Content Marketing Works – Even with Furnace Filters

Lowes Planning Book

A few months ago I wrote about the importance of blogging and content marketing for e-commerce stores of all sizes. Good quality content can bring in thousands of visitors to your site which can turn into tens of thousands of dollars of revenue. To me it's a no brainer to make sure your e-commerce platform can create good quality of content. And that's where one of the joys of blogging comes in.

A thoughtful fellow left a comment about the ineffectiveness of content marketing in some industries and I was so impressed that I didn't want to leave just another comment in response. I wanted to continue this discussion and create a brand new post.

Content Marketing for Different Industries

I agree and disagree here. Content marketing can work but you gotta tailor your expectations based on your client and its products/services. In my experience, unless you sell really unique products or services and can carve out a niche for yourself, it’s going to be tough road for a mom and pop to compete in search traffic alone.

Definitely. Each industry will perform differently. Unique products and services do make it pretty easy to do content marketing because you can talk about your unique features that literally no one else has. That's pretty easy. But keep in mind that content marketing isn't just talking about your selling points. It's writing any type of quality content that people need.

For example: Joe Bob sells furnace filters. Know what the top 10 results in google for those are? Take a wild guess: it’s dominated by the big players like Amazon, Lowes, Home Depot, etc. Matt Cutts would love to have you believe google’s algo is fantastic and with diligence and a bunch of time, you’ll be eating a piece of Amazon’s lunch.

If you try to take on Amazon, Lowes, or Home Depot head on you're going to lose. Period. What you need to do is write helpful content that isn't already covered. Those big hardware stores have plenty of product data, tons of products, a recognizable brand, and a high page rank. What they don't have is any content around their products. I have no idea what furnace filters are and I have a million questions as do all of Job Bob's potential customers.

  • What is a furnace filter? How is it different from other filters?
  • What does a furnace filter do? Why do I need one?
  • How do I select a furnace filter? Can you give me a rule of thumb that works for 80% of people?
  • How do I install a furnace filter?
  • Can you install a furnace filter for me?
  • Furnace filters are in a warm place – can they start on fire??
  • How long do furnace filters last? When will I know to get a new one?
  • Can I recycle furnace filters?
  • Can I make a furnace filter from scratch?
  • How effective is a furnace filter compared to other air purifying gadgets?
  • Do you have any case studies about people who have changed furnace filters?

The big hardware stores have some of this information but it isn't easy to find.

Even if you wrote the best articles, hits don’t exactly translate into sales. Especially with high end expensive products, the sales process is going to be a lot longer. And shareability is key of course—people don’t give a crap about filters and they’re not likely to share your content or link to it either. But useful articles about woocommerce? Easily shareable—huge difference.

Hits don't translate into sales. Once you have someone on your site you have the opportunity to engage with them, tell them your story, tell them about your product, and maybe even sell them. Content marketing can get thousands of people to your site. This past month I had 12,000 visitors to my site all of which was driven by unique content. I put very little effort into selling but some people do click through to my premium plugins and I make a little money.

I think Jayne Cobb says it best:

Ten percent of nothing is—let me do the math here. Nothing into nothin'. Carry the nothin'…

Moving on…

Especially with niche products, you’re better of finding already established blogs and see if you can write for them or have someone write up a piece on your company or your product.

Definitely. That's a huge help and I think it's the best way to get noticed. But why build your entire marketing strategy on someone else's platform? Why not build your own platform? If content marketing works for you then you can keep it up, increase the amount of content you products, and if it's not amazing maybe you can cut back and have the bare minimum amount of content.

So yeh, clients have a reason to be skeptical about web firms trying to write one article a week for $25/pop or whatever. But they should also be skeptical about agencies trying to put all their eggs in one basket—like spending a ton of money on print or expensive sponsorships—but sometimes you gotta spend money to get the word out.

Whoa whoa whoa – what do you mean write an article for $25? Did you mean $250? It takes me at least an hour and usually much longer to write a post for my site. Writing for someone else would take even more work.

Even if you charged $250 once a month for a pretty good length piece of content that's going to be worth it in the long term. Every month I have hundreds people visit my site for articles that I wrote two years ago. When you talk about ROI a marketing campaign will only last a few months after the promotion ends. Content lasts much longer.

Great topic—marketing is rough, especially when starting a business!

It's definitely tough. And getting started is the hardest part. Too many opportunities to make money and you need to focus only on the very best.

Glad to Chat

Always happy to chat with my peeps and I love the discussion. It helps me grow so leave a comment if you have some thoughts. 🙂

Happy content marketing!

Photo credit: Giphy

2 thoughts on “Content Marketing Works – Even with Furnace Filters

  1. In web environment, a site is worthful only if it has meaningful content and user wants to access it. This is what a content marketing is, and it is really important and effective tool to get best out of the web.

  2. Patrick,

    Thanks for taking on my comment. Nice to get a discussion going!

    There’s no wrong answers here but the issue I have with content marketing is NOT that content marketing doesn’t work but you need to be realistic about your expectations and more importantly define what success means.

    Usually when I talk to business owners, success means they want to sell more of whatever they got and put their face out there. Hits are meaningless unless they translate into sales. Selling a product like a filter with content marketing is much harder to do because people aren’t actively looking for that kind of stuff. And when they are, they might already have the product and need a hand installing it. Even if they find your content useful, they might end up making a purchase elsewhere for whatever reason.

    If you try to take on Amazon, Lowes, or Home Depot head on you’re going to lose. Period.

    Yes. So why even start an e-commerce store in that space to begin with? That’s probably the bigger question.

    What you need to do is write helpful content that isn’t already covered. Those big hardware stores have plenty of product data, tons of products, a recognizable brand, and a high page rank. What they don’t have is any content around their products. I have no idea what furnace filters are and I have a million questions as do all of Job Bob’s potential customers.

    The problem is, I think you’re assuming the average customer cares about that content. I think that’s where we disagree. You have a great list of questions there but is it going to be enough to drive sales to even do a campaign? Investing in a customer is great when you have a high priced ticket item or a service with residual income. A one-off purchase every year is a tougher sell.

    TBH I think the discontent happens because it’s easy for us web/marketing people to get excited about this kind of stuff and drive visitors using our own content because that’s the business we’re in. But in reality, it doesn’t really help our clients at all.

    Again, I’m not against “content marketing” at all. However, what really jerks my chain is everybody in marketing/SEO is jumping on the bandwagon with tips and tricks but most of those so-called experts have zero experience in the trenches.

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