It’s well known that I like my analogies (here’s one comparing content marketing to a bicycle wheel) and I have used the fishing one before over on the iContact blog. But it’s too good to just use once (good content marketing ideas have longevity), so please indulge me just one more time.

The art of marketing (both products and services) is very much like fishing. There is, of course, a degree of luck involved. However, the very best marketers maximize their luck by understanding the waters they are fishing in, the bait their target customers go for and the techniques required to land new customers.

Content is the Bait

Just like a good fisherman will encourage the fish to feed by scattering bait into the area they are fishing, marketers can create interest in their product of service by liberally distributing content. This content should be easily digested, not overly salesy and encourage further consumption. Every piece of content you distribute should have a call to action. Encouraging social media engagement is one way to connect with your audience. But getting them to subscribe to your email marketing lists will prove much more lucrative in the long run.

Email is the Hook

Email is a great way to keep your prospects circling and provides a great content distribution tool. But it also packs a punch as a sales tool. Email provides a more formal environment than social media and therefore provides the ideal environment to actually sell to your prospects and customers. The call to action in an email marketing campaign can be very obvious. Make sure the hook is well and truly in your customers mouth by prompting them to “Buy Now”, “Register” and “Learn More”.

Your Website is the Landing Net

It doesn’t matter how creative and efficient you marketing campaigns are, if your website is not optimized for conversion, you will not land many new customers. Try and keep you landing pages nice and clean. This will help you guide your prospects into the landing net and complete the sale. But be warned – clunky design, complicated checkouts and unexpected costs are likely to put a hole in your net and let your customers swim free.

Join John W. Hayes at Becoming THE Expert: The Content Marketing Boot Camp in January/February 2013:

Or register for his free webinar: An Introduction to Content Marketing on January 23 at 10am (GMT).

photo credit: halseike