Netflix's ascent to the top of the home entertainment pack is a success story that seems to translate to just about every country it tries to break. Its business model has seen the streaming service hit 100 million subscribers, taking in 20 million in 2016 alone, and boasting viewers all around the world.
But have you ever thought about how it draws in these people? And why it's been so effective? You may not think so, but content marketing is a crucial part of how Netflix appeals to its audience.
Here's the lessons you can take from its teachings:
There's no substitute for originality
Netflix has steadily invested more and more into creating its own content, planning to spend $6 billion on original creations this year. To put this into perspective, ESPN spent just slightly higher than this at $7.6 billion in 2016.
This is obviously a massive commitment, and not one that your small business can undertake, but it's all about making it a priority. Find out what appeals to your audience and create content that has proven to be successful. You can then build off this foundation and refine your strategy as you become more confident about your approach, and more informed on what your audience wants to see from you.
Knowledge is power
Most businesses have the ability to understand user behavior, but few actually do it. Netflix uses nearly every aspect of its entertainment experience to better understand how people are using its service and what improvements would be most valued. This means it can suggest relevant content and boost the user experience, as well as guiding choices when it comes to what original content to make.
Data is a fantastic way to make sure you are promoting the right type of content to the right customers, but it also gives you an insight into how they feel about your company.
Innovation is possible
Thanks to its understanding of user metrics and behavior, Netflix is able to understand when a leap of faith will ultimately pay off. It has done more than a few interesting things when it comes to content marketing; from doing almost-zero advertising and relying on customer-to-customer marketing, to collaborating with other services that appeal to their audience.
This level of calculated innovation has seen Netflix go from strength to strength in just a few years and is something you can take to your own marketing strategy. Content isn't just articles or videos but can be completely immersive. Whether you want to create interactive reports, like Warby Parker, for your customers or redesign your homepage so your products do all the talking, like Anthropologie, there are plenty of ways to use innovative content to your advantage.
It may seem daunting to try and replicate the model that has made a billion-dollar entertainment giant like Netflix such a success, but the key parts of its strategy are simple:
- Understand your audience
- Use data to help improve your understanding
- Invest in areas that will appeal to your audience