[This article originally appeared here in December 2013 and has been updated and revised.]
Engagement is absolutely crucial for effective inbound marketing. It's like the engine that drives your content from simply existing to actually achieving your goals.
If it's been a while since you thought about the real purpose of your published content and inbound marketing efforts, you're not alone.
So Many Tasks and So Little Time
For many small business owners, there is a real pressure to "set it and forget it" - to simply publish content on their website and social media channels and then get on with the work of running their business.,
But the problem is that all the content in the world will do you no good if customers and prospects don't engage with it. It's like the old question of a tree falling in the forest. Except that it goes more like this: if you publish content and no one sees it, does it even exist?
In fact, according to a recent study by Ahrefs, 96.55 percent of all pages get zero traffic from Google, and 1.94 percent only get between one and ten monthly visits.
The problem with much of the content that is put out onto the Internet day in and day out, 24/7, is that it doesn't engage readers or viewers. And therein lies the real problem.
What Does Engagement Mean in Content Marketing?
Engagement in content marketing refers to the active interaction and meaningful connection that your audience has with your content. It goes beyond simply viewing or consuming the content; it's about participating, sharing, and expressing their thoughts and feelings.
Think of it like a conversation, not a monologue. You create high-quality content that sparks interest, and your audience responds, forming a two-way communication and building a relationship with your brand.
The vast majority of online interaction with content is cursory, superficial, and has little or no impact on the audience. It's simply not enough to know that someone viewed your blog post or clicked on your website's short video. If your content doesn't engage their mind and emotions, it is simply noise.
Going Beyond the Noise: Audience Engagement
Here's an example to illustrate:
Imagine you publish a blog post about tips for baking the perfect chocolate chip cookies.
- Low engagement: People read the post, maybe scroll through the pictures, and then move on.
- High engagement: Readers:
- Leave comments: They ask questions about the recipe, share their own baking tips, or tell you how their cookies turned out.
- Share the post on social media: They tag friends who might be interested, adding their own recommendations.
- Subscribe to your email list: They want to receive more baking content from you.
- Try the recipe and tag you in pictures: They show you the results and tell you how much they enjoyed the cookies.
In this example, the high engagement demonstrates that the content resonated with the audience. They weren't just passively consuming it; they were actively interacting with it and each other, creating a community around your baking expertise.
Here are some other common metrics for measuring engagement in content marketing:
- Likes, shares, and comments on social media.
- Click-through rates on links within your content.
- Time spent on page or blog post.
- Number of downloads or views of videos or infographics.
- Signups for your email list or other lead magnets.
By focusing on creating engaging content and tracking these metrics, you can build a loyal audience and achieve your content marketing goals.
Remember, engagement is not just about getting as many clicks or shares as possible. It's about building meaningful connections with your audience and turning them into loyal customers or brand advocates.
Keep in mind, too, that engaging content connects on an emotional level as well as being informative. In fact, effective content engages not only prospective customers or clients, but leads to their conversion and, over time, to nurturing that relationship.
High engagement demonstrates that your content resonates with your audience. They weren't just passively consuming it; they were actively interacting with it and each other, creating a community around your brand's expertise.
3 Primary Tips for Inbound Marketing that Engages, Converts, and Nurtures
The key is to provide content that's valuable, relevant, and entertaining to your audience. By offering genuine value and fostering a two-way communication, you'll cultivate loyal customers who become more than just consumers; they become brand ambassadors.
1. Know Your Audience Inside-Out:
- Deeply understand their needs, challenges, and aspirations. Conduct surveys, analyze customer data, and engage in direct conversations.
- Create buyer personas to represent your ideal customers. This helps tailor content to their specific interests and pain points.
- Focus on solving real problems, not just promoting products. Your content should offer genuine value and address their concerns.
2. Craft Compelling Content:
- Go beyond basic blog posts. Experiment with different formats like videos, infographics, interactive quizzes, and podcasts.
- Prioritize quality over quantity. Publish well-researched, informative, and entertaining content that people want to consume.
- Inject emotional appeal and tell stories. Make your content relatable and memorable by connecting with your audience on a deeper level.
- Optimize for search engines (SEO). Use relevant keywords and structure your content for increased visibility.
3. Nurture the Relationship:
- Don't stop at acquisition. Create a nurturing strategy with personalized email sequences, targeted offers, and ongoing engagement.
- Leverage social media to build a community. Encourage discussions, answer questions, and show your audience you care.
- Provide exclusive content and offers for existing customers. Make them feel valued and part of a special community.
- Track your results and analyze engagement metrics. Learn what works and adapt your strategy to continuously improve.
Bonus Tip: Always be authentic and transparent. Show your audience the real you and build trust through genuine interactions.
Remember, inbound marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. By consistently creating engaging content, offering value, and fostering long-term relationships, you can build a loyal audience and achieve sustainable success.
Inbound Marketing: Talk to Me!
Consistent and engaging content acts like a magic fertilizer for your existing audience and customer base. By providing valuable, interesting, and interactive experiences and content, you can strengthen existing relationships, increase loyalty, and encourage further engagement.
1. Deepen understanding and trust: Engaging content lets you go beyond product features and dive into the deeper benefits, values, and stories behind your brand. This fosters a sense of understanding and connection, building trust and solidifying your position as a thought leader in your field.
2. Address pain points and offer solutions: By understanding your audience's needs and challenges, you can create content that directly addresses them. This could be through how-to guides, troubleshooting tips, or success stories, demonstrating your commitment to their needs and solidifying your position as a helpful resource.
3. Foster a sense of community: Engaging content provides platforms for interaction and sharing. Encourage comments, discussions, and user-generated content. This creates a sense of community among your customers, where they feel valued and connected to each other.
4. Increase brand advocacy: Through engaging content, you can turn customers into enthusiastic brand advocates. By providing them with valuable experiences and a platform to share their positive experiences, you encourage them to recommend you to others, organically expanding your reach and building brand loyalty.
5. Encourage repeat business and upsells: Engaging content can subtly highlight the benefits of your products or services, reminding customers of their value and potentially piquing their interest in other offerings. This opens doors for repeat business and upsells, driving further growth.
Remember, the key to successful engagement is consistency and personalization. Regularly release fresh content, tailor it to specific segments of your audience, and be responsive to their interactions. By doing so, you can nurture your existing relationships and cultivate a loyal fanbase that drives your business forward.
Inbound Marketing Can Be Your Path to Success
Ready to take your marketing strategy to the next level?
Contact BroadVision Marketing today for expert help in developing a successful inbound marketing approach that drives results. Our team of experienced professionals will work closely with you to understand your business goals and target audience, and create a tailored content strategy that aligns with your objectives.
Don't miss out on the opportunity to establish a strong brand presence and generate meaningful engagement through your content. Reach out to us now and let's get started!
Jaco Grobbelaar is the owner of BroadVision Marketing. BroadVision Marketing works with business owners to put in place inbound and outbound marketing strategies that consistently secure new clients. Jaco can be reached at email@example.com or 707.766.9778