I went to the summer’s first Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmers Market last week just to see what they had going on. I wasn’t going to buy anything. Really. Except maybe for some vegetables. Or a purse. Possibly a breakfast burrito or a coffee table made of recycled crates. Who knew? There I was, a walking search engine, with a hodgepodge of vendors to browse, some trying harder to catch my attention than others, all with the same intention - to sell their products and services. And just like online, some businesses had the whole content marketing thing figured out while others failed miserably.
The worst - vendors with no signs or prices leaving their wares a bit of a mystery. Understaffed food vendors manned by sullen teenagers, earning minimum wage and providing service to match. Grumpy gardeners obviously more comfortable growing vegetables than talking to humans. Like a lot of websites, these micro businesses were all present, barely, but they made no effort to be easily identified, least of all preferred. They just showed up. Vendors like these always make my intention not to buy an easy one.
3 Principles of Content Marketing For Hummingbird Feeders [And Everything Else]
There’s really nothing new about content marketing. Successful businesses, whether on the street or online, practice effective content marketing everyday by putting themselves out there, solving their customer’s problems and by being easy to work with. In fact, one impressive example of content marketing at the farmers market had me making a purchase that had never crossed my mind when I left the house that morning.
1 - Be Easy To Find and a Pleasure To Work With
Presentation isn’t everything, but let’s face it, it counts for an awful lot. The vendor who ultimately won my hard-earned dollars makes quaint, hand painted hummingbird feeders. Their lovely stand had clear, attractive signage and lots of merchandise. The couple running the stand was engaged with the customers, answering questions and efficiently handling transactions. They also had quite a few potential customers milling about (a little social proof, anyone?). I could spend a little time here, I thought. It might be worth my time.
2 - Solve Your Customers Problems
When I left the house that day, one of the to-dos I had rattling around the back of my mind was that Father’s Day was fast approaching and how maybe I could find something for my son to give to the hubby. As I browsed the hummingbird feeder stand, I saw a small sign proclaiming their feeders were “Perfect for Father’s Day”. Ding-Ding-Ding. Just earlier that week my husband told me about a hummingbird he saw flitting about the deck while he was having his morning coffee and how fascinating he found the tiny little birds. This could be the solution to the Father’s Day offering (no spoilers here - the guy never reads my blog).
3 - Position Yourself As the Expert
Hopeful, but still not terribly convinced that a hummingbird feeder was the answer, I hung back and listened as the vendor finished checking out a customer. I could hear them chatting about the wonders of hummingbirds and how they come back every year, and how long theirs have been coming around. The owner described what to feed the birds and how often to clean the feeder. They even included an instruction sheet, a “recipe” for hummingbird soup, a tiny little brush (free while supplies lasted) with which to clean the feeder and a website address if you had more questions or wanted more. Perfect. Maybe this wasn’t such a bad idea for Father’s Day. Even I couldn’t screw this up. Purchase made. Problem solved.
When you apply these principles to your digital marketing strategy, how do your efforts fare? Do the visitors to your website find it attractive and easy to work with? Do you show off your products and services in a visually appealing, easily digestible way? Do you make it clear exactly how your products and services can solve your customer’s problems or fulfill their needs, promoting solutions instead of product?
Adapting proven content marketing strategies like these to the digital world is key to growing your business today. A great way to add useful content to your website is with business blogging. If you would like to learn more about creating quality content for business blogs, download our free eBook An Introduction to Business Blogging.