Although those who work in the marketing industry may find their job role hard to define as it encompasses so many subsections, at its most basic level, marketing refers to the activity individual companies take in order to promote their services of buying or selling. Marketing consists of a set of institutions, and is the process for communicating, creating, delivering and transferring ideas that will add value to the customers, clients, partners and business itself. It offers companies the chance to demonstrate a service or product through high-quality messages- which can demonstrate value in their product and strength in the brand community, ultimately leading to an increase in sales. As the approach to marketing has various avenues for companies to take, each business can find something that works for them in terms of enhancing their performance. Continuous research creates a space for functional marketing to be achieved, and in addition to planned long-term strategies, there can be growth in the company and room for expansion and success.
Since the introduction of the internet and consistent developments in technology, the world has become accustomed to immersive experiences that we are constantly engaging with. More often than not, everything we are exposed to has some relation to technology and the internet; whether that’s reading a review online, connecting through social media or even booking a dentist appointment via an app. Before the introduction of the internet and online services, industries had to find a way to market their services. This is where traditional marketing comes into the equation. As marketing (and most industries) are fields that rely heavily on being online, it can sometimes be hard to envision how companies grew and strengthened their brand without. Traditional marketing paved the way for the types of marketing we know and use today, using magazines, spoken engagement, print and phone calls to engage with consumers and achieve the same goals as marketing roles do nowadays. However, since the introduction of digital marketing in 1990, a different medium became available for companies to use, that combined the traditions that they were used to, in addition to the futuristic elements of technology and the internet. In a nutshell, digital marketing surrounds online and internet-based technologies (such as smartphones and computers) alongside forms of digital media as a platform to promote their services and products. Digital marketing has changed the face of business and is becoming increasingly incorporated into everyday life. Digital channels and platforms are prevalent, and as devices give society the option to do everything from a smartphone, tablet or computer, digital marketing has somewhat replaced the notion of going into a shop and speaking to an individual face to face and engaging with the product or service. Within the realm of digital marketing includes seven main categories which all fall into organic marketing, paid marketing and social media advertising. These include search engine optimisation (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC), social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing, mobile marketing and marketing analytics.
As mentioned previously, content marketing is a category that is part of digital marketing. It focuses on the creation and sharing of online material, and it is typically used to stimulate interest and engagement for the company. By creating and sharing various articles, videos, social media stories, podcasts etc., it allows brands to entice, engage and keep hold of an audience. Content is important in all areas of a company, including their website. The content you create and publish is important as it’s the consumers’ way of understanding you as a brand. By developing and distributing content in these areas, you can help your business perform successfully and present your services or product. It’s important to deliver consistency and consideration at each stage of the business process. Here, we have broken down how content marketing is used in each stage of the business process.
The awareness stage is the first part of the process and is where you as a company want to become aware of your audience. Discussing and targeting their challenges, pain points and questions, you can use this opportunity to begin your engagement with them. The content you produce at this stage should be educational. For example, using the form of ‘how to’ guides in your blogs, solutions to problems, tips and alternative ways to accomplish tasks.
Throughout the consideration stage you should ensure that your content is a hybrid of useful information and implementing marketing strategies. It should not only remain educational, but also discuss what your business can offer them as a solution to their problem, including how specific parts of your service cater to their specific needs. The type of content you may want to think about producing at this stage includes case studies, how-to articles and videos, worksheets and checklists.
The closing stage of the process is vital as it’s the area where you will want to consolidate the firm research you have created by placing it into strategic planning that will help your company experience higher growth. It will be a way in which you can send across a message that contains your knowledge, areas of expertise and subtly name the benefits your company has that make you different from competitors. For this area, you may want to use content that consists of a buyer’s guide, research report or product video.
Alongside the content side of digital marketing, we also have the paid side of digital marketing, which is when a brand uses payments to advertise across digital marketing platforms. These are mainly Google, Bing and social media platforms such as Facebook. When you type into a search engine, the paid marketing should be indicated by the bold ‘Ad’ at the beginning of the result. Paid marketing is an important aspect of digital marketing, as you can dictate the keywords used in your searches, the type of audience you would like to target and the overall budget you want to set.
There are many benefits to content marketing and it is one of the most critical aspects in terms of keeping the brand of your business alive. The use of content marketing doesn’t just allow you to converse with your audience, it enables you to keep the conversation fresh and current at all times- in addition to maintaining a healthy relationship with your consumers. Furthermore, investing in full-funnel content marketing is a great way to ensure you are dominating searches, as well as reducing the amount of money your business spends on marketing. However, on the flip side, content marketing can have its disadvantages. All your strategies will more than likely be long term, which can implement delays in your results. Due to this, the results can be hard to measure, and you will need to invest in quality people to ensure you are producing the best type of content. In terms of digital marketing, the benefits are apparent a lot more quickly. With instant and measurable results, you are able to review your strategies faster and observe what is and isn’t working- before making adjustments that are more targeted. Using the right platforms, you can create stronger relationships with your consumers, who will actively see your marketing over and over due to the targeting functions. This will help you build stronger relationships and can be beneficial in quickly establishing your reputability within your industry.
Digital and content marketing have their individual strengths and weaknesses, and although content marketing is considered a subset of digital marketing (the broader umbrella term), their main difference is the specific technique and approach they use. Content marketing is the longer of the two strategies and has more of a nurturing approach. It uses the form of literature and art in order to establish a rapport with consumers, and although it isn’t always direct, after time the customer will be led to your product or service. Digital marketing focuses heavily on a direct approach, and how this can drive a specific and predicted action from the very first interaction with consumers. Digital marketing is an invaluable tactic that has a shorter strategy, and emphasises the present when it comes to consumers- offering an immediate solution for them.
In the beginning, marketing is a lot of trial and error for a lot of companies. It’s about understanding what your customers need and want, listening to them and finding a way to cater to those issues. Both digital and content marketing are worthwhile investments, as they provide strategies to please all types of customers. They can work collaboratively to ensure you have results that cover all areas of the business, and ultimately help your business grow and be nurtured into something successful.
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