It’s 2018 and content marketing is crushing it.
Gone are the days that businesses depend solely on advertising to drive sales, grabbing people’s attention by talking (or shouting) at them everywhere they turn. Customers don’t like it, and have had enough.
Now the money is in helping people. Connecting with them through blog posts, ebooks, videos, and infographics. Building trust and credibility while informing, educating, and solving problems – which create relationships that turn potential customers into paying customers time and time again.
Almost 90% of B2B companies were using content marketing in 2016, and even more since then. It’s a fully-fledged universal tool for building brand awareness, generating leads and converting them into sales.
But if you’re not yet convinced, or you’re a stickler for tradition, these three proof points might help change your mind.
1. Greater visibility means more visitors
Strong search rankings are a big deal for business. As well as being crucial for brand visibility, they can make or break sales targets.
When you search for something online, you want to find results fast and expect them to be useful. You start by looking at the first few and, if they’re relevant, you stick with them and your search stops there. Your potential customers are no different. You want them to easily find you, find your content relevant, and engage with you. Not once or twice, but all the time.
A content-rich, search-engine-optimised website allows you to build a strategy around search that puts you in front of your audience, delivering exactly what they need. It increases traffic to your site and improves the quality of your prospects so that more of them become customers. And ‘content-rich’ is the key here: websites with blogs have 434% more search engine-indexed pages than business sites that don’t have any published content at all.
A strategy like this would typically include:
- Relevant content that meets the needs of your target audience to improve your chance of being found.
- Content (and keywords) designed with SEO in mind to elevate your search rankings.
- Enticing meta descriptions designed to get people to click on you over your competitors.
2. Solving problems can lead to sales
Your potential customers need content that answers their questions and provides them with relevant information. This not only helps them with their immediate problems, but proves you’re a credible source of assistance and gives them a reason to keep coming back.
Blogs, for instance, are great for sharing knowledge to address common concerns or explain how to solve problems; while thought leadership pieces and case studies can demonstrate your expertise at a much deeper level. The latter can also then lead to more in-depth ‘gated’ content which visitors access in exchange for some basic contact details – while they download their ebook, white paper or webinar, you get a qualified lead to nurture down the sales funnel with even more useful content.
Ultimately, the more informed you can help your potential customers be, the more trust they’ll have in you. And while it might not result in an immediate purchase, they’ll be more likely to choose you over your competitors when they’re ready to do business.
3. It can reduce costs and increase leads
Content marketing can cut advertising expenditure for your business. In fact, it costs around 62% less than traditional marketing (according to figures from the Content Marketing Institute) and generates about three-times as many leads. No surprise then that it’s become the cornerstone of many a sound marketing plan in terms of brand awareness and driving sales.
With very little upfront cost and the potential for high ROI, content marketing is a strategy that’s paying off for many companies around the world. All it takes, like any marketing strategy, is skill and consistency to make it work for you, your business and your bottom line.
In the end, content marketing doesn’t talk ‘at’ people, it connects with them. It sells without being salesy – and allows people to form a direct and trusted relationship with your brand, lifting you above your competitors.