The numbers are staggering. More than 80 percent of people conduct research online before making big purchases, and that's a statistic from 2014.
What do you think the percentage is now? Does this fact impact how you plan to educate your foodservice buyers in the next year or so? Are you open to 21st-century content ideas to help with the process?
If you are, I urge you to read on. You're about to get a crash course on content and how to use it to educate your buyers.
The Three Basic Tenants of Content Creation
There are three simple truths when it comes to content creation no matter what the industry. In foodservice, though, there's an even greater opportunity because there's traditionally been a lack of content creators. That means it's still possible to get a head start on finding the content gaps in Google or Bing.
That being said, the door is quickly closing. For foodservice marketing and sales executives looking to make an impact with content, there needs to be a sense of urgency. There also needs to be a strategy for how to attract new buyers, educate potential ones, and encourage existing customers to repeat their purchases.
We suggest starting with these three critical points:
1) Your buyers are conducting research as they consider solutions to their problems. You should be the one creating the content they're reading when they research.
This seems like a no-brainer, but I'm shocked at how many foodservice companies just don't see the value in creating content. To me, it's a simple formula.
People are reading content to educate themselves. That content is coming from somewhere. If you want to have influence, that content has to come from you.
It's as simple as that.
2) Content needs to be accessible 24/7.
If a chef or hotel purchasing director or facilities manager is conducting research, and you have content you spent time and money creating, you need to get it into their hands. Nobody has access to the dusty shelves in your marketing storage room at noon on a Saturday to read those expensive brochures you printed.
Even more relevant, think about your buyer personas and how they engage with you. Do you sell equipment or beverage solutions to bartenders? You better prepare your content so it's accessible when bartenders like to read it. Send bartenders emails at three A.M. versus seven in the morning. Know your buyers.
Essentially, what this means is you have to invest in digital content. Websites don't close down at five. Emails and social media posts can be scheduled for any time of the day. But your office won't always be open. You won't always answer your phone. And you certainly want to make sure your buyers know you understand them by giving them access to educational materials when they want to read it.
Plus, who doesn't like getting sales leads on New Year's Day? Trust me. It happens.
3) Content needs to be remarkable.
The final tenant of content creation is it needs to be remarkable. It needs to be memorable, something to be shared, referenced, cited, and recalled at a later date. Something to be laughed at. Something to enjoy! Life's too short to sit through shitty content.
The next step is to know there are different types of content that have different levels of impact. For example, for every person reading this sentence, there were statistically more than three who just skimmed the headlines and the three main bullet points. It's a fact.
What this means to you is you have to consider different types of content for different applications, for different types of readers or watchers. A piece that demonstrates a gluten free flour recipe is likely better suited for video. A piece that shows equipment and a schematic on fast casual throughput might be better viewed with mixed media like a microsite or an experience.
The bottom line is your content has to be good. It has to tell a story. It has to be memorable in ways that other content is not. It has to be FUN.
Want to see what I'm talking about?
Check out a new piece of our own content called the Inbound Marketing Experience. It's built on a new software platform we're about to roll out to our clients, who are all committed to using content as a way to attract new customers, educate potential ones, and encourage existing ones to repeat their buying habits.
In this experience, we roll out what we call The Pretzel Effect of marketing and sales in the foodservice industry. Discover what this proprietary method means, and see how it can help impact your marketing efforts to grow sales.