Tag Archives: Steptap

The Secret To Creating Great How-To Content

the-secret-to-great-how-tos

If you are reading this article you probably already know that you need well-formatted how-to content for your product or service.

Useful product instructions create positive customer experiences – and nothing frustrates a customer as quickly as ineffective instructions that are hard to use, inaccessible, or out-of-date. Happy customers who know exactly how to use your products buy from you again, tell their friends how awesome you are, and are less likely to return a product because they couldn’t figure how to make it work.

Before you continue with the rest of this article, go here: https://steptap.com/How-To-Change-Your-Oil. When the page loads, click the big yellow button that says BEGIN.

First, you will see a list of things you will need to complete the task. Below the required items is a set of instructions that explains how to change your oil. You can click through each step, stop, or go back to a previous step.

Next, go to https://steptap.com/. Open a free account – it will only take a minute. Now you can create your own set of how-to instructions just like the one you just looked at. When you have entered a username and password, you are ready to rock.

Click CREATE in the upper right hand corner. A template will open. This is your tool for making product tutorials that your customers will love. We call each set of instructions a steplist, but you can think of it as an easy-to-create-and-manage how-to for your business content marketing.

For the purposes of this article, start creating a short how-to by populating the fields. The first field is the title. The next few fields help Google index the page.

Go ahead, create a steplist for a simple three-step process so you can see how Steptap works. Maybe “How To Toast A Bagel,” or “How To Make A Cup Of Coffee.”

At Steptap, we have created a powerful platform for writing effective product and process how-tos. Each how-to instruction is a Google-indexed searchable page that links directly to your website (or anywhere you want). If you use the nifty timing feature, customers can play the steplist on their smart phone or iPad and set up your product hands-free. The steps, complete with pictures, diagrams or video, will advance automatically as your customer completes each step in the process.

Now, let’s talk about the Steptap features that are less apparent but equally impressive. Have you finished your short steplist? Press PUBLISH on the bottom of the template when it’s complete (don’t worry, you can edit it after it’s published). A page will open with one-click sharing and embed tools.

Steptap how-tos can be posted to your online store, embedded in your blog, featured on your company Facebook page, shared on Pinterest, added to your YouTube channel, or downloaded from a self-generated QR code.

Steptap product instructions help your customers buy, use, assemble, install, or enjoy your products. These self-serve product instructions appeal to busy customers who want to quickly figure out how to do it. They don’t want to search the index of a user’s manual or watch a rambling, amateur YouTube video. They contain natural search phrases: “how to install a pop-up sprinkler head” or “how to set up a wireless router” to attract prospects who are searching for something specific.

If you upgrade your Steptap account, you can add your company’s branding so your product instructions blend seamlessly with your marketing. Branding includes the ability to upload your logo for the top of each tutorial and gives you complete control over the colors and background image.

Upgrading your Steptap account to private branding also allows you to add your own backlinks from the top of the page as well as embedded links in the Required Items section for direct purchase. You will also see the inclusion of a lead capture page at the end of each of your steplists encouraging readers to contact you for more information about your product or service.

Visit http://blog.steptap.com/ to learn more about keeping customers happy with relevant how-to content.

Using Steptap To Establish Your Company As An Authority

how-to-content-marketing

A key strategic objective for almost every marketer is to establish their company as an authority within its respective community.

To accomplish this, you may want to:

  • Grab the Attention of New Customers with content that helps them solve a problem when they are searching;
  • Satisfy Existing Customers with information on how to use the products they have already purchased;
  • Engage Your Community with content that improves their experience with your product.

In each of these cases, the most effective method is to provide how-to content that is optimized for online discovery and real-world useability.

Here’s how:

Grab The Attention Of New Customers

Enable users who are searching for solutions to discover your company through how-to content that addresses their need, delivers a solution, and leads them to your store for answers.

Your product solves a problem, and people are searching the Internet to find a solution. Make sure your answers are written and posted in a format that appeals to search engines and makes solving the problem as simple as it can be.

New customers will find you when you have the answers, even when they don’t know who you are.

You’ll also want to make sure your content is ready for social sharing to reach friends of friends who share similar needs and want to solve similar problems. Empower users to find and easily share answers to common questions with how-to content that is easy to understand and easy to share.

Satisfy Existing Customers

Your lowest hanging fruit is your existing customer base. Research indicates that you have about 20 minutes to get your customer through the setup process before they return your product, or report a miserable experience.

Help existing customers maintain your products with easily-shared step-by-step instructions that walk them through basic usage, maintenance or update processes.

This will help alleviate burden on support staff and provide another branded touch point to existing customers. It also provides a method for customers to share info with friends and family to help generate referral traffic.

Include links to instructions in emails and newsletters to proactively help customers maintain or update their systems.

Improve customer support with step-by-step instructions that can be shared to customers and used as a visual reference to help them walk through steps during over-the-phone support. Visual graphics can be included (images or video) to help explain or illustrate instructions to the customer.

Share instructions to customers before, during or after support calls to ensure that they have instructions that make the task easier to understand and complete.

Remember that during customer support incidents you have two big areas to succeed; creating a satisfied customer, and saving time spent on the phone. Online instructions can help solve both of these critical concerns.

Engage With Your Community

Provide secondary support information in the form of how-tos to help customers enjoy your products.

Customer support isn’t always about how to setup, implement or use your product, specifically. Sometimes customers are looking for ways to use your product.

For instance, if you sell Skis, you might create content that helps your customer learn how to make the perfect curve, or how to properly plant their poles when navigating moguls.

If you provide computer support for home-based clients, you might create content that helps them manage their computer when there isn’t a problem, for instance how to change their desktop image or how to switch applications.

The Steptap Pitch

We are Steptap, and we think we have the best way for you to accomplish the task of establishing your business as the authority in your respective space. Our platform as a service solution offers a variety of ways for you to take advantage.

  • You can start for free right now, and create your own how-to content on our platform; ready to share and manage.
  • You can upgrade to our premium account for just a few bucks and dress your how-to content in your own custom branding. This will connect your customers to your visual brand, and enables you to embed links directly from your how-to content to your online store or locator pages.
  • You can hire Steptap as your how-to content marketing partner; we’ll contract with you to create engaging how-to content that connects with new customers who don’t even know they are searching for your solutions, and that satisfies your customers with simple, straightforward how-to content that will improve the way they think about your products.

Visit us right now at Steptap.com

8 Content Marketing Objectives That Increase Sales

8 content marketing objectives that increase salesContent Marketing and Sales

Content Marketing, like any business effort, must support sales. If it doesn’t, you are wasting valuable time and steering customers in a direction that will ultimately lead away from your core business.

Well-crafted content marketing should support sales either directly, indirectly, or by offering information that substantiates a purchase. Content marketing can increase sales by improving the customer experience and building customer trust, loyalty and social validation.

As you measure your content marketing initiatives, match them against these eight objectives from a sales perspective to determine their value to your company’s bottom line:

Build Awareness

Content marketing with awareness objectives.The earliest stage of any sales process is “awareness”, and it is the initial goal of marketing to generate awareness among customers who have yet to hear about your products. To generate awareness, your marketing content needs to appeal to the widest possible group of consumers with a general message that connects to your product with emotion.

My favorite example here is the car commercial: auto manufacturers know that they only have 30 seconds to connect, and the best way is with emotion; few details and lots of value proposition. Auto makers will invariably feature a flashy red car doing rooster-tails in an interesting landscape to hard-pounding music. The more they can get you thinking “Wow; I gotta have one of those!,” the more they know you will remember their name when it comes time to kick some tires. Content aimed at creating Awareness doesn’t need to focus on features or detail.

Generating awareness is most often considered “push” marketing, because you are delivering a message that consumers haven’t necessarily asked for. However, don’t discount the opportunity to use “pull” marketing to generate awareness…

You can generate awareness effectively by providing answers to general consumer questions and inquiry. This new content marketing tactic allows you to get in front of customers who are trying to solve a problem, but who don’t know that your product provides the solution. This method is emerging as a primary content marketing strategy for forward-thinking companies who see opportunity in a market where 87 percent of consumers are turning to the Internet to solve a problem, or research products, before they buy.

Customers can’t purchase your products unless they are aware of them, so content marketing for awareness is a critical component of your content marketing plan.

Inform

Informative content marketing for sales.Information content is your chance to get technical with your prospects. There are two places where content marketing designed to inform prospects will help increase your sales. The first is when a prospect has a problem and wants to know how to solve it. The second is when a prospect knows parts of a solution; but may not know the whole solution.

When customers have a problem to solve, they are compelled to learn more about it. 55 percent of customers report that they spend more time researching products than they did in the past, primarily because the Internet provides a convenient opportunity to look around. Customers want to make informed decisions, and marketing with informative content is your chance to share details and expand their understanding of the problem. It’s a great opportunity to provide detail to a prospect, build credibility for your solution and establish yourself as an authority.

Informative content is also a good opportunity to break your solution into finer components to capture web search traffic. Customers with a problem will most often use keywords containing “How to,” and “How do I.”  They know what their problem is but may not know the entire solution. For example, customers who purchase a Scentsy wax warmer may only be searching for “how to make a room smell nice,” or  “how do make my room smell good without using a scented candle,” but ultimately purchase a ceramic lamp and a supply of scented waxes as the solution to their problem.

In either case, informing your customers will reinforce your leadership in your market and establish you as a respected source for the solution. 70 percent of consumers prefer getting to know a company via articles rather than ads.

Compare

Comparative content marketing.Customers with a complex problem to solve will compare two or more solutions before they purchase. Owning this critical phase of the purchase cycle requires that you market with content that shows feature-based comparisons that favor your product. The more robust you can make the comparisons that you publish, the more likely you are to win over a customer, even if there are areas where your competitor outperforms you.

Customers are not always looking for a complete win, and will often favor a specific set of features. I recently purchased a specialized hub and compared the two leading contenders. The only difference was a trade off between an HDMI port on one, and a Firewire port on the other. My decision was solely based on my unique requirements where all else was equal; it came down to one specific feature.

When offering comparative content, be careful to represent your competitors honestly, and include explanations that highlight the features you feel make your product particularly outstanding. 78 percent of customers who search on the Web believe the publishers of informative  content are interested in building good relationships, and good relationships convert to sales.

Educate

Content marketing with How-to information.There are two scenarios when you can use educational content to increase sales; before a sale, when you are introducing a product to a new market category, and after a sale when you need to hold your customer’s hand through a complicated set up or usage application. In the first you are helping prospects become comfortable with your new product, and in the latter you are working to improve the usage experience for your existing customers.

With a new product, you are providing content that teaches a prospect why they might need it to solve a problem they might not even know they have. Effective ways to deliver educational content include advertorial content; stories that teach with an embedded solution to a new problem, and how-to content that gives step-by-step instructions. Educate your customers in clear and concise articles that get right to the point and solve a specific problem.

Bellroy wallets is a great example of a company who is using educational content to teach prospects how their product, a slimmer wallet, can help them solve a problem; organize better and reduce bulk. Each of their wallets is featured in a short video that describes the features and unique usage of each style.

70 percent of consumers say content marketing makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company, which is an important segment of your customers considering that most of them are getting to know you through the instructions you provide. Customers who have a good experience using a product are more likely to develop brand loyalty, and to share word-of-mouth endorsements with new prospects.

Respond

responsive-content-marketingMany companies fail to consider “responding” as part of their content marketing strategy. Regardless, the 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Annual Report indicates that adopting an inbound strategy doubles the average website conversion rate, from 6 percent to 12 percent. That’s a significant sales advantage.

Inbound traffic is all about asking questions, and your ability to respond with concise and appropriate content is key to converting new prospects who are looking for answers and favoring corporate responders who are quick to the point. Responding is your first opportunity to build trust with your prospects and let them know that you are a relationship company.

Responding to customer inquiries is best done in a format that provides a succinct answer to a specific question, anticipates follow-on questions, and allows for easy reference and social sharing.

Convert

Convert with Content MarketingConversion is the ultimate objective of your content marketing, and represents the most direct relationship to your sales initiative. Content specifically designed to convert requires a key element that is often left out: the call-to-action.

The conversion process encompasses one of two sub-objectives; you are either converting your prospect to the next phase of your sales funnel, or converting them to the ultimate sale or adoption of your product. Both are measurable, and measuring your conversion rates is essential to continuously fine-tune or test your ability to maximize whichever type of conversion you are hoping to achieve.

When converting your customers to the next phase of the sales funnel, you are delivering a 1-2 combination of assessment and challenge; qualify your prospect for the next phase with a question, and then challenge them with a call-to-action.

If you are converting to a purchase, be direct and assume they are ready; go directly to the challenge and deliver a compelling call-to-action that implies urgency.

Validate

Validate with Content MarketingPurchase validation is another key element of content marketing that is often left out of the mix, but that can have a lasting effect on sales in the long run. Once your customer buys your product, the ball is rolling and you have the ability to turn your customer into a raving fan, or let them go as a one-time affair.

Content designed to validate your customers’ purchase is written to support their choice with reinforcement of your value proposition. Validation content is usually in the form of customer testimonials, usage examples and lifestyle evidence that makes your customer feel good about their purchase.

Red Bull does an excellent job of creating content that continuously validates the value proposition of their product with short films and documentaries featuring their product in amazing adventures. You may not base jump off Fatima’s Hand in the sub-Sahara plains of Africa,  but you will probably feel like you hang with people who do when you buy your next energy drink.

Validation inoculates against “buyer’s remorse,” and turns first-time customers into repeat customers who are not just happy they bought your product, but excited to come back again for another round.

Evangelize

Evangelize with Content MarketingEvangelizing was once the darling of content marketing, and although the term has lost some clout, the principle is still alive and well in the form of social media marketing.

Evangelizing content is the scaffolding of word-of-mouth marketing. In today’s terms it can be summed up as “viral marketing” or social sharing; it is the feel good discussion about your product or service that gets passed along because it is interesting, engaging, and builds social acceptance; it turns your customers into “fans.”

Evangelizing content is written to convince your prospects that your company or products are socially favorable. This can be accomplished with a wide range of content types including testimonials, lifestyle positioning, and discussions about your value proposition. Evangelizing is highly emotional, so stay away from the details and focus on “acceptance.”

Apple has been recognized as one of the world’s leading brands for the last decade or so, due in large part to their evangelistic approach to marketing and the tendency of their users to be enthusiastic fans. Microsoft discovered the strength of evangelistic entrenchment when they launched their Zune digital media player to compete with the iPod. Zune was every bit as capable as the iPod, but Apple had entrenched with hip ads and celebrity endorsements that created an evangelistic ripple through the entire marketplace. Zune never generated an evangelistic breakthrough and quietly disappeared.

Content marketing with SteptapAre you responsible for your company’s content marketing strategy? Would you like help in creating content for your customers that can meet these sales objectives and increase your bottom line? Steptap is a content marketing platform designed to help you communicate your solutions to new prospects and build lasting relationships with existing customers.

Contact us today for a brief demo of the Steptap content marketing platform and a brief introduction to our effective content marketing service. Complete the form below and we will get right back to you:

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I'll give you a call as soon as I can; I apologize for any delay.

-Cary Snowden, CEO, Steptap

 

Do Your Customers Know How To Use Your Products?

Steptap content marketingI have no natural aptitude for operating electronic gadgets. I have had my current phone for two years and my kids keep pointing out tools on it that I have never noticed or used. (Mom, you don’t need to use mapquest on your laptop, you have two navigation apps on your phone!)

I recently bought a bluetooth speaker for an iPod. To set it up, I had to make the iPod “discoverable” by the speaker. Don’t laugh, but I had no idea how to do it. I had to consult the instructions printed in 8 point font on a tiny insert that came with it. After reading the instructions, I performed the simple task quite easily.

The point: don’t assume that your customers know how to use your products. Even if the how-to instructions for assembly or operation only require one or two steps – those steps are critical. The speaker was of no use to me until I learned how to set it up. If there had not been instructions included, I would have had to waste time looking online or, worse, ask my 11 year-old daughter.

Customers Trust Companies That Teach Them

If you provide a product that requires step-by-step instructions, you can easily create how-tos at steptap.com. Or we can create them for you. These instructions can then be downloaded, used, and shared by your customers.

Quality Content Includes Useful Step-by-Step Instructions

Concise, step-by-step instructions are a critical component of a successful content marketing plan. To learn how our step-based instruction creation tool can increase conversion rates, extend average time spent on your company website, and boost marketing ROI, see steptap.com.

We can help you teach your customers how to use and enjoy your products. Let us know when you are ready to get started.

How To Steptap

steptap-bugWe are working on a new social sharing site that will make it easy to create and share how-to instructions on everything from building a birdhouse to installing a new thermostat.

Create and collect your favorite lists of instructions in your own free account and never spend time looking for them again.

Next time you change the air filter in your heater,  change the battery in your dive watch, or install a new sprinkler head, look to Steptap for get-to-the-point instructions.

With Steptap mobile, you can get the instructions right where you need them in an easy-to-read format. No more running up and down the stairs to review complicated instructions on your desktop.

If you have something to share with the world, whether a craft you posted to Pinterest, or instructions on how to use the new widget your company produces, Steptap makes it easy to create and share with social sharing buttons, embeddable links, short links and even QR Codes that are ready to print on your packaging and promotions.

We’re putting the finishing touches on our first public beta. Watch this space for more information coming soon.