Why you should use content marketing to promote your marine business
Written by Sarah Rowland
Last updated: 21/03/2017
With today’s audiences increasingly skipping TV advertisements, tuning out of radio commercials, swerving cold calls and blocking out billboards, how is it possible to get your marine marketing messages in front of the right people to establish and grow your business?
Truth be told, used alone these have never been the means to reach the superyacht set, but in today’s landscape, great content is certainly key to great marketing, slowly turning first-time visitors to brand evangelists.
Yachting Pages relays the brief in’s and out’s of using content marketing to promote your marine business within the superyacht industry.
What is content marketing and why is it important?
We think Copyblogger.com sums up the premise of content marketing well when it says, “Content marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like and trust you enough to do business with you.”
The idea is that, by writing engaging, high-quality content and sharing it with your audience for free - at least at certain points in the sales funnel - you demonstrate your industry knowledge, delivering value to your audience while showcasing your expertise. This in turn brings a whole host of benefits for your efforts, including the increased trust, recommendation and recollection of your prospects.
With this in mind, content marketing should be at the heart of any marine marketeer's strategy. According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing leverages all ‘story channels’, including print, online, face-to-face, mobile, social and so on, and can be employed at any and all stages of the buyer journey, from attention to retention, loyalty and beyond.
Not only is it great for attracting new and retaining existing audiences, it also assists your SEO, social media marketing, inbound marketing, PR, product and brand marketing efforts, making it an extremely valuable and efficient use of your marketing efforts.
Types of content marketing
The definition of content marketing of course changes depending on the person or business you are talking to, but to us, content marketing is about:
- Changing, influencing and/or enhancing consumer behaviour
- Demonstrating your industry knowledge and expertise
- Answering the common questions or queries of your audience
- Acquiring and increasing business
- Entertaining customers on topics that they are passionate about
Forms of content include:
- E-books, white papers and reports
- Blog posts and articles
- E-newsletters and free templates
- Case studies
- Infographics and cheat sheets
- Webinars and podcasts
- Slide decks
- Social media
- Print and traditional media
- In-person events
Content: Give or sell? Free or paid? Gated or un-gated?
Whichever way you refer to it, why should you be giving your hard-laboured content away for free? Well, consider what would happen if all of your content is placed behind a paid barrier or form; you would ultimately reduce the chance of the increased visibility that content marketing sets out to achieve. It's all about balance and your personal business model.
First consider that content marketing:
- Attracts a new audience to grow your business
- Allows them to share your content freely to introduce their peers
- Gives them answers and solutions to their queries, so they begin to trust you more
- Rewards prospects for their time or email subscribe, encouraging them to come back for more
- Strengthens your position against competitors, giving you an advantage
- Tells your story and brand persona, building a relationship
- Adds value to your product or service, giving the consumer less objections
- Demonstrates results and proof of the benefits of your product or service
- Gives a taste of what’s to come, should the consumer buy-in
But, when do you draw the line? When are you giving away too much content for free? Is this ever the case? This obviously depends on your business model, content strategy and learned results, as well as what people are willing to 'pay' for, usually by allowing contact with their personal information.
Our infographic below demonstrates Marketo's theory of when you should provide access to gated (paid/protected) content and un-gated (free/freely accessible) content to leads as they pass through the sales funnel. They explain, "74% of buyers expect to access simple items - like infographics - for free, but 77% are willing to provide [their] basic information for a white paper. Gating bigger resources [with a form] is a great way to generate leads, learn which of your visitors is serious, and then nurture leads."
When will people pay for content?
Ultimately, your prospects will pay for your content when the information:
- Really offers them significant value, in money, in time or in popularity
- Goes into great depth, guiding prospects through a step-by-step or unknown process
- Is highly tailored to the consumer and his/her industry
- Is ‘exclusive’ and not available elsewhere
- Is hard to find as it doesn’t exist, isn’t indexed, or already has a charge on it elsewhere
- Is perceived to be more trustworthy as they believe something that is paid is more reliable than that which is given away for free
- Provides better quality, more value, and/or an experience
Which content should not be given away for free?
Basically, when it gives away the complete answer, or all of the answers! Not only will you be overwhelming or overloading your audience, but you will also be reducing the need for people to engage or get in touch with your business for answers. Something like 49% of content on any given page is read properly by readers – disheartening, huh? This is why you always need to concentrate on quality content marketing, rather than quantity or length of articles.
Furthermore, content marketing articles, blog posts, podcasts and so on, should not require too much previous education for beginners to follow along.