The evolutionary jump made from catchphrases and the promotional nature of adverts to nowadays content is considerable. If a couple of decades ago your product would come out with flashy imagery and keywords that were obvious to everyone, nowadays content marketing places the focus on customer satisfaction and utility.

The 3 Increases
The change is caused by three increases:

  • An increase in the number of channels of direct and immediate communication between company and customers. Previously, deducing your customer’s detailed opinion of a product was possible mainly through its sales performance.
  • An increase in competition. Methods of producing or even copying existing products, especially when talking about websites, are accessible to everyone, everywhere. It has gotten to the point in which free and ultra-low-cost may not be competitive anymore in some domains.
  • An increase in the similarity between products. Unique websites and unique concepts do not arise and turn into success stories as much as they used to. E-commerce stores are the perfect example. In order to get ahead, they promote customer-driven content.

Content, and specifically customer-driven content is a necessity today. More responsive to its audience than any other business model, websites are directed by the measurable traffic they produce. With feedback and commenting systems in place, the contact with the customer is never lost.

1.Focus on customer engagement
To be successful, you need to know your customer. This is something that marketers and admen knew even before the rise of content marketing. The change, however, comes in terms of impact and reach.

The trend is so powerful that even physically existing businesses, such as restaurants, actively encourage their customers to provide online feedback. Ruby Tuesday, for example, regularly asks its clients to answer questions on the rubytuesday.com survey page.

Customer engagement is a powerful metric, even more so than the number of page visitors. It shows how long each person spends on your page. It is also the necessary step toward customer retention, the point in which a visitor transforms into a paying customer. Use customer engagement as an indication of subjects and content types that grab attention.

2. Identify the target audience
A generally portrayed customer is no longer sufficient. Your market research has to reveal demographic data regarding your visitors and readers. From age, marital status or occupation, you can deduce their likes and passions.

Armed with this kind of knowledge, your website can formulate messages that appeal directly to your target audiences. Geo-location data which can be used to promote messages specifically designed for regions makes the perfect example.

3. Interconnectivity is your friend

Make use of the previously gathered information in order to design customer-centered products. If your e-commerce website caters to businessmen, your visitors are most likely interested in trading, investing and market trends. Include content about these and cooperate with other sites that specialize in them in order to mutually benefit.
Similarly, if your site deals in fashion accessories, connect them to entire outfits and provide content about ways to dress. This type of networking can only benefit your website in the long run.

4. Closer contact means better sales
Aside from measuring traffic and customer engagement, you can keep in touch with your audience through a simple feedback system. Even more effective, you can provide them with a forum and a thread designed for suggestions.

In general, the more customers are involved in the development and presentation of your products; the more likely to be successful these products will be. Co-creation is a phenomenon that has taken off, supported by brands such as Lego. The company even rewards initiatives and submissions with a percentage of sales and official recognition.

5. Provide content that is useful
Above anything else, your content has to be useful to your customers. If you’re selling shoes, review them or suggest combinations of shoes and suits. If your website delivers organic fruits and vegetables, provide information regarding their uses and benefits regarding health issues. The list goes on.

Content marketing puts the customer at its center by definition. If you take into consideration website metrics, traffic, time spent on page and audience demographics when you construct your content, it will be even more customer-driven. A client that feels appreciated and listened to is a client that is ever more likely to purchase your goods or services.

Posting content for the sake of filling a page is, however, the sickness that plagues this way of marketing. Having increased in use, the rate at which it is produced has turned customer-driven content into the new form of spam. The uses it promises pale before the sheer number of similar articles that bombard the customer, mentally exhausting him.

To avoid this pitfall, your content does not need to be posted at lightning speed, nor come in excessive numbers. It should be short, simple and to the point, abiding a strict avoidance of any form of language resembling the promotional one. Be it articles, infographics, images or videos, content is the best weapon you have for attracting and retaining customers.