By Jeff Fagel published March 24, 2015

3 Ways to Create Action-Oriented Content Marketing [Examples]

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I’m on a quest to get content marketing married. Call me crazy, but hear me out.

Content marketing can work by itself, but it’s most powerful when partnered with other techniques. The impact of B2C content marketing, in particular, will grow significantly when it’s used in conjunction with transactional marketing efforts.

Here are three ways to better connect your action-oriented marketing to your content initiatives to create a more personal and relevant buying experience for your target audiences.

1. Connect programmatic buying with programmatic content

Do you automate the purchase of your online advertising (programmatic buying) across publishing outlets?

As marketers, we view programmatic buying as a smart move – it’s efficient, and buying inventory in bulk means lower pricing. The complex ad-distribution platforms do the heavy lifting, but too many of us think our involvement ends when we buy programmatic. We are boring our audiences with traditional “buy-me” ads. Moving content to the forefront will separate your B2C brand from the mediocrity that consumes programmatic buying.

Example: Lowe’s

Lowe’s appreciates the value of tying together programmatic buying with programmatic content. In this example, a finalist for Best In-Stream Video 2015 Digiday Video Awards, Lowe’s customizes its digital ad based on locale, channel, and device to drive in-store sales. (G/O Digital partnered with Lowe’s & Eyeview on this campaign.)

In all versions of the video, music plays as a cartoon bird waters seeds that grow into flowers that spell “spring,” before the voice-over delivers the closing lines about how spring is calling and your local Lowe’s store is ready for you. The end of the video is tailored to the viewer’s locale – showing different products, as well as the closest store’s address and map.

Why it works: The real win for Lowe’s is the ability to easily tailor its ads with content relevant to its local stores and products. For example, viewers in Phoenix are more likely to have the outdoor space for a grill and to want to take advantage of the nice spring weather, while viewers in Brooklyn are less likely to have outdoor space and good weather in the spring, so they may be in the market for an indoor stove instead.

Marrying scale, efficiency, and targeting of programmatic buying with a more relevant message (content) – in this case targeting specific products to consumers based on locale vs. sharing one generic message – makes the ads a lot more effective.

2. Invite product content to the content marketing party

Product-specific content – from what’s on sale to in-store inventory – is too often forgotten or ignored in the content marketing strategy. If you ensure your content marketing connects with products being sold, you’ll be able to get bigger wins.

Example: Lowe’s

In the first example, Lowe’s brought its products into its content about the approach of spring. In this example, Lowe’s adds more layers or cues of content connected to products to encourage more engagement to drive a profitable action. It stacks its “content marriage” – product (transaction marketing), how-to video links (content marketing), and store locator (transaction marketing).

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Why it works: Lowe’s targets people who want to improve their homes. It sells hardwood so people can lay the floors themselves. Rather than just trying to sell based on product descriptions, Lowe’s opts to enhance the buying experience by posting links to its own videos to show customers how to install the materials they might buy.

Example: Walmart

Walmart puts together its transactional and content marketing to accompany an independently authored guide to summer. Walmart shows summer-related purchases – from bathing suits and backyard pools to lawn furniture and outdoor grills. It offers viewers the opportunity to create their own shopping lists with the “My List” feature. Then, Walmart connects the products to helpful content. “Grilling Tips Brought to You by Kitchen Daily” offers how-to videos for healthy grilling techniques.

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Why it works: Walmart offers content that viewers can use even if they don’t buy the products – that content marketing initiative expands Walmart’s profile as a source for quality content at the same time it enhances the direct-buying experience.

3. Connect social and content to drive sales

Social media ranks as the No. 1 content tactic for B2C marketers, with Facebook being the top channel. For B2C marketers, closing the loop from social is an important goal. Facebook’s launch of multi-product ads signals a step to help make that happen.

Example: Shutterfly

Internet-based image publishing service Shutterfly is an ideal B2C brand to benefit from Facebook’s new offering that allows retailers to showcase up to three dynamic products in a single ad unit. Shutterfly can tailor who sees its ads based on activities, interests, etc.

Note: This approach is limited as it’s initially focused on e-commerce and doesn’t enable the inclusion of varying price points, the impact of inventory levels, etc.

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Why it works: Facebook product-ad offerings promote online-related transactional marketing through personalized content marketing to drive audience relevancy and ultimately sales. The challenge is to craft messaging that resonates across those attributes.

Conclusion

When B2C content marketers look beyond their silos, they can discover why they should hook up with actionable marketers – further leveraging their content to improve their brand’s transactional marketing. Working with automated systems to send tailored messages, enhancing advertising platforms with helpful content, and targeting audiences for transactions through social media allow content marketers to expand their toolboxes and ultimately their impact on the brand.

Want to get the latest insights to improve your B2C content marketing? Connect today with the Content Marketing Institute and sign up for daily and/or weekly highlights of the CMI blog and exclusive content from CMI Founder Joe Pulizzi.

Cover image by Matt Hobbs, Public Domain Archive, via pixabay.com

Author: Jeff Fagel

Jeff Fagel is CMO at G/O Digital where he leads brand, product and content marketing strategy. He has held multiple marketing leadership roles at PepsiCo and Sears, along with extensive B2B and B2C startup experience. One of his favorite content experiences was leading the first brand-produced Spanish-language series on YouTube. You can connect with him through Twitter @jf1216 and LinkedIn.

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