Back in the days when Madison Avenue reigned supreme, intrusive advertising was the way in which companies communicated with their existing and potential customers. These one way conversations were generally designed in one of two ways; as branding pieces that showed how a product could enhance the life of the person who bought the product or as overt attempts at making a sale. In this paradigm the company would develop a campaign, often through the use of focus groups, and then communicate the messaging through traditional media channels. After receiving the messaging via advertisements on TV, radio, or print, consumers either made purchases or they didn’t and, regardless of the decision, rarely provided feedback to the sponsoring company.
Today, intrusive one-way advertising through traditional channels is waning, as evidenced by ever skimpier daily newspapers and magazines, as well as a growing number of devices (ex. DVRs) and subscription services, such as premium TV channels, that allow consumers to either filter advertisements out or avoid them completely. In this changing landscape, when consumers seek information on product/services, they now head to the internet where they can use search engines to go from the beginning to the end of the buying cycle.
In this process, the value of intrusive advertising is greatly diminished, as consumers first seek content that serves as the foundation of their research and get progressively more specific with their inquiries as they move through the buying cycle. It is during this process in which an SEO campaign that has been created with materials designed to deliver informative content can start building trust with potential customers. This type of content can have four different purposes:
The provision of general information – This type of content may address the product category in total with description of what the products do, buying the right size, and how to make comparisons that may help with the final purchasing decision.
Assisting with comparisons in greater detail – This type of content would include information that describes an efficient way to compare energy consumption between similar refrigerators, for example.
“How to” information – Content pieces that provide instructions on how to operate the product can be done in written form, but are often more powerful when offered in a video format.
End of buying cycle information – This content answers questions about specific issues, such as detailed information on features and/or warranty coverage, which are commonly posed just before a purchase.
A consumer who views these content pieces will have a solid foundation of resources and knowledge on which to base a purchase. Additionally, by creating content that specific targets end of buying cycle issues, you can attract consumers who are just about to pull their credit cards out to make a purchase.