broad topic, so we’ve saved it for another detailed post.

Brand/Product/Service specific content marketing

Since content marketing is an ever-evolving subject matter based on shifting trends and change in consumer behaviour, there is no surefire successful approach to choosing an approach to your strategy. But, some content strategies work well over others depending on your brand, product or service. Let’s look at a few successful strategies.

Content Marketing for B2B:

When it comes to B2B content marketing, ultra-professionalism is important. Your task as a marketer will be to convince other business of working with you or using your services. Make sure your content is concise, to-the-point and expresses heavily on your services and the benefits it could offer to another business.

Best Platforms:

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress Blog/Website, YouTube, Google AdWords

Content Type:

Emailers, Helpful blog posts (Tips/How-to), Product Reviews, Product/Service specific social media posts

Content type for B2B

Content marketing for FMCG:

For FMCG brands, the content strategy must heavily revolve around consumer interaction. This means marketers are free to explore all sorts of content and modify them in a way that involves consumers intrigued and curious to know more about the brand’s products.

Best Platforms:

Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Guest blogging

Content Type:

GIFs, Memes, Influencer promotions, Product specific social media posts, Guide based blog posts

content type for FMCG

Content marketing for real estate:

With a recent influx of the real estate market in India, developers are making a move into the online space to boost their project promotions further. As always, the competition is fierce, so the best reach towards consumers decides the big winner. Considering how huge the real estate industry is, having an online presence for developer and broker, while also complementing each other’s presence, is vital for the success of a real estate brand in the online space.

Best Platforms:

Facebook, Google AdWords, WordPress Blog, Twitter

Content Type:

Emailers, Helpful blog posts (Tips/How-to), Influencer promotions, Product specific social media posts, Landing pages

content type for Real Estate

Content marketing for lifestyle brands:

Lifestyle brands, especially those in the fashion industry, have a mainstay in the digital marketing space. To get better online presence, lifestyle brands must be appealing both to targeted consumers and businesses.

Best Platforms:

Facebook, Instagram, Google AdWords, WordPress Blog/Landing Page, Twitter, YouTube

Content Type:

Emailers, Helpful blog posts (Tips/How-to/Lists/Guides), Influencer promotions, Product specific social media posts, Video Promotions

content type for lifestyle brands

We end by quoting a famous line by David Ogilvy, “Never write an advertisement which you wouldn’t want your family to read. You wouldn’t tell lies to your own wife. Don’t tell them to mine”. Content marketing is the most trusted and honest form of marketing and one that is sure to go a long way in establishing a healthy relationship with your Target Audience.

Are there any innovative content strategies you’ve cooked up? Feel free to share the in the comments below.

9 Ways to leverage Local SEO and Google Maps for your Business

When it comes to search engine optimisation (SEO) and digital marketing for your business, one must pay attention to things beyond just their own website, especially if you own a local business. In the past couple of years, digital marketers have gradually understood the importance of strong online marketing efforts that include local SEO and Google Maps (or Google My Business) as well. Read our blog on Demystifying the Basics of Search Engine Optimization if you getting started on this for the first time.

If you think it’s enough to just optimise your website to perfection, then you are on the wrong path. Since July 2014, Google uses an algorithm called Pigeon. This is one of the Google’s local search algorithm updates. The aim of this algorithm is to increase the ranking of local listings in a search.

The changes in the ranking made by this algorithm are also shown in the Google Maps’ results. In other terms, when a person searches for a particular kind of business in a locality, the results will be based on user location and the listing available in the local directory.

For example, if you are searching for Spas in Chennai on Google, the search result will be like this:

spas in chennai - 1

Even before the pages are ranked, there will be three map listings. The map listing will also have a toggle button – “More Places” that allows you to check for more map listings. Similarly, another search result for “Bakeries in Egmore” shows this result:

bakeries egmore - 2

When a person searches for “bakeries, Egmore” in the query box, he gets a result where there are three map listings and 5+ organic listings. So, even if you have the best website, it might be there at the 8th or ninth position. How many users would scroll down all the way through 8 or more entries to click on the actual website?

The amount of people who will reach until end of the page will definitely be way lesser than the ones who would click directly on the map listing or any organic listing. Hence, you must constantly watch these listings and optimise your presence in the map and directory sites. The 3-pack map listings by Google can be a marketing game-changer for your business for these have a highly-valuable exposure, thus generating quality traffic and new customers.

Here are some of the best practices that you must follow to implement a successful Google Maps Marketing and Local SEO strategy.

1. It’s is important to maintain a physical address for your business

No matter whether your business is B2B or B2C, it is important to maintain a local address for your company. This is important to rank in the Google local 3-pack map listing. Also, having a local address is an important search engine factor for local SEO. Google has reported that there is an increase in queries containing “near me” – for e.g.  restaurants near me or salons near me. The distance from the location of the user is critical in these searches.

2. Set up and maintain a Google My Business Account

Your Google My Business (GMB) account plays a major role in Google Maps Marketing and local SEO. In fact, your GMB determines and has an effect on your online presence in Google Maps, Search, and G+.

Google My Business offers a simple and easy way for you to create a listing for your business. You can also claim an existing one. You must just make sure that all the information listed in your GMB page is accurate and complete. It also gives you the ability to put up pictures of your business or a 360 degree view of your interiors. It’s also important to choose the most appropriate category to list your business. This can have a direct impact on what kind searches you show up for. What’s more? GMB is free.

3. Concentrate on your business’ NAP

Your business’ NAP – Name, Address, and Phone Number should be consistent in both your GMB page as well as on your website. Also, make sure that your business’ NAP appears exactly the same across the web on third-party websites, directory listings, and social media profiles. These citations, i.e. your company’s NAP in other websites and listings, determine the legitimacy of your business and its beneficial if your NAP is available in various websites.

4. Have a separate web page for each of your product or service

Your business might have multiple products or services. Dedicating a separate web page for each and every type of product and service can help in optimising every page. In other words, instead of over-optimizing a single page with a lot of keywords, you can optimise each page of your website with the relevant set of keywords around a theme. It doesn’t mean you need to have a page for every keyword, but make sure each type of product/service and each service area (i.e. locations) are covered.

5. Create mindful citations

Be it a citation in Zomato for your business or a mention on another website, you must make sure that the mentions are made sensibly. If you can build citations in trustworthy websites and good listing directories, you can increase the value of your local SEO significantly. Do also check out our infographic on 21 SEO Link Building Techniques.

Some of the things that you need to keep in mind while creating or building citations are:

  • Make sure that any citations about your business in 100% accurate, especially the NAP.
  • Remove or place a request to remove any duplicate listings in listing directories.
  • Try to build mentions in websites that are relevant to your industries.

6. Work towards generating Google Reviews (of course, positive ones)

Reviews in Google Places are a crucial ranking factor for the search engine. Having good reviews in Google will definitely assist you in being listed in the Google 3-pack map listings. You can ask your customers to leave a review. Alternatively, you can also offer incentives or discounts on next purchase for customers who review your service or product on Google. Even reviews from social media channels are now displayed on Google. You may also find it interesting to read our blog on Why Social Media Matters for SEO?.

7. Embed Google Maps on your site

Last but not least – embed the Google Map of your business’ location on your website in the “contact us” page. This technique is a proven way to boost the SEO value of your website. This needs to be combined with Local Schema to give Google complete visibility on what kind of business is being run.

Many business owners have found Google Maps and Local SEO marketing to be intensely helpful and beneficial for their businesses. Have you started applying these best practices? Let us know in the comments below.

8. Make sure your website & blog are super fast

In recent times there has been a lot of talk on website speed and implementation of AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) to ensure that experience on mobile and desktop is fantastic. This is critical even for a local business because blog content focussed on your city or location of business can be crucial in attracting the right audience. For example, one of our most popular blogs is on marketing events in Bangalore and we created this to target marketing professionals in the city when we first launched our services there.

marketing events in bangalore -3

9. Build a brand

Google and other search engines are starting to not only reward content that is customised to users (in this case content can be customised to a local audience) and they continue to show preference for sites and brands that users already know of. Hence its critical to keep track of how many users are searching for your brand (Google Analytics and Google Search Console can help with that) and not just for the product & service that you are offering.

Vikas speaks at Retail Summit on Winning the Connected Consumer

Earlier today, I spoke to a packed audience of retailers (omni channel and offline retailers) at the Chennai Retail Summit held by Retail Association of India (RAI) at ITC Grand Chola. I spoke on Winning the Connected Consumer, The Digital Way and you can see my slides below.

Local SEO and digital marketing for retailers is very critical in this connected world. Its very important for them to leverage a mobile first strategy to capitalize on every micro moment.

 

How Omni Channel Retail can use digital to connect to consumers

How mobile search can help offline retailers in India

While some might say that digital has opened the doors to online players and has blurred the existence of local retail stores, new research says that the relationship between digital marketing & in-store shopping is far more interconnected than that. Foot traffic & word-of-mouth which were the assets of offline retailers before digital & mobile entered the lives of people, are not anymore the only assets which can be relied on.

Local retailers, in general, believe that online marketing works only for e-commerce websites. But, digital doesn’t just drive e-commerce, it actually gets consumers into local stores.

Connecting offline retailers to the mobile users

We are living in “always-on search world”, where people are always able to search. When they want to buy things or when they do have a query, they turn to their smartphones. Consumers now spend more than 15 hours per week researching on their smartphones.

Impact of mobile on the store visit

There was a time when people would have to get to their computers. But now, searches on the desktop have dropped as mobile is always in reach. It is found that 21 percent of in-store shopping in urban India is influenced by digital and 18 percent is influenced by mobile. If you have a physical store, then mobile search is the new threshold to your store.

Store visits after online research

Most offline retailers in India are not aware of various mobile marketing techniques which they think are only for e-commerce players. This has led to them not making efficient use of the web to provide necessary information to the customer. Whereas, according to research customers are likely to go to an offline store when they find the store they are looking for listed in search results. It is found that 3 out of 4 shoppers who find local information in search results helpful are more likely to visit stores.

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    Image source- https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/

The retailers need to realize that consumers shop digitally before going into the store and they should make sure they provide all the information that customers are looking for online. Thus, retailers should have the right digital marketers as this will help to drive more customers to visit the stores.

Online Advertising Techniques To Create Online Presence

What most offline retailers lack is the right guidance how digital marketing can be leveraged to bring sales. There are many different ways in which the visits to their local store can be boosted.

  • Search Advertising

This is the most effective method to reach out to as many customers as possible as shown by recent statistics. Many big companies engage in Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. This is because PPC ads work in a way that brings best customer attention with minimal expenditure.

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Brand Search Advertising reinforces the brand name, increases brand value and brings about brand awareness. These ads are so effective because they give the customer all the information he/she needs to know about the brand within a few lines. This way the customer does not spend a lot of time reading the ad, but manages to get the required information.
Picture2

Also, ads can be shown to the people who search for the products using relevant terms. For example, one who is looking for a laptop store close to his location can be targeted using relevant search terms like laptop store near me, laptop stores in Chennai, which people normally use.

Another advantage of the PPC ads is that they can be targeted to the desired audience of a particular location, preferably places around their stores using Radius targeting. This way the ads are shown only to the people who might be interested in the product or service and more likely visit the store.

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Since the retailer is charged each time these ads are clicked, showing these ads to a targeted audience will result in an increased conversion rate which will in turn result in an increased ROI. Where they appear is chosen by the retailer, but its ranking is decided by Google based on a number of factors.

  • Organic Search Listings

This is the most traditional method by which offline retailers can show up on a customer’s search field below top PPC ads without having to pay a penny. A link to the retailer’s website automatically shows on the customer’s screen when he/she searches for something relevant to the products offered by the local store.

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Where the retailer’s website is listed is again decided by Google based on the relevance of content and other factors. What the retailer should ensure is to provide the right and relevant content on the website of the store so that it shows up higher in the  organic search listings. Hence, by this way the store can get a few more customers to visit its website by making sure it has a user -friendly website.

  • Google Business Local Listings

An important feature that drags customers to stores near their current location is the store locator available on Google. Using this feature the customers can know exactly how far the store is located from their present location and they can head straight to the store with the navigation feature of Google maps. Hence it is essential that all stores add their location on Google using Business map locator.

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When a customer searches for something like textile stores, a list of textile stores nearby his/her location shows up with the address information of each store. By clicking on any of these stores in the list the customer can know exactly how far the store is and how long will it take to get there with the help of Google maps. Hence, if a customer knows that a store is close by to his/her location, then it drives the customer to visit the store.

  • Tracking Results

In order to track the source of the leads that we receive through the above advertising methods, it’s recommended to generate unique phone numbers for each advertising channel. This way we can measure the effectiveness of each channel.

Digital bridges the gap between customers and stores

Today the consumer’s path to purchase is becoming increasingly mobile. Retailers that provide relevant, local information online will increase both reach and sales. While helping to drive customer in-store it will also help to enhance the customer’s experience once he/she has entered the store. Mobile has reshaped the way the people shop, that is in a good way and retailers who make use of this in the right way will see themselves moving ahead.