By Taylor Smithfield
Last month, we discussed the value of “influencer marketers,” the new and improved version of brand spokespeople. Influencers are basically walking (or shooting) undercover advertisements. They’re Instagrammers, Twitterers, Facebookers or YouTubers with significant followings, or more accurately, loyal fanbases. Possessing the power of a celebrity, their influence can generate a lot of dough for businesses. For example, the, uh, four guys of @FourGuysGuns post photos taken at their favorite local range to an audience of 76.2k followers — word of mouth advertising is extremely effective! While not every influencer is under contract (many freely promote their favorite brands), there’s no doubt influencers live up to their name.
While we focused primarily on influencer marketing last month, we also briefly referenced its sister: content marketing. Both marketing strategies subtly influence audiences to purchase or participate, however content marketing doesn’t rely on the power of an individual but rather the power of knowledge. Things are starting to sound a bit mystical, so let’s define content marketing before we go any further.
Content marketing is “the strategic marketing approach of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience — with the objective of driving profitable customer action” (Jon Wuebben, author of Future Marketing: Winning in the Prosumer Age). A phrase like “profitable customer action” was clearly penned by someone in marketing, right?
While traditional advertising asks buyers to purchase a product, content marketing provides free information, thus enabling a buyer to be more intelligent. This “information” could be a blog post, product review video, PDF book or an advice email newsletter. Regardless, it’s value-added content that attracts an audience, establishes a company as a wealth of knowledge and converts prospects into buyers — and buyers into loyal, lifelong customers.
Knowledge And Power
Today’s buyers are making educated purchases. They rely heavily on Yelp reviews, Consumer Reports and word of mouth on social networks. This desire to hunt down the best deal means they have an appetite for knowledge or information. And you know what they say about knowledge and power. The more informed and prepared an individual is about a product, the more likely they are to be influenced by and interested in the product.
Being an authority on any subject garners respect and trust. If you offer a steady diet of unbiased and engaging reviews or product reveals with your social followers, eventually they won’t want to deal with anyone else. Educating your customers (especially new shooters) also breaks down barriers between them and “intimidating” weaponry. The more information you arm customers with from the comfort of their own home, the more comfortable they’ll feel about walking into your gun store. That’s how you make a lifelong customer.
Cashing In Mindshare
Content marketing not only makes you a respected expert on firearms or archery, it also opens avenues for you to engage with your customers. Blogs have comment sections — as do Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube.
Content marketing is a two-way street. You can’t merely offer content, you must also foster relationships with followers so they become invested. You’re not only offering them free advice or product reviews, you’re meeting their basic need for community.
This is where influencer marketing plays a guest role. If you want to truly connect with your audience, don’t only offer them free content but deliver that content yourself. What I mean is, post blogs under your own name. Post your photo so people can connect with you and not words alone. Film yourself unpacking a new shipment of Streamlight ProTac rail mounts or demonstrating how the new GLOCK G43’s large magazine catch allows for easy mag removal.
Post photos of daily ongoings in-store and downrange. Content doesn’t always have to be “advice” or “information” driven. In fact, the best content marketing is a varied mix of informational and relational. When your audience sees a familiar face, that’s when you’ve made a valuable connection. Also, a benefit of utilizing multiple social networks and consistently posting content is brand awareness. If content from your gun store keeps popping up on someone’s feed, they’ll not only become familiar with you, but you’ll serve as a constant reminder, and eventually customers will cash in on that mindshare.
The Reign Of Content
Do you remember when pop-up ads once invaded browsers? Kids these days don’t realize how pleasant surfing the web has become. (Also, does anyone actually say “surfing the web” anymore?) Paid advertisements used to be extremely popular, but with the onslaught of ad blockers, marketers have been forced to find other advertising avenues. Luckily, content marketing is impervious to ad-blocking software, not to mention more engaging and beneficial than an animated banner ad.
Are you ready for some impressive numbers? The Content Marketing Institute says content marketing leaders experience 7.8 times more site traffic than non-leaders. It’s simple: high-quality content equals more visitors, which snowballs into more shares and more visitors and more shares — you get the idea. In addition, time spent consuming content is surprisingly high. The median time visitors spend on content marketing articles is 37 seconds, according to NewsCred. That may seem like an insignificant amount of time, but in the web world it’s practically an eternity!
Content is currently ruling the internet right now, so it’s probably a smart move to celebrate its reign. Let’s talk about the different forms of content marketing, to inspire your efforts. Interestingly, email marketing is one of the most effective forms of content marketing. According to the Content Marketing Institute, “For every one dollar spent, email gives back a whopping 38 dollars in ROI, and offers the broadest reach.” Mass emails are not only inexpensive to send, but they can easily be personalized and targeted to different audiences. In addition to email, content marketing can take the form of social posts, blog posts, video, how-to guides, Instagram Stories, Facebook Live, Tweets, infographics, social images, illustrations, testimonials, case studies, white papers, memes, ebooks, podcasts, Twitter chats, webinars, etc. The channels to reach customers are not only varied, but their potential is quite limitless.
Meopta, Holik Announce Offer For Meopta Stocking Dealers
Meopta and Holik, a Czech Republic-based manufacturer of premium hunting, shooting, tactical and fire and rescue gloves, are offering Meopta stocking dealers special pricing on Holik products through December 31, 2017. This special cross-distribution agreement will give Meopta stocking dealers 40 percent off of standard dealer pricing on all Holik gloves.