If you are a B2C business in the online world, 2014 may have been a tough year for you as there was much more competition compared to a year before. The news for 2015 is that there will be even more competition but with much more opportunities to grow your sales and take your business to the next level.
Many businesses use multiple tactics, online and offline, in order to engage their existing and new customer base. Offline tactics include TV ads, Radio shows, billboards, and charity show sponsorship, while online tactics include things such as email marketing, blogging, articles, and social media.
If you are a business that usually invests in online marketing, this post is for you. I will discuss B2C content marketing tactics that businesses used in 2014 and what tactics you should try in 2015 to better engage your target audience and increase your business.
Quick Note: Thanks to Smart Insight for their collection of amazing research in the form of an infographic.
- Social Media
According to the research given in the above infographic, 92% of the businesses in the B2C industry are using social media as part of their content marketing tactics. In 2015, this percentage may increase because social media is not only helping businesses to enhance their customer service, but it has a direct impact on their brand reputation.
In today’s world, one of the best ways to check a business’s reputation is to check their social media activity on different major social platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Check out ModCloth’s Facebook ad, and you will find that on average, each of their postings gets 50+ likes, and their communication with the customer is mind blowing.
I took this quick snapshot from ModCloth’s Facebook page, and this clearly explains why it is important for B2C to invest their time and money on social media networks. There is a significant percentage of people who include social media research as part of their research process before buying anything. So if you are active online, there are more chances for you to convert your particular audience into paying customers.
- eNews letters
The newsletter trend is increasing with more and more brands in the B2C industry investing their time on it. What is unfortunate is that most people do not have an idea of how to do it properly.
It is a good idea to test your newsletters if you are sending them to your audience via email. See what your audience likes and responds to and then design your newsletter accordingly. If you are using software like Mail Chimp, there are tool options that allow you to test and see the results of your newsletters, so you won’t make the same mistakes again.
I love this snapshot above of a newsletter by Blaumail. They feature an audience choice and keep this content in place instead of promoting a hard sale via newsletter. eNewsletters are doing great but if optimization becomes part of the continuous process, results can be marvelous!
- Articles on your website
Articles on websites are slowly leaving the mainstream, but stats show that it still works. The main two reasons why the trend is moving away from articles on websites is because blogs are a little more entertaining, and blogs provide much of the information contained in articles but usually in an easily digestible format.
Shopify is one brand that uses both blogs and articles, but they distinguish the topics in such a way that people find the article and blog both useful and unique at the same time. They have a section on their website where there are articles to answer people’s questions directly.
When people search for a specific question, the article relating to that question pops up. However, if people are looking for tips and tactics or expert advice on something, the blog is a better resource.
We touched on blogs in the previous section, but now let’s get into detail. Blogs are much more mainstream than articles. Lots of people talk about blogging, and many people have actually designed content to tell people how to do it the right way.
According to the chart above, 80% of the B2C businesses are using blogs as part of their content marketing strategy. In my opinion, this number is going to increase as blogs are continually becoming more of a necessity for online businesses.
Blogging is easy if you have a niche where people are already engaged online. One of the finest examples is Moz. They have built up a great community with their blogging efforts. To have similar success in a boring niche like industrial supply, much more effort will be required.
I have found that, usually, the boring niches do not include blogs on their website. If you have the right team, you still can perform wonders with a blog for a boring niche and make it interesting enough to gain an audience. Workplace Depot, although mainly a B2B company, did a phenomenal job on their blog and here are the few things I have learned from it.
- Don’t just talk about products or promotions; also talk about happenings within the industry or in related industries.
- Long posts just don’t work well.
- Pick current topics widely searched on Google and other social networks
- Don’t look for big numbers to read your blog, instead look for a small targeted audience
- Paying to promote your blog on social networks is not bad but don’t overdo it.
These are a few of the things I learned just by following the blog for only a few weeks.
- In-Person Events
The last three years have been very powerful as far as in-person events are concerned. Industry experts started arranging conferences, and brands started investing on blogger meetups and more, so that viral relationships would become real. There will be even more chances to share information for the greater good of the industry.
Looking back at the SEO industry, there were so few conferences that I could count them on my hand, which included Moz.com, SMX, PubCon and few more. Today, the list of SEO conferences is bigger than I could have imagined.
In my country, the culture of in-person events is increasingly popular, especially in the form of blogger meetups. These events are probably the easiest way to engage with the wider targeted audience via the source of authority, which could be bloggers or journalists.
- Case Studies
I wrote a post about the different types of content that brands should create at different times in the buying cycle. Case Studies are effective at a point when you want to convince and convert your audience. From the last year, more and more people are updating the case studies on their website. One of the finest examples is the blog of Neil Patel called Quick Sprout Blog.
Case Studies and other content assets that brands use in the last stage of the buying cycle are very important. They need to be powerful because these are the tools that not only convert the potential buyer into a customer, but also engage them and encourage them to become a brand advocate.
According to a recent study, 77% of the companies in the B2C arena are using these content marketing strategies. I personally believe this percentage will increase with time.
There are other content marketing tactics that B2C businesses are using heavily in order to attract their potential customer and convert them into paying customers (mentioned in the infograph) but I outlined the few that most people consider as highest priority. What are your content marketing tactics for this year?