It's easy to get stuck in a short-term online marketing mindset. In the early days people would simply throw a bunch of keywords in white text on white backgrounds to increase their search ranking and call it a day. Or they would buy a bunch of links to try to fool Google. Ultimately, those who relied on those lazy tactics were penalized by Google updates. Many were left trying to undo their past mistakes and attempt new tactics.
With social media and content marketing now considered the fancy new trends, some businesses are back to trying shortcuts with a new name. Businesses buy untargeted Facebook likes, resulting in disengaged fans. Marketers churn out infographics and shallow blog posts like there’s no tomorrow. But all of these tactics still represent a short-term mindset. And ultimately these tactics, just like the ones before, will result in at best ineffective ROI, and at worst will damage your brand and your bottom line.
So while it may be tempting to cut corners and skip some steps, here are four reasons you should keep your customer's best interest in mind and focus on offering lasting value.
1. Infographics are helpful, but if not tied to a larger strategy, will be short-lived.
You might have experienced a peak in website traffic after publishing an infographic. Perhaps you got some shares and nods from online influencers. But was that the only infographic you produced? Did you have any follow-up content to keep readers coming back for more? If not then you likely lost the ground you gained since readers didn't have another reason to return. With the amount of fresh, quality content available online, they were pulled to more interesting places.
2. Getting visitors to your site is one thing; keeping them coming back for more is another.
Sure, you got a lot of new visitors to your website with that e-book promotion. But have they returned? Customers need to be compelled to revisit a website. When they visit, they need to see that there is a lot of great content to browse, more than they have time for in just one visit. This sparks interest to come back later and read all that content, along with a desire to not miss anything new. Your website needs to offer value in a way readers can't get elsewhere. This is a challenging task because every other marketer online is trying to do the same thing. So find your niche, develop your unique voice, and try, try again.
3. It usually takes hearing a message seven times before a customer remembers it.
You might have heard of the "Rule of Seven", or the idea that people need to hear or read something seven times before the message sticks with them. So if you have one-off pieces on marketing material, or content items that are disconnected in some ambiguous void, then your message is much less likely to tell a consistent and compelling story that will stick with customers over the long haul. As marketers we should weave a story that tells customers why they need us, and tell it consistently so that the message really stays with them.
4. You can't develop brand ambassadors with one piece of content.
You know how you can meet someone at a networking event and hit if off? You might exchange business cards and connect on LinkedIn. However, if you just met that one time, you are unlikely to really vouch for them when it matters most to that person. At least, not without getting to know them better. For instance, if they want you to recommend them for a job to a close connection of yours, you may want to get more familiar with them before you put your name and reputation on the line. The same goes for developing brand ambassadors. Ideally your brand is fostering quality connections with customers so they keep coming back for more. As they become more comfortable and confident in your brand's quality and ability to deliver consistently, then they begin to tell their friends and family about you. If you are not providing quality content consistently, then customers who might promote you to their friends online will be left without material to either connect with you themselves or send on to their contacts.
As you develop your marketing calendar and plan on content for distribution, remember not to focus on the typical trophy pieces. Focus instead on the story you want to weave for your customers. Then think about how that story will be best communicated (e-book, blog, meme, etc.), and when and where (social media, email, influencer promotion, etc.) it should be communicated. Remember that quality and consistency are key to grabbing attention and keeping it.