Let’s talk Google for a minute…
One of the biggest realisations for businesses like yours (and mine), who focus on content and being found on the internet of things, is that Google doesn’t just move the goal posts, it loads them on to a flatbed and waves them out the door.
Google – and their parent group Alphabet – is not in the business of making it easy for us, but why should we be surprised? Their entire ethos is about changing the world.
It’s up to you to decide for yourselves if that’s a good thing or not… But be under no illusion – they have succeeded in that changing the world thing they’re on about…
Google the word ‘google’ and the definition will be about searching for something on the internet. They not only invented their own noun, but they succeeded in making it a verb. Googling things is something we all do, often, to find stuff we want.
It’s Google’s mission to make sure that you get the stuff you want – every single time. Enter complex algorithms and Artificial Intelligence to make sure you get the right results, in the moment you’re looking for them.
Google has set the pace (with it’s large flatbed, goal post carrying truck) and it’s up to us to keep up.
That’ll teach you for skipping leg day.
As we’ve eluded to already in previous blogs – this has changed the way buying behaviour works. Because – you guessed it – google any question and your can rely on a comprehensive and helpful list of results.
This means we can more or less research any topic and become competently well informed in a few short moments.
This is giant zero gravity moon steps away from how things use to be. Going back few years – if you wanted to know about a service or product you had to the contact the business directly.
They would decide how much information to share with you based on how serious they decided you were about buying from them.
Businesses all over the world have no doubt lost out on countless great opportunities with amazing clients through simply occupying the perceived high ground of the all knowing expert, comfortable with deciding who gets what info, and when they should get it.
It’s an old school attitude that’s up there with phone bashing and bullying as a management style.
Engagement is the process of connecting with your customers and prospects meaningfully. Helping them along their journey.
We bang on about engagement a lot but only because it’s really effing important. If you don’t engage with your audience they will simply ignore you.
Not maliciously of course, it’s Google who decided you were irrelevant.
How’s that for a MOAB sized piece of knowledge to drop? If you don’t engage with your audience you become irrelevant.
This may seem overly harsh. Most businesses are busy trying to turn an honest profit and smaller organisations may not be able to afford a content creator or an agency to support them.
Behold the field in which Google grows its damns… Lay thine eyes upon it and thou shall see it is barren.
In other words: Google doesn’t care about your internal challenges. Google cares about serving your customers great content whether it’s from you or your competitors.
If you want Google to care you have to engage with your audience. It’s as simple as that.
So what actually is engagement?
Excluding weddings and warp drive, engagement is how your audience responds to the content you have created, and what they do next.
Be it fill out a form or make a purchase, the “next step” is not something Google cares about. What it cares about is that you’re helping, and that it helped you help.
That then signals to Google that you’re a good fit for the next person that has a similar question or problem – and up the rankings you go.
It also has to be measurable.
This means creating any kind of content that is valuable to your audience and – ideally – answers a question or otherwise provides information about a relevant topic.
The really important word to note there was ‘any’. Although blogs are the go to form of content, crucially it doesn’t have to be! It can be infographics or a series of short videos. Those videos don’t even need to be terribly well shot as long as they add value.
To prove I’m not crazy, here’s an example:
This video was shot 11 years ago on a budget of around $300 – including the cost of the camera – and proved to be one of the most successful examples of content engagement ever.
It was created by a little known (at the time) US based blender manufacturer called Blendtec.
‘Will it Blend’ became an international success by focusing on one thing and one thing only – the awesome blending power of Blendtec’s blenders.
The cringe ‘awww dad!’ humour, cheesy music and their willingness to blend anything their audience suggests has earned Blendtec over 884,000 subscribers with some content being viewed over 12 million times.
What this shows is if you add value to your customers by answering their questions, or imparting knowledge that they never knew they needed, they will both trust you and engage with you.
They become unpaid champions of your brand who will not only do business with you but share your content and advocate – often vociferously – on your behalf. Ask any loyal Apple customer.
In the case of Blendtec they used humour to communicate that their blenders can handle literally anything. It also communicates their value for money and their durability.
Understanding your proposition and how you can add value to your audience is vital to attracting and engaging with them. But it’s also important to know what to do with them once you’ve got them. What’s the next step in the journey and how do you keep the romance going in the mean time?
All this needs to be carefully planned which is why it’s also so important to get a content plan mapped out too.
Find the questions, plan the content, plan the journey you want to take them onn- to a product or service, convert them to a lead. Repeat.
This is where the magic happens.
One of the biggest challenges the average marketer has, is proving to their boss (or themselves) that spending money on content creation, email marketing or any other marketing tool is a good investment.
Better than investing in yet more sales execs to bash phones, for example.
Defining what success looks like is a really important piece to the content marketing puzzle especially when it comes to demonstrating a ROI.
What constitutes a good lead? How many do you need to convert in order to hit your targets? What are your targets? Understand these you can work backwards from there.
Whether you use Infusionsoft® or not you can pretty easily track the traffic your blogs are getting and what users are doing after that.
Combine this will email performance reports and you can quickly and accurately build a picture of how your audience likes to be communicated to and what content gets them clicking.
Back this up with conversion data from Google analytics and you can quickly see how your strategies are performing.
However, which ever tools you use it’s important to accurately report on your website performance as well track your leads through their life cycle.
This is particularly important. A well written series of blogs and beautifully crafted emails aren’t worth anything to your business if you don’t track what happens to the leads once they come in.
Ultimately what you want to see if an increase in conversions on the site and then an increase from conversion (lead) to sale.
That’s how you know you’re hitting the right buttons.
To discuss your content creation and email marketing shenanigans with an Automation Ninja contact us today and we’ll be only too happy to help.