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I remember hearing a story about a man happily driving his brand new BMW along a remote highway where this young kid is stand on the side of the road. The kid throws a rock and hits the car. Fuming, the man gets out and starts yelling at the kid.

“I’m sorry sir,” the kid exclaimed, “but I’ve been trying to get someone to stop. My brother is in the ditch over here and is seriously injured. He really needs to get to a hospital!”

The scratch and dent in the car were still the same, but now the man didn’t even bother to get it repaired. Instead, he proudly shows it off as he retells the story. It’s all a matter of context.

You’ve likely heard this story before: On his $3.5 million Stradivarius violin, renowned violinist Joshua Bell played six of the most intricate pieces ever written for violin, in the Washington D.C. metro station.

Over the span of 45 minutes, just over 1,000 people came within close proximity of Joshua Bell. Only seven actually stopped to listen to the GRAMMY-winning musician. Around 20 people tossed a total of $32 in his violin case, but most ignored the master violinist. The night before, Bell sold out a music hall in Boston making over $60,000 in the same amount of time. The difference? Context. When he is dressed up and playing in a fancy concert hall, the audience considers him a professional.

Here is a valuable lesson: All the work you put into creating incredible content is meaningless if you aren’t considering the context in which it will be consumed. The context that surrounds your content is often more important than the actual content you are creating.

Having a great product isn’t enough. You might think that Joshua Bell would have a leg up on other street performers as he was better trained and more talented. You have to tell people WHY they should pay attention to you.

Just a few simple marketing tweaks would have made a huge difference. For example, announcing that Joshua Bell would be performing in the subway on such and such a day and time, putting a banner above him letting people know his name, picking a place where people naturally stood still rather than walking by, hiring a few fans to cheer for him, all would have changed the outcome. The same is true for your website – just having a great website is not enough. You have to tell people about it.

The same is true for your website - just having a great website is not enough. You have to tell people about it. Click To Tweet

But you also have to tell people about it in the right context. That is what context marketing is all about. Context marketing takes the concept of content marketing and kicks it up a notch. Instead of simply putting out content for audiences to interact with as they come across it, context marketing is all about delivering the perfect content to just the right people at just the right time. The main difference between context and content marketing is timing. Context marketing is advertising that is delivered based on what a customer is currently doing.

Contextual advertising is what we most often think of when it comes to context marketing. For example, if you do a Google search for a product, ads related to that product often appear.

But ads can also appear based upon the content of a page. We build these types of ads for clients using AdRoll.

Using AI (artificial intelligence),Google uses context within content to determine the relevancy of backlinks to websites. Although the anchor text is still important, even the words “click here” can create a relevant link back to your website based on the context of the article in which it appears.

Amazon is famous for its recommendation search engine that suggests other items similar to what we’ve already put in our cart (or what we’ve been searching for). This is context marketing, and without it you risk reaching the wrong people at the wrong time. With it, you are reaching a much more relevant audience that is more open to buying what you have to offer.

 


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