From educating to storytelling, today’s successful creative marketing strategies are all about winning the hearts of consumers
BY CARLOS ARNAVAT 4
The days of advertising exclusively on billboards and in newspapers are coming to an end. While it was commonplace back in the 1970s for consumers to be exposed to 500 ads a day, today a whopping 5,000-plus ads flash by them daily—thanks to the digital revolution. And that’s why creative marketing strategies have become more and more critical in today’s online world.
Google, often called “the new Yellow Pages,” is demanding more from marketers. And since its bread-and-butter client is the consumer—who is always hunting for answers—retailers should focus on how to get their brand to the top of search engines.
Did you know? According to the
website Business 2 Community,
60% of all organic clicks point
to the top three search results.
So how do you achieve top organic search rankings? In 2015, the name of the game is content marketing. Content is king, and it’s done through education and good old-fashioned storytelling.
‘People don’t care how much
you know until they know how much you care.’—Zig Ziglar
Zig Ziglar’s observation is the new medium in today’s marketplace. Consumers are shying away from excessive sales ads. Consequently, the demand for problem-solving channels is on the rise.
When consumers realize they need a new mattress—either because of poor sleep, a snoring spouse or back pain in the morning—they turn to the Internet for solutions.
According to ‘Interconnected
World: Shopping and
Personal Finance, 2012,’
61% of global Internet users research products online.
Gaining a competitive edge
Content marketing—while becoming the latest buzzword in the digital marketing world—has yet to standardize throughout the mattress community. Therefore, companies that implement a powerful content-marketing strategy achieve a distinct competitive advantage.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, this emerging philosophy “is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience—with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
Content marketing is a direct way to tell a story, showcase expertise and solve problems while building trust and relationships. It’s an authentic approach to getting brand recognition in the modern world of technology.
Further, content marketing is just one of the key components to a broader marketing methodology—inbound marketing. As the term indicates, inbound marketing brings visitors in rather than marketers going out to get prospects’ attention.
Achieving online success today is about having a blended content-marketing strategy that includes content across email, search and social—all to boost brand awareness, increase search rankings and of course drive up revenue.
Establishing yourself as an expert
How can content marketing help your store? First, showing your customers that you’re an expert in every aspect of mattresses and sleep increases credibility—while establishing trust.
There are a number of staggering facts to consider when developing an effective marketing strategy, particularly in relation to building a robust sales funnel. Consider the following sections:
Top of the funnel
At the top of the funnel, which includes 75% of visitors, the consumer is problem solving, so we equip them with blog articles, ebooks and other educational content that will help address their concerns and questions.
Middle of the funnel
In the middle of the funnel are 23% of visitors. They’ve already identified their problem and now are ready to be educated to gain a level of confidence that the products they seek are the best option. Here, we supply them with product comparisons and testimonials.
Bottom of the funnel
Finally, at the bottom of the funnel are 2% of visitors who have been educated, have been provided the right product information and are certain they are making the best purchasing decision. Here, we provide them with an offer they can’t refuse through coupons or specials.
If you don’t pay close attention to this funnel on your website or in your marketing strategy, you may need to look into whether you are maximizing your return on investment.
To increase that return in today’s consumer-driven marketplace, your focus should be on the 98% of consumers in the top and middle, not the bottom 2% that most websites are set up to support.
Not only will this net a larger number of leads, it will improve their quality. In short, more educated consumers lead to higher ticket averages. They leave the store with the accessories and quality bedding they need to create a complete sleep system.
Writing with meaning
Everything you write should have a purpose. Difficulty coming up with topics to write about is one of the main reasons people shy away from writing blogs to begin with. But most business owners already are experts in their craft.
When taking the time to design content ideas for an effective content strategy, consider all three phases of the sales funnel:
Top of funnel
O Always focus on topics that help improve your customers’ quality of sleep rather than mattress sales.
O Think about sleep disorders and help people find the answers to sleep issues.
O Have a lunch meeting with your retail sales associates andbrainstorm topics from in-store experiences.
Middle of funnel
O Think of ways to educate customers on which mattress type best meets their needs.
O Consider which brands are best to compare side by side.
O Outline the pros and cons of various mattress constructions.
O Analyze how your brand matches up to your competitors.
Bottom of funnel
O Offer testimonials and reviews that increase consumer confidence.
O Describe the buying experiences consumers will have in your store.
O Provide attractive offers and warranties.
After sorting your topics based on the sales funnel, the next step is creating an editorial calendar. Content should be well organized, keywords identified, calls to action outlined and key performance indicators assigned so the overall strategy of each article is clear.
Becoming a storyteller
The most important aspect of content marketing is to create authentic and original articles that educate consumers. Quality is key, as content should deliver value to the user. Becoming a storyteller helps build authenticity, develops relationships and creates advocates who will help spread awareness for your brand.
Lastly, consider this eye-opening, budget-minded statistic for implementing this content-marketing, digital philosophy from the “Hubspot State of Inbound Report:”
‘$20K is the average companies
save per year by investing
more in inbound marketing
Carlos Arnavat 4 is chief servant of Studio C5, a St. Louis-based inbound marketing agency that specializes in helping mattress retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers succeed online through a combination of storytelling, strategic educational content and 360-marketing automation. Arnavat also is an advocate and contributor to Sleep-Geek.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 314-549-5053.