There was a time (not too long ago), when monthly marketing budgets were spent exclusively on interruption advertising. Big box stores and independent retailers alike believed that the best (and in some cases, the only) way to reach potential customers was by throwing information in their faces. From television and radio spots to newspaper and magazine ads, the primary goal was to cut through the clutter and just get noticed.
Thanks in large part to the emergence of social media and mobile marketing, interruption advertising is dead. In a society with unlimited access and countless options, quality content has never been more important. Unless it is entertaining, informative, engaging, or all three, it will surely be ignored.
But simply creating – or curating – quality content is not enough. Much like advertising and other forms of marketing, timing, tone and understanding your audience are key. If you truly want to reach customers in today’s world of digital overdose, here are five content ideas to not only grab their attention – but to hold it.
Blogs. Whether you write weekly, monthly or whenever you can, there are countless ways for independent retailers to engage customers with a blog. From product reviews to employee profiles to industry news to how-to tutorials, the options are endless. And although blogging takes more time and creativity than a simple social media post, the work will undoubtedly pay off. And if you just can’t find the time (or don’t have a writing bone in your body), you could always pass it off to an employee or a freelancer. According to ThinkCreative, small businesses that write blog posts get 126% more lead growth than small businesses that don’t. Convinced yet?
Videos. Since the emergence of Youtube, video marketing has come a long way. Whether they’re long and informative or short and to the point, videos are a great way to inform, engage and entertain a generation who grew up glued to screens. As stated in this article, 64% of marketers anticipate video content to be a main category in their strategies as time goes on. But if you’re not a videographer, don’t worry – even simple, unpolished videos will help satisfy your consumer’s thirst for fast information.
Photos. From new products to store renovations to behind-the-scenes shots of you and your team, visual imagery is a great way to catch the collective eye of your online audience. Whether you post the photos on Facebook, Instagram or even your blog posts, photos help create a connection with your audience and reinforce their decision to shop at your store. Photos are also easily shared and compatible with countless apps and social media channels. Just keep in mind that while it’s great to share this type of media, it’s best to keep the photos professional and noteworthy.
Contests. Contests and giveaways do an excellent job of answering a customer’s most basic question and concern: What’s in it for me? Whether you offer up a new product, a service or a gift card, online contests are a great way to get people excited and spread the word about your brand. Perhaps the best thing about contests is that they not only reward your existing customers, but can help attract new ones; according to this article by HubSpot, contest campaigns acquire an average of a 34% audience increase!
Conversation. The best way to engage with consumers is to simply generate some conversation. Given the open platforms provided by social media, one of the best ways to do that is by asking questions (and answering them). People are full of opinions, and some will jump at any opportunity to make their voice heard. Not only will reaching out to your audience make them feel connected to your business, but it has the hidden benefit of serving as research; if you treat your audience like a focus group and ask specific questions about products or services, you can tap in to the desires of your customer base – any marketer’s dream!