// //]]>

Welcome to the STIHL USA Blog

Monday, July 25, 2016

Business Builder Series: Content Marketing

STIHL is all about supporting small businesses, after all we sell our products only through servicing dealers, not big box retailers.  Our Business Builder Series will periodically share tips on a variety of topics from industry leaders all designed to help small businesses grow and build on their success.  Let us know if there are topics that you would like to see covered.  We welcome your feedback.
------

How Content Marketing Builds Relationships with Buyers
by Jeff Korhan

You have probably heard the secret to building relationships with buyers is getting them to know, like and trust your business. This is true, but how that is accomplished has changed. Product and service excellence were once the key to winning the hearts and minds of buyers, but that is now an expectation.

The new way is learning to use content to add unique value to those products and services. In a world that wants to commoditize much of what we sell, the best way to achieve distinction is creating meaningful customer experiences that cannot be easily matched.

Buyers develop a relationship with your business at every touchpoint with it. This starts from the moment they first discover it to long after their acquisition and consumption of your products and services. You can enhance that comprehensive with content marketing.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing is the creation and distribution of valuable, relevant and consistent content that attracts, engages and inspires a clearly defined audience, with the objective to ultimately drive profitable actions.”

Marketers used to focus exclusively on the promotion of products and services. Now we promote everything that progressively adds value to them at every stage of the buyer’s journey. From the buyer’s perspective, content marketing adds experiential value that literally becomes part the product, thereby enhancing it.




Trust Converts Buyers into Customers

During the late nineties the landscape architecture business I founded had enjoyed a successful decade and was entering another. The market was strong, but our success was attracting new competitors that were quick to copy our innovations.

Just like price, product innovation is something that can be imitated. We soon saw our growth leveling off and margins squeezed. After more than a few setbacks we decided to break down our sales and marketing processes to design the perfect customer experience.

This was still early days for digital marketing, so there were fewer communication channels to manage. That was a blessing because it allowed us to focus on direct communications with buyers. It turns out that personalization is equally relevant to achieving marketing success in our digital world.

We decided it was necessary to help buyers understand what we were doing at every stage of their journey with our company; and most important, why.  We predominantly this through personal interactions, but today you have website, email marketing, and social media to further extend the impact of your messaging.

Our biggest breakthrough was the realization that most customers are confused and afraid because they need the right information to make better buying decisions. In turns out we had intuitively discovered the power of content long before digital technology would make it a mainstream practice.

We mapped out all of our content, including stories, case studies, budgets, and more, so that we would consistently delivery the right content in the right place and at the right time, thereby taking the buyer to a place of trust. This is the Social Marketing Process©.



Exceptional Experiences with Buyers Get Talked About

Now that customer experiences are easily shared across many communication channels, everything about your business contributes to that experience. What's interesting is that what is shared is usually result of an amazing or inferior customer experience, because average never gets talked about.

Let that sink in for a moment.

This is why it’s vital to study every interaction buyers have with your company to fully understand what they are thinking, seeing, feeling and doing.

Our landscape business changed course for the better when we implemented a content driven process that clearly answered three questions every buyer needs answered before they will consider a relationship with any company.

a. You know and understand me
b. You have the expertise to help me
c. I'll enjoy a relationship with your business

Do your research, help your customers, and create exceptional experiences that build meaningful relationships. It's a simple formula that helps them get to know, like and trust your business.

Good luck.

-------------------------------


Jeff Korhan is the author of Built-In Social and founder of Landscape Digital Institute. He helps organizations create exceptional customer experiences that drive business growth in a digital, social and global world. He is a trainer and coach for small business, and a keynote speaker for the associations and member organizations that support them. Connect with him on Twitter @jeffkorhan and learn more at JeffKorhan.com