With the constantly changing tides of customer marketing, companies are forced to remain current with all the trends surrounding their industry. Being “late to the party” is simply, not an option, and the ability to remain relevant in mind of your target customer is becoming increasingly difficult.
Learning to pivot is the best way to stay relevant in the mind of your customers. However, there is an emerging trend to share content that looks interesting rather than consume it. This misunderstanding is causing many companies to make foolish changes in their customer marketing strategy, and this article will provide you with the mindset needed to make the right changes.
Acceptance is the Key to the Sharing Trend
Sharing is consuming when it comes to customer marketing. How many times have you created a piece of content that bombs with conversions, but is shared more than your other posts? It’s a common problem with a simple answer, but it’s a pill that’s hard to swallow.
An audience that skims is one of the toughest issues in customer marketing. Accepting this a good thing will help you find the perfect strategy for your brand, but first, you need to understand why your readers are skimming in the first place.
Why Do Readers Share But Not Read?
Keep in mind if your posts are not converting, but still being shared, you should not panic. It’s a great thing that your headline is being shared. If it’s being read but not converting into a click, then work on the content itself and call-to-action.
The time it takes people to read an entire blog post could be contributing to the issue. If you offer a summary either in video or written at the beginning of the article, you will likely increase your conversions and shares. The reason is many of your shares are people that like your headline and think it would be helpful to their audience. They are using it as a way to build their followings.
This tells you the people that are sharing your content may not be a buyer in the first place. However, the people they share it with could be buyers and this will help your brand attract more prospects.
If you believe the time it takes to read the article is a factor, then give them more options to understand the content. A checklist, podcast or video might be a better option at the time.
Make your content easily consumable by making easy to skim. It’s easy to do that if you include lots of subheadings and short paragraphs. In my experience, I read a ton of blogs from people that create informational material. I know their blogs will take a while to read and understand and I’ll have to take notes to get the full benefit. Knowing this will help me prioritize my time, so I can read it in depth when I am available.
One thing that the online platform, Medium, does well is telling people how long it will take to read the article. You could do the same thing with your blogs. Just time yourself reading the article and post it next to the title or create a section on your blog for short reads and long posts. Instead of thinking about your blogs by word count, use the time to help your customers.
Redefine Your Content Strategy
If you look at customer marketing through content and say “no one is reading my post,” you could look at this in a bad way and say people just aren’t interested in reading anymore. This is a major mistake if you do.
If you keep track of who is reading your posts by who is taking action at the bottom of your content, then you’ll know important metrics to help improve your strategy.
Create a Funnel With Every Post
Use simple online marketing strategies, like adding a link to your content. That link goes to a landing page and then to a sales letter then a product page. Even if your goal is to get more traffic to your website and create more of an online presence, you can always create mini-funnels with each post.
Here is an example of using this strategy…
If you post on LinkedIn, make the first image of your video a meme. Now you have an image with a headline and a video all-in-one. Then add a short call-to-action to a high-quality lead magnet in the body of the post. If you’re getting more email subscribers then you can track how well the video is doing.
Other social media platforms make this really easy if you know what hashtags your customers use. Most of the time if they follow hashtags on one network they will use it on others.
One of the best free tools for this is hashtagify.me. Just type in your niche and it will give you its popularity, influencers, and other related hashtags to target. If you search the related ones too, you can create a complete strategy for reaching your target market with ease.
Micro-Content is an Art
If you analyze what kind of content does the best on each social network, you’ll see there are major differences to keep in mind.
A lot of platforms provide options to share your post on other social media profiles, but that is a complete mistake in many cases. In order to make sure your content is considered “quality” then you have to create native content, and in many situations, native content is micro.
This is the essence of why headlines are shared and the content isn’t read. Whether you appreciate this or not, most of your viewers are very concerned with not wasting their time. If you are constantly providing content that requires their attention over 5 minutes, then only the truly interested will consistently consume it.
It won’t matter whether your information is better than your competition’s. If it’s too long you might as well not even make it. However, you must consider the type of platform and your goals with that platform.
A Balanced Approach to Marketing in 2018
If your goal is to drive traffic to your website and present your customers trust-building articles, then creating micro-content is essential on your social media platforms. The reason being if you bombard them with long-form content on all platforms you’ll push them away from your website because they will “get-their-fill” on the social platforms.
If your website has the long-form content, which is better for SEO, you should use short to medium length content on your social profiles. These curiousity creating posts will entice them to click the links you provide keep them interested enough to read your information.
However, if you’re a company that primarily uses Facebook for your business then you should provide a healthy mix of long and short-form content with your posts. Always, of course, provide some kind of visual (either a meme or a short video with a meme as the first frame) and then switch the length of your content. The mixture will create the curiosity keep your customers coming back for more.
How to Encourage Reading (or Watching) vs Just Sharing
First things first, you need to understand your goals and make sure you achieving what you set out to do. If your goal is to drive traffic and build trust with your content you should try and understand whether or not reading your content actually achieves that.
Use Data to Define Your Goals
To build a following on Facebook, you need to spend more time keeping your traffic there. You can track which posts perform best for your goals by creating a spreadsheet.
All of the information on this spreadsheet is a great place to start. If you know about Excel, you can make all kinds of qualitative and quantitative charts that will understand why your following is not growing as fast as it could.
Using this information will help you create split tests to see if your theories are working in real time. You might find your audience prefers to get their long-form content later in the day instead of early in the morning. This could also indicate that your customers come from another time zone.
Depending on the size of your audience, you should run a split test to see which posts do better. If you see more comments, you can bet people are consuming all of your content.
How Much Data Should You Collect Before You Make Changes?
Knowing when to change your customer marketing strategy is ultimately up to you. Here are some ideas that worked for me.
I look for significant changes in the data. For instance, a while back I was looking to increase traffic on one of my client’s blogs. We decided that using Twitter to increase the traffic was where we wanted to focus our attention for the time being.
What we decided to test 3 different types of posts and see how they did at different times. Our goal was to double retweets on every post within 2 months. Knowing that our customers preferred short motivational written infotainment we decided to test three different types of tweets: written-only tweets, short-form tweets with a link to long-form content, and a short 30-second video. We would try each post at three times during the day.
When we changed the timing of these three posts, we realized that the videos created more retweets for us in the morning rather than during lunchtime or early evening. We also realized that our motivational written posts did the best around 2pm. These results, of course, were astonishing to us and we immediately changed the timings of each post.
Major Shift from Long-Form to Short Form
We also learned our Twitter followers showed zero interest in our short-form tweets linking to our long-form content. After 6 weeks of testing with different headlines and posting times, we decided to remove them from our posting schedule. Then we migrated these long-form posts to another platform, Medium.
Medium is known for customer marketing with longer content. We felt our customers would prefer the long-form content on platforms they expect it to be on. I’ve always found this to be true. Trying to force your content to conform to the platform usually doesn’t work. If the platform requires only 150 characters that should tell you something. This may not be the exact formula to double your traffic or your follower count. However, I hope you get the point that data will tell the story of your business better than your gut.
Customer Marketing Bottom Line
Customer marketing requires a heavy amount of research prior to advertising and creating content. Continuing to collect customized data will significantly increase your ability to sell more of your products. Don’t make the mistake of creating a few ads and blogs without considering who you’re talking to.
Understanding their habits, common phrases, buying patterns, and content consumption variables will increase your ability to beat your competition.
For more information on understanding your audience and making your ads more effective click the link in this sentence.