Today, buyers crave for information, more than ever. Whether they are corporate buyers or end buyers, they want to make informed decisions and acquire knowledge. That's why there is pressure for marketers in the nutraceutical industry to develop a concise, helpful content strategy for nutraceuticals, that educates, informs and directs prospects into making the right decision.
However, the majority of businesses do not have a solid plan on how content can serve their clients and also their own needs, so they simply publish anything that they think their customers want, or just for the sake of publish content "to rank higher in Google".
This is the reason why you see so much worthless content - unhelpful, short, bad written content that serves no one, other the person who wrote it to justify his salary.
This is what this post is all about: trying to change all this misconception about content marketing and content management, as far as the nutraceutical industry is concerned.
Writing content just for the sake of it serves no purpose. However, writing content that meets specific business objectives is another story.
I wrote this long post to clarify how a business in the nutraceutical industry can identify their content marketing strategy, and provide you with a guideline to help you see how content marketing can achieve more qualified leads and ultimately, sales.
To help you even further, I outline a three-step process to analyze your customer base, understand how they interact with your business, and then help you create content that suits your objectives.
So lets start with the obvious question:
What is a content strategy for nutraceuticals and how does it differ from any other?
A content strategy in general defines how content will be able to help your future customers become clients. Overall, your content strategy covers the development, publication, and distribution of relevant, helpful, valuable content that educates and makes your ideal customer smarter.
In reality, developing a content strategy for nutraceuticals doesn't differ from other content strategies, however the details and specifics may be different.
In addition, your content strategy also covers where that content will be published, what type of content would that be, a typical calendar that includes a steady stream of content along with key dates, and a plan to create relevant, unique pieces of content.
Does your nutraceutical business need a content strategy?
Considering investing in a content strategy for your nutraceutical business? Here are just a few reasons:
- Content marketing generates leads with lower cost. According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing with 62% less cost than traditional methods.
- Writing for the topics that your ideal client cares about, makes you an industry thought leader. According to IMPACT, a digital advertising agency in the States, the 70% of the companies that have a blog stated that it helped their company establish a position as a thoughts leader in their industry.
- Well written content improves your company's SEO. IMPACT again found that the average company with blogs generate 55% more website visitors.
- Marketing your well written content can help your nutraceutical business (whether you are a producer or a retailer) generate leads and increase revenue. HubSpot, a popular inbound marketing software company, reported that 57% of companies with a blog have acquired at least a customer from their blog.
- Writing helpful, educational content that visitors find useful means that you will be essential putting up an "advertising billboard" on the web to link to you for years to come.
A Simple, Five-Step Process To Generate A Content Strategy For Your Nutraceutical Business, & Ideas for Each Stage Of Your Customer's Journey
In this process I'll go through each stage and explain it in detail:
- Step 1: Creating User Personas
- Step 2: Creating Your Buyer’s Journey
- Step 3: Deciding & Defining Your Media Distribution Channels
- Step 4: Creating a Unified Content Marketing Strategy
- Step 5: Creating a Progression
STEP ONE: CREATING USER PERSONAS
Successful businesses know who their target buyer are. This means that the content that they create, their messaging, their ads and their targeting is addressed to a specific audience with specific demographic characteristics, needs & wants.
As with everything in marketing, you need to clearly understand who is your target buyer. This is achieved by creating personas, fictional characters with specific characteristics that model your ideal target buyer.
To elaborate: Personas represent a specific segment within your target market. Ideally, they should be as specific as possible–from their name to how they behave. Basically it is an exercise which will give you a powerful tool to better get a grasp of who you are talking to, and how you can help to solve their problem.
As a next step, ask the following or get them from your sales data:
- What is their current role? How does this role affects their decision making process as far as your business is concerned? How serious are they perceived from other members of their organisation?
- What type of goals do they have both personally and professionally? How their goals align with your business objectives?
- Do they worry about certain things, both professionally and personally? Do they have company targets to meet, an upcoming evaluation, or do they struggle in their family?
If you do not know how to start, here are a few resources to download or fill the information online (free and paid):
1. Hubspot's Make My Persona: An excellent, fun online tool to create a persona with amazing detail. Highly recommended.
2. Xtensio's Persona Generator: We can't recommend it enough. Amazing tool with lots of details.
3. UXPressia Online Persona Tool: A bit busy for our taste, but still, it is free for one user, and goes into amazing detail.
4. WebFX Automatic Marketing Persona Generator: A simple, quick and effective tool to create your ideal persona.
So, you created your persona, now what?
As someone said "now the fun begins"(If only this was true :-)
If you are a tactician, you are armed with valuable, although highly theoretic, information. And I say "theoretic", as you have created an impersonation of your ideal client.
It is what you do after that defines your client's real characteristics.
If you manufacture nutraceuticals, your ideal client range between a retailer, a wholesaler, or an agent.
If you sell nutraceuticals to end customers, your ideal customer may be specific segments like athletes, blood sugar patients, diabetes patients or people trying to lose weight.
Whatever your ideal client may be, the persona you just created has some demographics.
If you are a manufacturer, your possible ideal client may be women aged 45, living in large cities, working as sourcing managers or purchasing managers for distributors of private label nutraceuticals.
Or, if you are a retailers, they may be female and male aged between 25-50, with blood sugar problems, looking for solutions.
The next step might sound counter intuitive if your are selling B2B, however, bear with me, there is method behind it. Your task now, is to to take these demographics and upload them to your Facebook’s Audience Insights.
Why Facebook? Isn't that primarily a B2C channel?
But don't forget that you are NOT selling to corporations. You are selling to the PEOPLE that work within these corporations. And these people are on Facebook.
From there, Facebook will export additional characteristics and trends that your ideal customer has that you didn't know, so you can add them to your Persona Sheet.
STEP TWO: MAPPING YOUR NUTRACEUTICAL BUYER'S JOURNEY
When you have a grasp of whom you’re speaking to, you need to clearly visualize the path they take, from the first starting point - when they first heard of you - to the end point of purchase.
Let's stop here for a minute. The above schematic is not always your true buyer's journey. Yes, in general, customers first find you from somewhere (Awareness Stage), then they consider you as a potential supplier (Consideration Stage), and then they buy your products (Purchase Stage).
However, you and I both know that its not that straightforward. Today's buyer is making this path more complex, by visiting different stages from different points. They may see a blog post first that explains your manufacturing process, but a few weeks later they might land on your contact form, driven by a PPC ad (Pay Per Click).
What I will do is explain each of the steps so you can have a 3,000 foot view of a general, oversimplified customer journey, which you and your marketing and sales team can make as complex as they want.
Buyer's Journey Stage One: Awareness
Imaging you have a funnel. From the top of the funnel you see a prospect jumping in.
This is what we call the Awareness Stage of the buyer’s journey - a prospect sees your funnel (a blog post designed to attract him and provide information about their business and how your business can help them achieve their goals), so he just starts decending towards the end of the funnel.
But first, he has to drop in. This is where a prospect first becomes aware of your company and nutritional supplements. They may be looking to solve their supply, quality, service problem or not even know that they have a problem that you can solve.
At this stage, the awareness stage, you should be writing content that only addresses to the capacity of your ideal clients (i.e. retailers), content that makes your brand known to the customer, and also addresses a problem - for example, "The 10 quality controls that your manufacturer must have to avoid lawsuits"
Think it like meeting someone on a networking meeting. Or going on a first date. You first present yourself, show an interest of what they do, and then ask questions to find out if they are good to work with you or go our on a second date.
Let me tell you an example. When we launched Vitalis Nutraceuticals two years ago, we had no clue about how to market our supplements. Should we launch a website, stock products and advertise? And what happens if we do not sell? Will the manufacturer buy back? And will our label meet all requirements by law? And who can take a look at label claims?
So what happened was, that we were looking for advice on nutritional supplements, support from manufacturers general issues and also someone who could sell us minimal quantities or sell one by one (dropshipping).
Do you know how many manufacturers answered all these questions for us?
Almost every nutraceutical manufacturer we contacted started with "we are the leading blah blah blah" and asking us to place an order. No interest on what WE needed. No questions to see if they could help us.
Yes, we found a couple of nutraceutical manufacturing companies offering some generalised, short, bad written, worthless advice and we also found a few manufacturers who were willing to dropship for us. But we were complete alone on labeling, guidance, and nutritional values information on how to educate our customers.
So we embarked on a journey to help ourselves.
If you are a nutraceutical manufacturer, don't make this mistake.
Be a manufacturer that supports their buyers. Provide detailed information. Create detailed posts that can be shared, and explain how your process works, in plain English.
And please, please, please do not write "we are the leading nutraceutical manufacturer..."
Buyer's Journey Stage Two: Interest
As you may know, a buyer will never rush towards buying your vitamins and supplements just by landing to your website and filling out your inquiry form.
Buyers (especially if they are B2B) will take some time for them to learn more about your products, decide if your service is top-notch and ultimately decide if it’s what they’re looking for. Of course, a segment may never move past the awareness stage, and you've lost them forever.
However, when a prospect moves into the next stage of your funnel, the content that you write must be totally different from your introductory, brand awareness content. Your prospect is now aware of you, and needs more in-depth information.
In the networking meeting analogy, he is ready to talk over the phone to get to know you better, and possibly have your products under consideration.
This stage means that your website must be armed and ready to accept someone's email via a contact form, in exchange of downloading a white paper, an ebook, or accessing an online educational nutrition course. They may even share something on their social media.
Hooray! Someone expressed some level of interest! That's good.
When we started contacting manufacturers, we filled out some forms and then we were expecting access to price lists, production facts, quality fact sheets and more. Some did, but others emailed us tried book an appointment with us.
We weren't just ready.
Whether you sell B2B or B2C, you should only provide the prospect a more thorough, well researched and fully analysed topic relevant to what they need - not ask them for the sale.
At this point, now is the proper time to introduce other similar products or services, such as inspection, fulfillment, consignment, private label or anything else.
Buyer's Journey Stage Three: Decision
If you have done a good job up to know and your content is stellar, your web pages are working like a charm and your prospects downloaded your eBooks, or attended a pre-recorded webinar and so on, then its time to find our ways to "move" them from the interest stage to a decision.
A yes, or a no.
Decisions are never easy, especially if your business is asking for an initial monetary commitment in the thousands. Your prospect might need an extra push.
Your job as a marketer for your nutraceutical manufacturing business is to make this as simple and seamless as possible. Demonstrate why you are different and WHY your clients prefer you over the competition.
How do you do that?
Using social proof. Use how previous or current customers perceive your company. Testimonials is great way to do that, either online, or by sending a letter of recommendation.
Reviews of your products (if you sell B2C) always play a huge role in the buying decision, and case studies that prove a successful client-manufacturer relationship enhance the feeling of making the right decision.
STEP THREE: DECIDING & DEFINING ON YOUR MEDIA CHANNELS
It's not enough to create all this great content for your ideal customer, but you must also figure out where this content must be distributed and advertised, that maximise the chances of your customer to see it an perform the action you want them to perform.
It's certainly not easy, however we are lucky that other organisations have already done this work for us, and we just need to fine-tune and adjust from our (your) end.
Here is a indicative layout of what kind of content meets different needs and which channels are used at every stage:
As mentioned, this is just an indication. You can use far more if you have the resources, or far less.
Also, its not enough to just create all the above - you need to distribute them and make them known.
So lets assume that you create a free video that shows how retailers can work with you to expand their business.
You upload the video on YouTube and then you wait?
You take the link and:
1. You create a specific landing page on your website, asking people to register to see the video (doesn't matter if the video can be viewed for "free" directly on Youtube)
2. You send the URL of this page to your Facebook page
3. You post it on your company's Twitter account
4. You share it on your LinkedIn company page
5. You share it as an update on your personal LinkedIn profile
6. You send an email to all your prospect database
7. You advertise it on LinkedIn
8. You advertise it on Google Search
9. Need to say more?
You decide the channels, which fit best to your prospects - it may be way more that the above, or way less than the above.
STEP FOUR: CREATING A UNIFIED CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY
Not all prospects coming to you are coming at the same time, and not all of them are going through the same steps of your funnel.
As mentioned previously, your aim is to create content that can be found from different points of entrance and address different buyer needs.
Here is a simple content mapping according to different personas:
All you need to do is start a new Google Sheets or Excel document and add your personas, as well as the stages you want them to follow within your funnel(s). You will then brainstorm with your team different types of content ideas that meet the needs of each of your personas at each stage in their journey.
When you complete the entire sheet you will have a complete plan of what content you will write, to whom this would be addressed to and at what stage they will be when they receive that content.
STEP FIVE: CREATING A NATURAL PROGRESSION
Lets assume for a minute that your prospect sees a LinkedIn update on one of your employees personal profile.
This update had a two line commentary and then a link towards a blog post to your company's website.
Your prospect clicks the link, and then lands on your blog post. After reading the entire blog post, he sees a banner ad or a form field asking him to take the next step: continue the journey from the initial click to something more in-depth. I can be a newsletter, it can be another blog post related to the current one, or it can even be a free needs evaluation, a calculator, you name it - but the next step is there.
This is the natural progression, where your content marketing must lead the prospect step by step towards the different stages of the funnel, until purchase.
How Does Your Content Marketing Strategy Stacks Up?
Now that you have a complete, step by step guide to creating a content marketing strategy for your nutraceutical business, things are going to be easier, as long as you follow the steps.