There are many reasons more and more businesses are using content marketing. And while it’s not there to replace traditional marketing, it enhances it beyond recognition. It’s adding a turbo boost to anything you do in the marketing sphere, and it’s turning you into a publisher of content that builds trust with your audience.
So let’s look at four reasons why companies around the world are saying yes to content marketing.
1. Promo messaging alone doesn’t work
What do you prefer reading – a piece of promotion or a fascinating article that helps you solve a problem?
Promotional material such as emails (“20% off this week!”) have far more impact when they’re not sent out all the time. They need to be staggered. With what? With high-quality, insightful content that would not look out of place in the top publications from your industry.
So while you will of course continue with promotion work, if you intersperse it with great content then your reader won’t feel like they’re being shouted at. The fact of the matter is that content marketing can generate three times the number of leads compared to more traditional marketing strategies.
If your competitors are just doing promo, but you’re blending your promo with helpful, engaging content that solves customer problems, who do you think your audience will think of when it comes time to purchase? That company that has built up a relationship of trust.
2. Losing leads is too costly to ignore
When you’re not doing content marketing you are losing out when it comes to sales. Let’s break it down by the numbers.
The central problem is that around 80% of new leads never become sales. So what we need to do is to somehow turn those leads into sales but do so at a low cost. It’s worth remembering that companies that are great at lead nurturing generate on average 50% more sales-ready leads – at one third of the cost. That’s a lot more, for a lot less. So how do you get great at lead nurturing?
The solution is relevant content that is designed for each stage at the buyer journey. While 90% of first time visitors to your website, for example, are not ready to make a purchase, they will be open to great content that genuinely helps them.
That’s why content is the best way by far to nurture leads, to ensure that they are not lost, and to convert them into sales down the line. Content plays the long game, building a relationship of trust with the reader, and then leveraging that bond when the customer is ready to buy.
So content means fewer lost leads. And it lets you convert them at a much lower cost.
3. The psychology behind content marketing makes sense
Companies realise content marketing is about adding value – about educating. And it’s the ideal way to communicate with your prospects. Whatever your offering – product or service – your content is solving some sort of problem or some sort of need.
Let’s look at an example: Home Hardware realised they needed to appeal to a younger market that were considering purchasing their first home. Because older people tend to spend less time and money on their home (doing renovations, etc), the up-and-coming market is key for any DIY superstore.
By creating a content marketing effort called ‘Here’s how’, Home Hardware was able to create engaging content that solved customer problems (such as ‘How do I paint my kitchen cabinets?’ or ‘How do I freshen up my flooring?’) while of course keeping everything in-line with their offering.
This new approach not only gave rise to a huge amount of new, engaging content, but it solved a company problem – how to appeal to younger home buyers? By helping solve the home DIY concerns and problems of this particular segment of the market, the superstore was able to build a bond of trust with both current and future customers that could last a lifetime.
4. You can’t afford to let competitors get ahead
When you realise that your peers are doing content and are essentially becoming publishers, it’s time to act. (Actually, the time to act was before they established themselves, but you can catch up by doing better content than them.)
In short: everyone is doing it, even if they’re not all at the same stage.
One report showed that 43% of B2B marketers had a documented content marketing strategy, while 36% had one but it wasn’t documented. So that’s 79% of respondents who are already quite well established in content marketing. Meanwhile, 17% didn’t have a content strategy but planned to implement one in the next 12 months. Only 4% didn’t have one and didn’t plan on having one.
Four percent. Is that where you want your company to be?
A quick look around shows that content means dominating your industry – there’s a reason that Rip Curl dominates surfing, that HubSpot dominates digital marketing, that to this day Michelin is a sign of great restaurants. They create very high-quality content in-line with their offering, the kind of content that is so engaging it has value in and of itself. Even, as we see with Red Bull, beyond the original product.
So to really become a publisher, and a true thought leader in your industry, you need content. And you need it now.