In the B2C world, it can be difficult to grab the attention of your customers and compel them to make a purchase. This is especially true if your product is niche or if you are competing against much more popular brands. And if you are new to the market and need to inspire some initial trust, it’s an even bigger challenge.
That’s where content marketing comes in as a vital strategy. If you go about it the right way, it will help you engage your audiences and convert them into customers.
Let’s face it, publishing blog posts just for the sake of publishing blog posts does no one any good. The web is already full of worthless, repetitive, poorly written content that serves no purpose whatsoever.
Instead of going down that route, you’ll want to turn your blog into a conversion weapon. And you’ll do that by creating content that converts and contributes.
Cover Your Entire Audience Spectrum
The first rule of content marketing is to choose your content to match your target audience’s preferences. Or, at least it should be.
Image source: Ryrob.com
If you don’t cover the topics your customers want to read about, they won’t give you the time of day. Why would they?
Start by defining who your audience actually is and what they are looking for when they land on your website. Don’t settle for one group of people alone, and go as far and wide as possible. For example, if you sell women’s jewelry, don’t forget to target their significant others.
Your content strategy should then match the interests of each individual audience segment. Ideally, you also want to make sure it correlates with different stages of the sales funnel.
Image source: Futuredesigngroup.com
For instance, if you sell nutrition and exercise programs, a top-of-the-funnel post might focus on the perils of being overweight, while a bottom-of-the-funnel post will go into specific detail about a certain macro split, for example.
Here’s a good blog to look at. Bay Alarm Medical sells medical alarms, a product most often associated with seniors. However, their blog posts are certainly not only geared towards this audience segment. They also produce content for caregivers and family members. Their post on taking care of a senior during the pandemic is a great example.
Image source: Bayalarmmedical.com
The wider the net you cast, the higher your chances of converting and capturing leads. The key lies in proper audience segmentation and figuring out the precise pain points of each of them.
Ensure Your Content Is Readable
In order for your blog to be effective, you need to carefully consider what it looks like. True, the value of a post is certainly more than surface deep, but if your posts are just difficult to read, they will get passed over for content that may be weaker but looks better. This is the reality of the online world.
To make your content more readable, consider the following:
- Keep your sentences short and to the point. You’re not trying to awe your old English teacher; you’re trying to convey information.
- Consider the reading level you want to write at. 8th grade is what is usually recommended, but your rule of thumb should be writing at the lowest possible level that won’t insult your audience. There are various online tools, such as Readable, to help you determine how your blog posts fare.
- Try to get decent readability scores for your posts. If you’re using Yoast for SEO, it will also run a readability test for you and highlight what you may want to fix. You can also consider the Hemingway App, and Grammarly can help you out too.
- Make sure to segment your posts into readable chunks. A couple of sentences will be just fine for a paragraph. You’re aiming for skimmability, and you want to help your readers get the information they want as soon as possible.
- Consider the colors you’re using on the blog. They need to be vibrant yet muted enough to draw a reader in, but without distracting from the words themselves. They should also convey an emotion that’s aligned with your brand.
Image source: Crazyegg.com
Let’s take a look at a couple of examples.
Threadless did a good job with this guide on pet parent gifts:
- They’ve broken it up with plenty of images illustrating their recommendations.
- The paragraphs are short enough.
- There is plenty of white space on the page.
- The font is easy to read and quite pleasant.
Or, take a look at our post on B2B vs. B2C marketing:
- The headings break up the text nicely and make it perfectly skimmable.
- There are plenty of bullet points that add to the readability.
- The sentences are short and sweet.
Do Your Research
No matter what you blog about, your readers will want to know they can trust your words. This is especially true if you are writing YMYL content (short for your money or your life) – in other words, advising your customers about their health or finances.
Image source: Lokalyze.com
If you give your audience poor advice on a subject like “how to fix a wobbly chair,” the worst that can happen is not nearly as bad as if you give them poor advice about where to invest their savings or how to lose weight.
If your niche is a YMYL one or your products impact your customers’ lives in any significant way, you need to do some extra research for your blog content. You’ll have to ensure that every single word is true.
You should also try to give as little general advice as possible, or at least make a clear note of the people your advice will be applicable to.
Try to back up all of your claims. You can do that either by linking out to reputable and credible sources or by bringing a subject matter expert on board who will check your data and offer advice. Their credentials will lend your posts that layer of value that can make the difference between an abandoned cart and a conversion.
Future Kind offers a great example with their blog. Take a look at this post on taking vitamin B12. It comes with a bunch of links that back up all of their claims, ensuring their post is the best it can possibly be.
If there is no research you can link to, make sure to list your sources. Whether you have experienced something yourself, tried a specific method, or achieved a certain result, always note where you got your information from, even if it’s just personal experience.
Supplement Your Written Content with Other Formats
Your blog will mostly be home to written content, but you can also consider supplementing it with other content formats to make it more engaging and keep your audience’s attention riveted to the page.
Do note that you most likely won’t be able to do this for every single post – and neither should you. Focus on providing an additional point of interest for your most important posts.
This point of interest can be a video to help you improve both time on page and the value of the post itself. For example, you can feature a video to:
- demonstrate how a certain product is used
- point out some of the benefits of purchasing your product
- provide more detail about one of the points you cover in the text
Ideally, you’ll want to make an original video as a brand. If that’s not really an option, you can feature videos made by others as well, as long as they are not your competitors. YouTubers who aren’t trying to push a certain brand in their content can be a good choice.
Here’s how Solo Stove did it: this post introducing their product, also features a video to showcase its features and benefits and give the customer a look at it in action. Short, but very effective.
Image source: Blog.solostove.com
You can also go the audio route and include a podcast with your blog posts. Or, you can launch a podcast and include a transcript of it on your blog. This manner of content repurposing can also give you something to publish when you don’t have time to prepare a regular blog post.
Naturally Curly features a podcast (in video format) in this post. The article itself is not a recap of the episode but an introduction to the podcaster, giving the reader a bit of insight before they listen to the audio.
Finally, you can also choose to add some visual interest to the post by means of an infographic. If the data you are presenting can be appealing to your reader’s eyes, this is an excellent way to convey it in a more interesting format.
Here’s an infographic from Truity that proves this point well. Had the brand decided to write about this topic, the post would have been very long and rather clunky. Opting for the infographic has allowed them to communicate an extensive amount of information at a glance.
Image source: Truity.com
All of these different content formats also allow you to promote your brand across various new channels. You can:
- establish a YouTube channel or feature your video on social media
- list your infographic on a site like Visually or pin it to Pinterest
- promote your podcast across a wide range of podcasting platforms
Introduce Your Product Logically
A mistake many brands make is equating content marketing with making a sale. What you are actually trying to do is provide valuable, meaningful information that will help your prospective customers get to know your brand. It’s about raising awareness and establishing trust, not shoving a product in someone’s face.
Consequently, when you mention one of your products, you need to include and introduce it in a logical way. You never want the product mention to feel like a slap in the face. You want it to feel like a natural continuation of the conversation you and the reader have been having.
Before you provide the solution in the form of your product, introduce the problem. Be specific and actionable, and always fully align the product with the topic. If you are writing for people with curly hair, don’t mention a shampoo designed for blondes, for instance.
Let’s look at this on healthy energy drinks from Impossible, which cleverly allows them to juxtapose their product against some of the biggest names in the industry. The article itself is both informative and respectful. They don’t talk trash about the competition, and they’ve done a good job of highlighting the key features of their product without tearing down someone else’s.
If this is the route you’re taking, do your best to keep your post civil and valuable. Your aim is not to climb to the top by trampling over lesser brands.
Provide Serious Value
As we keep reiterating, the purpose of content marketing is to provide value to your customers. Don’t merely go through the motions of writing and posting. Aim to publish at least a couple of posts that can truly be considered the best resource on a given topic.
Choosing this topic can be a bit of a challenge, as you want to shoot for a topic that is searched for but that hasn’t been covered to death. Something of interest to your audience where you can provide some meaningful information that will add to the conversation.
There are various methods for hounding down low competition keywords that also come with a decent monthly search volume. Try them out and see which will work best in your specific industry.
Image source: Moz.com
You can also choose to skip this part, and produce a resource that is of immense value to your readers, focusing less on the organic search aspect of the topic.
Gili has done it with this post on the best paddle board accessories. It gets many things right: it’s long, but not too long, providing just enough detail about each product. Each item also comes with an image, bullet points highlighting the key features of each, and a link taking the reader to the product’s own page.
The post is chock-full of information, but it’s never oppressive, nor does it feel too long or cluttered. All of it is neatly organized, and the reader can jump from point to point effortlessly.
Tell Your Customer’s Story
To make your efforts even more effective, make them personal. Connect with your readers in a whole new way by telling their stories of success.
Case studies and customer stories are not just a great way to prove to your customers that your products or services do exactly what you say they do. On top of that, they help potential customers relate to your brand and your products. If you can show a customer how someone just like them has solved a certain problem, you will effectively overcome a lot of purchasing objections. Plus, the people you feature will also likely share the feature, promoting your business at the same time.
When selecting the stories you tell, make them either the most relatable ones or show how you have overcome the biggest problems and obstacles. Sometimes pulling on the heartstrings of your audience works well, too (just think of the John Lewis Christmas adverts), as long as you don’t make the content cringy or sappy.
Here’s a clever way to tell a story: Mixam shoots videos instead of writing case studies, showing their audience exactly how they make custom products and what they can expect to get themselves. This not only highlights their expertise but also appeals to several senses, providing additional value.
Image source: Mixam.com
You don’t have to go down the video route, of course. A blog post augmented with original images can be all you need to succeed.
B2C content marketing can be a lot of fun if you choose to embrace the challenges and work with your target audience in mind. Remember to align your efforts with what your customers want to see, and cater to their tastes and interests. Don’t just flaunt what may appeal to your personal tastes.