Content Marketing (creation and syndication of original content in order to attract and engage with consumers) is a fairly trend idea right now in the internet marketing world, and for good reason. Over time, SEO has become less about “gaming” Google and more about playing by the rules better than everyone else by offering relevant, useful information to searchers.
But getting started with content marketing in a niche you are unfamiliar with can be difficult (certainly more difficult than purely technical SEO). I have some experience working with the LOHAS demographic, so I thought I’d contribute what I could to those looking to get started in this area. Of course, most of these techniques can be applied in any vertical.
Alright, so let’s get down to business: what the heck is LOHAS?
- For better or worse, it’s entirely unrelated to Lindsay Lohan.
- It stands for “Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability.”
- It’s a (market) demographic that cares about stuff being “green,” “chemical-free,” “socially responsible,” or really anything else that you might see stamped on a product at Whole Foods.
- People in this demographic generally have some expendable income, are relatively price insensitive, and are often well-educated.
Of course, there is a lot more to it than that, but you get the idea. So in a world where we can’t promote our website as pesticide-free and our twitter account isn’t locally sourced, how can we make LOHAS folk excited about visiting our site? The same way we always do: having cool content that people will like, and that builds trust.
So let’s have a brainstorming session. You might notice that I’m focusing on b2c (business-to-consumer) marketing tactics on here. B2b (business-to-business) companies might fare better with case studies and white papers, which I hope to discuss more in a future article.
Chances are, if you’re trying to market to the LOHAS demographic, there’s something about your product that meets their set of ideals. Now’s the time to communicate that in the most inspirational way possible, and video is the most powerful way to do it.
Hire a videographer to shoot and edit footage of the people who are closest to your product (be they farmers, factory workers, or designers) talking about the efforts they’ve taken to reduce the footprint of your product, and what it means to them. It can be justifiable to invest in a quality videographer, because there’s a good chance you’ll be able to use the end product in your marketing for years to come.
One great example of this comes from a small organic clothing company in our area, Maggie’s Organics. They invested in creating a whopping 17 minutes of narrative about their clothing’s origins. Adding to this effort, they have continued to pursue content marketing through other videos and content sprinkled throughout their website.
While infographics (in their massive vertical image form) may be on their way out, more creative implementation is still a great choice for communicating a positive message to LOHAS audiences.
Furthermore, interactive infographics allow the viewer to explore the content, increasing engagement. Once again, the goal should be to communicate not only facts about your products, but also values and emotions.
Local organic tea company Arbor Teas does a great job with this using a fast-loading navigable map that ties locations to their sustainability initiatives, fulfilling their “Sustainability from Crop to Cup” tagline. Arbor Teas also has succeeded in integrating this infographic into their site.
It becomes part of who the company is, rather than something tacked-on later. And it also teaches the reader about the possibilities for improving sustainability at each link in an international supply chain, offering real value.
Holding a Q&A session
LOHAS consumers, perhaps more than any demographic, are concerned with the details of your company’s operations and products. Exactly which organic certification do you have? From where do you source the water that goes into your manufacturing?
As long as you are adequately prepared, hosting a Q&A session can be a great way to build trust and lasting relationships with customers. But I have to stress that this is a tactic for a legitimately invested company; the last thing you want is to be publicly called out for greenwashing.
Seventh Generation, a household products company, did a great job of this in 2009 with a short interview for BusinessWeek. The beauty in the responses of the Seventh Generation representative (co-founder Jeffrey Hollender) is the honesty of his answers (“We are brutally aware of our shortcomings”).
As many in the LOHAS demographic have grown suspicious of consumer packaged goods companies, this sort of non-marketing talk can rapidly build trust.
Other great ways to use content marketing for LOHAS
Well, blogposts can’t go on forever, so there is a lot of uncovered territory. I might return to this topic in the future to talk about it more, but for now, here is a list of alternate tactics to get the juices flowing:
- Photo galleries / Pinterest “Pin Boards”
- Apps (“Calculate the Carbon Footprint of your Order!”)
- Soliciting product reviews
- Email newsletters
Finally, if I can offer one piece of general advice, it would be to remember that the goal of marketing to the LOHAS demographic is to build repeat customers that will purchase from you for years. These customers form the foundation of each relevant business I’ve spoken to.
So if possible, avoid expending resources and energy using cheap tricks to try to get a short-term spike in sales, but instead focus on building trust and relationships with your customer base.