No matter how much time and effort we put into our marketing as small businesses, we have to acknowledge that people are not following brands because they love branded content. With the exception of a very few marketing nerds (our team included), people don’t search out and admire the best ads in the business.
When people interact with a brand’s content, it’s because they are looking for a solution to a problem. They’re trying to achieve a goal of their own at that exact moment.
Whether they’re looking for an escape from boredom, an answer to a question, or for a service to help them fix something–they are the hero of their own story. This is the context of their experience. And as a company, it’s your job to provide content, products, and services that serve that context.
Context marketing is about understanding the needs of your audience and crafting experiences that allow you to meet them in that specific moment when they need your company. This builds trust with your audience and helps push potential clients through the sales funnel until they come out the other end as loyal customers.
In this article, we will discuss the importance of context marketing as well as several effective context marketing strategies to help your brand get started.
What Is Context Marketing & Why Is It Important?
Traditional marketing focuses on broadcasting a message to catch as many eyes as possible and hopefully push a few to choose your business when the need arises. Billboards and radio ads are a perfect example–they interrupt your everyday life to say, “Hey! Just in case you need this, we want you to know we have it!”
In direct contrast, context marketing is designed to deliver digital content to customers at very specific points in their customer journey. Blog posts, emails, text messages, and digital ads are all localized and personalized to guide potential customers through the pipeline and give them exactly what they’re looking for at that moment.
When it comes to context marketing, timing and specificity are key. It’s all about making sure you deliver the right message to the right person–at exactly the right time.
This means that you have to know your target audience inside out. But the rewards you’ll reap far outweigh the effort you have to put in because people love context marketing.
Instead of being disruptive, it feels organic and personalized. Because it’s often triggered by your previous consumer behavior, it’s actually helpful in guiding you to the next steps along your customer journey. This builds trust in your brand and leads to positive interactions and longer-lasting relationships.
Still not sure what the difference is? Think of it like this:
Content marketing is the content and messaging you are giving to your consumer. Blogs, social posts, infographics, videos–it’s all content. Context means the circumstances and timing of your delivery of that content.
Let’s say you make a Christmas video thanking customers for choosing your business. That’s the content–technically you can make it any time, and it will always exist and be helpful. But you have to pay attention to the context to get the most out of this video. If you send it out to customers in an email in July, for instance, the context will likely be lost. The response is likely to be confusion and maybe some amusement (although not the good kind).
But if you send that same video in December, now the context makes sense! People may be moved and answer with social interactions, reviews, etc. You’re building your brand and deepening customer relationships by appropriately applying context to your marketing strategies.
Context marketing can help you achieve:
- Better conversions because your messages/perceived value is more impactful
- Higher retention rates because you’ve established that trust factor
- Greater revenue because you’re generating more repeat customers
But how do you get started making your marketing efforts more contextual? Read on for more actionable context marketing strategies for your small business.
Context Marketing Strategy Tips for Small Businesses
1. Create Customer Personas
The first step in being able to meet your customers where they’re at is knowing who your customer is. If you don’t have a deep understanding of your customers, you’re not going to be able to craft a compelling storyline for your contextual marketing.
Try creating customer personas to identify who you’re trying to reach and what the typical customer journey looks like. Once you have this laid out, you can craft content and messaging designed to reach them at critical points within the customer journey.
Answer these questions to help you get started:
- How old are they?
- Where are they located?
- What social media platforms do they use?
- What kind of content do they consume?
- What are their social and political beliefs?
- Do they have children?
- What type of jobs do they hold?
- Are they in a specific socio-economic category?
- What activities do they enjoy?
And this is just to get started. The more specific you are, the easier it will be to narrow down your focus and create your hyper-specific content.
Next, try mapping out the typical customer journey. This will vary depending on your specific industry and the personas you laid out.
For instance, if your main audience is older men who work in the financial industry, you may want to ensure that your CTAs are direct and to the point and that you’re delivering informational, statistically relevant information in a timely manner.
Whereas if your typical customer is a mother of three and a working woman, you may need to offer extra reminders and check-in emails, make “Call Now” buttons prominent and easy to access, and send emails around lunch or after meal and bedtime to ensure they’re top of inbox when she actually has time to see it.
Being thoughtful in these small ways makes it more convenient and pleasant for your customers to interact with you, which makes them want to work with you again.
2. Review Your CTAs
Calls to Action, or CTAs, are just what they sound like–call-outs that invite your customers to take the next step. “Read More,” “Call Now,” or “Get a Free Estimate” are all excellent CTAs. But you have to make sure they’re reaching your audience at the right time.
For instance, if there’s someone brand new to your site, they’re likely still in the research phase. They’re much more likely to take a low-stakes action like downloading an ebook or reading a blog than they are to schedule an appointment or make a purchase.
But if they’ve already done their research, visited the site multiple times, or placed items in their cart, then they’re further along in the sales funnel. You want these customers to see CTAs like “Schedule Now”, “Buy Now”, or “Contact Us.”
You can push the right CTAs to the right customers by setting up triggers for drip email campaigns or text campaigns. With the right software, you can even set up smart CTAs that track consumer behavior and make sure they see the right message at the right time.
3. Send Personalized Email Series
Another great way to contextualize your marketing is to send personalized email campaigns that address people’s specific needs. For instance, if someone downloads a whitepaper on the most efficient HVAC systems, you can reasonably assume that they are in the market for a new HVAC system sometime soon.
Gather email addresses from the people who download this ebook and create a custom chain of emails that helps usher them through the process of buying a new HVAC system. Offer frequently asked questions, reviews of specific models, and, eventually, discounts or special offers on certain systems.
You can do this for all sorts of information on your site, and you can set up triggers for any action taken on your site as well. Use the information you have to make each interaction as useful and personalized as possible.
4. Write and Publish Content for Every Stage of the Customer Journey
Make sure that your site has content geared towards every stage of the customer journey. Don’t just push the sale. Instead, offer FAQs and introductory blogs for those in the awareness stage. Create infographics and in-depth ebooks for those in the consideration stage. And send out discounts, updates, reminders, and special offers for those in the buyer intent stage of their journey.
When you cover every area of the pipeline, it ensures that your customers can find the content they need, no matter where they are in the buying process.
5. Maintain an Active Online Presence
Recent studies have found that the average person spends seven hours a day online. That’s the majority of your waking hours. If your customers are spending all their time online, then that’s where you should be trying to connect with them.
Post to social, update your site, and keep your Google Business Profile current… whatever you’re working on, make it easy for people to find and engage with you. The more they interact, the more likely they are to convert. And the more they interact and you continue that conversation, the better you’ll get to know your customers which leads to even better context marketing.
It’s a perfect symbiotic cycle!
Schedule a Demo with Surefire Local and Grow Your Business
Put these context marketing strategies to work for your own business with the Surefire Local Marketing Platform. Get the customer insights and digital marketing tools you need to carry out a successful and effective context marketing strategy.
An all-in-one digital marketing platform that allows you to create, monitor, and manage every aspect of your online presence, Surefire Local has the tools you need to succeed. Contact us to schedule a free demo today!