Coming from a direct response print advertising background taught me a lot about the frustrations of small business and marketing. My print company would mail about 30,000 glossy coupon magazines every three months for about sixty different small business clients. I like to refer to this experience as “the trenches of marketing.”
The Trenches Of Marketing
I was right in the trenches with my clients, trying to build my own small company. The experience forced me to understand how to communicate with my client’s target market in a way that made them want to respond to a message. The message (not the print medium) would either bring failure or success for my clients. When I decided to turn my marketing efforts digital almost four years ago, I translated those lessons into my business, namely, how I approached content development, through a seattle web design firms.
I’ll be the first to admit, my content development strategies were not that pretty four years ago. However, the lessons I’ve learned from constantly tweaking my approach to content has produced some impressive results.
Learning From The Past
One of the biggest mistakes I made in the beginning years of online marketing was allowing content to be developed for search engines instead of humans. While this worked to a degree, it ignored the biggest lesson I learned in print marketing – namely this, while it is possible to “hack the system” with low quality content for a short period of time, there is no development of an actual “brand” occurring.
Let me define what I mean by “low quality content.”
“Low quality does not only refer to content that is spun, keyword stuffed, or does not tell a story. Low quality content could be written incredibly well, yet totally miss one’s demographic by ignoring the central question, “What does my customer want, and how do I get them to see this content?’”
Getting Real With the Value of My Content Marketing
See, I had to get real with myself. Am I truly marketing if my content is not really targeted at a specific client persona, or merely placed on my website and not promoted correctly? Great content begins with a consuming desire to present a matter in such a way that people will be moved to change. Content not written after this manner is dead to people. Great content that meets this criteria, but is poorly promoted, is also dead.
Imagine that a great speaker carefully plots out his or her message, and then speaks their heart out in a vast auditorium with the most engaging illustrations and perfect execution. Once finished, they leave the stage with a great sense of accomplishment, but the message had zero impact because the auditorium was empty the whole time!
Remember how marketing was before search engines? You had to build your own audience through rigorous efforts of third party validation and creative advertising. When search engines started showcasing websites just because they bought a domain and said “hello,” a lot of people decided to start “hacking the system” and threw out baseline principles of marketing.
Panda and Penguin are just a wake-up call to internet marketers that baseline principles of developing third party validations and creative content are the only future of internet marketing.
Defining Target Market Contentment
“Target market contentment is the idea of developing a message to a specific persona which causes them to take action by giving them a solution to their problem.”
Let’s get real. What is more powerful to your bottom line? A happy search engine? Or a happy customer? Sounds kind of ridiculous when you see it written out. But, how often do our online marketing practices relate more with actions that please a search engine instead of a human? Humans cause virality, not search engines.
Here is a basic illustration of my point. Recently, our office was introduced to some great new content by online marketing genius, Neil Patel. Our sales head was immediately sold on a new concept that he discovered in the article and shared it with the rest of our marketing team.
The result was that our entire office’s view of Neil Patel changed from, “I’ve heard of that guy” to a strong respect for his marketing concepts. While the content was important, the messenger was the third party validation that our marketing team needed to take a deeper look.
So, translate that into 9 people being affected by 1 member of our team… you can’t measure that in Google Analytics!
How Taking a More Serious Approach to Content Looks On a Graph for One of Our Clients
Results: Our home security client received an increase in traffic of over 492% in one month. Their bottom line conversions went up by over 1000%.
How Taking a More Serious Approach to Content Looks On a Graph for Our Company
Here are a couple of graphs that show how our new method of content marketing has affected our company over a two month period. As you can see from the impression share graph, we started with 1 post per week and are now doing 1 post per day. The effects have been astounding. We have increased our overall traffic by 708% with an overall conversion increase of 450%.