Engage your customers before they even know they need you
All the online marketers, content marketers and SEO's out there seem to be all squashed into the same pen - pushing the same shit, competing for the same audience and roughly achieving the same results. It's hard and expensive to manage a successful online campaign in a competitive market and it really does take time to develop a sustainable AND profitable CPA. In all forms of marketing whether it be print, radio, media - successful campaigns are those that have Identified a bigger audience with less competition. If we stay on that point and look at how this relates directly to Online marketing, if you have a campaign sitting in the pen with huge impression volumes and little to no placement competition - it is much, much easier to get exposure right - but much much harder to achieve conversion.
Some people reading this are probably thinking - WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY HERE? I'm going to spell it out: Engage your customers first before they even know they need you.
The Buying Cycle
Marketing theory suggests that the buying cycle, when it comes to generating a sale in any form of retail, starts with growing Interest, then awareness followed by research, establishing a criteria, evaluating competition and then finally conversion. It's viewed as a funnel with the growing interest being the larger audience part and the bottom smaller part being conversion. Most online marketers solely focus on the mid section and literally tear each other apart trying snatch conversion at the 'evaluate competition' phase of the cycle.
In order to almost skip over this piranha filled water in the middle of the funnel I suggest you try and engage them initially with your presence at the growing interest stage and then the competitive mid section of the buying cycle becomes far more effective and profitable for your overall marketing campaigns.
Lets use a practical example to demonstrate what I am talking about here: You sell taps online. You're looking to target the top of the funnel where there is a bigger audience and less competition who are simply looking for engaging content - You start by creating a content marketing campaign focused on maybe the awareness and growth in DIY renovations & restoration and just how simply changing your taps can provide an effective face lift to a room. From there you continue to compete at the same level as the rest of your competitors on 'comparison level' knowing that you have the ace in your pocket that you engaged that customer first, and as I mentioned previously, you may even skip over the comparison phase making it a gold carrot conversion!
Social & Press releases are the perfect mediums for this type of marketing, it's where people spend most of their time 'not knowing when they'll need you; so provoke them with engaging content. If you are going to try this please please please don't write shit content that tries to push a sale onto the customer - you're doing it wrong; THIS IS THE AWARENESS PHASE, rush the funnel and you'll lose the sale. simple. Bigger audience less competition - capitalise on it.