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Understanding content in inbound marketing, a break down of the basics – part 1

If you can't explain your services or relate those services to your company or even share insights highlighting your competence related to your services. Why would anyone objectively choose you as a provider, ahead of anyone else?

A company that does every aspect of marketing properly will never be short on content.

There is plenty of marketing content your company has to produce to comply with basic marketing needs. Aligning content production with basic marketing theory will provide your entire organization with recipes for communication material they have to create on a day to day bases, everything inbound by design. That said, enlisting help for basic production needs, such as text, pictures, and videos, is often a smart choice.

Understanding content in inbound marketing, a break down of the basics
If you can’t explain your services or relate those services to your company or even share insights highlighting your competence related to your services. Why would anyone objectively choose you as a provider, ahead of anyone else?

A service or a product must be presented in such a way that it communicates directly to stakeholder’s conscious and subconscious wants and needs.

In 1987 David A. Garvin, published an article on the eight dimensions of product and service quality in HBR. The proposed theory tells us how prospects and consumers measure the quality of your services based upon 

  • Performance refers to your service’s primary operating characteristics. This dimension of quality involves measurable attributes; brands can usually be ranked objectively on individual aspects of performance. 
  • Features are additional characteristics that enhance the appeal of the product or service to the user.
  • Reliability is the likelihood that a service will not fail within a specific time period. This is a crucial element for users who need the service to work without fail.
  • Conformance is the precision with which the service meets the specified standards.
  • Durability measures the length of a service’s life. When the service can be repaired, estimating durability is more complicated. The service will be utilized until it is no longer economical to operate it. This happens when the repair rate and the associated costs increase significantly.
  • Serviceability is the speed with which the service can be fixed when it breaks down, as well as the competence and the behavior of the service provider.
  • Aesthetics is the subjective dimension indicating the kind of response a user has to service. It represents the individual’s personal preference.
  • Perceived quality is the quality attributed to a good or service based on indirect measures.

“So the first task in your company’s content production is to write and visualize a proper presentation on each of your services or products. And each service and product should contain explicit descriptions on the eight dimensions they will be felt, viewed, and measured on by your stakeholders.”

Testimonials are for and aimed at the prospects who are already looking at your service and need a little “push” to get over the edge. 

In any content, marketing credibility is vital, and of course, the same is true for your testimonials. Hence any testimonial you choose to incorporate in your communication must derive from a credible, trustworthy source. Preferably someone recognized as an innovator amongst your stakeholders, prospects, and clients. This is a lot easier if your homepage is dynamic; as in the frontend design adapts to your visitor, we will come back to that in a later article.

“If your audience at least has a passing familiarity with the person or brand associated with a testimonial, it increases possibilities for the deal to go through.”

Arvid Madland Lyngnes

Visual elements are essential to great digital content, and the most straightforward variation of this rule is an image of the person who is giving the testimonial, preferably in an environment that makes sense with your product or brand. Another secret on a good testimonial is if it focuses on your features, your company’s secret sauce, what makes you and your services better than your competitors. And last but not least, make any testimonial short. There is no need to present loads of text, words, or video to anyone who will pay attention for about eight seconds.

Understanding content in inbound marketing, a break down of the basics
The bamboozled 2.0, just try it!

“The grip on the bamboozled 2.0 golf club is amazing and works even better than I hoped for

The grip alone on this  club gave my swing at least 10% more punch, and the composite of the club and the weight, added at least another 5%. This is basically unheard of, and i will recommend the bamboozled 2.0 to anyone with serious Golf ambitions or even guys who just go for a swing once a week. No matter, you will notice the sharpness and effect of just this club immediately”

-John Doe National Golfing Champion 2014

“The second task is to “chase” down some of your star clients and make them write those testimonials you need. If your product or service is as good as you claim, this will not be a problem. Just remember a good testimonial highlights your products “secret sauce,” visualizes product usage, explains some basic product features, are from a trustworthy source and it is inclusive by nature.”

Case studies are exemplifying any and all expectations the bulk of your prospects and clients has for you and your service

Writing a case study must be viewed as an investment. The process is time-consuming and craves a specific academic capital within marketing methodology to get it right. Hence it is of the utmost importance to choose your cases wisely. If we were to stick with our example from golfing. The smart play would most likely be to produce a case study on a) the national champion or b) a pro at the largest and most famous golf resort in the region. We want the case study to be both relevant and related to someone with a specific influence.

Understanding content in inbound marketing, a break down of the basics
“A good case study for marketing purposes is an analysis of a person or company that identifies a situation, recommended solutions, implementation actions and identification of those factors that contributed to failure or success.”

There are several guidelines out there on how to write a case study, we are referring you to the university of southern California and their research guides. Although not implying in any way that the summary below is representative of their standard. We are explaining how to use case studies for marketing purposes. The University, we believe, for research purposes. however, for marketing, ours will suffice   

  • Explain the service or product
  • Explain which topics that are the most interesting to our service or products and why
  • Explain what is common knowledge and expectations to these topics
  • Explain our new understanding of these topics 
  • Explain major findings in usage 
  • Explain what these findings mean 
  • Explain and relate to similar findings 
  • Explain further suggested development 

“The third task is to do a proper case study which will walk any potential client trough what to expect in any phase of any business interaction regarding your service. In the process removing any perceived obstacle for going through with the transaction. A great case study is a gamechanger for your sales.”

No experts without insights

If you are selling a service a potential client must believe that you are good at what you are doing. You can do that by trying to verbally convince them every time you meet. Or you can produce relevant content, aligned and in context with your claimed expertise.  

And thereby reaching the next level in content production for your inbound strategy. This is writing insightful articles, making podcasts, blogs, videos or features about research, legislative changes, new technology, industrial changes affecting any of the eight dimensions that constitute the perceived value of your product or services. 

In Norway which is a relatively small market, there will on average be passed between 200 and 300 legislative bills for each industry each year. The majority are minor changes but provides you with more than enough material for content production and your inbound marketing needs. We are not suggesting that you do the legislative bills alone, it is just to clarify how much material you and your organization are provided with on a day to day bases. 

“Step four is producing content that underlines your company’s expertise. Do some research, when your services or products are properly presented, you will know what you’re looking for and will soon find the necessary publications. Settle for a few outlets and start production. 

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