What Is Content Marketing And Why Should You Do It?
Is content marketing just putting up a bunch of blog posts? No, it is far from that. These days there are so many people online that if you want to get your message across then, you need a good content management strategy. So what exactly is content marketing?
We define it as “a strategic approach to marketing focused on producing content that has value, is relevant to the needs of your audience and is consistent. A content marketing strategy aims to persuade visitors to become customers”.
The old style of advertising using banners and even pay per click (PPC) ads are losing their effectiveness. They still work but not like they did before. With content marketing, you will be providing value first so that you can connect with potential customers and assist them in solving problems that they have.
Major brands are switching to content marketing these days. Mega companies like Microsoft and P & G are doing it, so if it is good enough for them, it is good enough for you. Why are these big brands deploying a content marketing strategy? Because it works of course!
Content marketing has a number of benefits to offer and here are the main three:
- It is a cost-effective marketing method
- Potential and actual customers will be more loyal to your brand
- It increases sales and profits
High-Quality Content is Essential
You will only achieve these benefits if your content is of high quality. You can’t just put anything out there. If your content is poor, then this will reflect poorly on your brand, and you will lose customers rather than gain them.
Your overall marketing strategy must include content marketing. When you are planning your approach, it is essential that you consider both inbound and outbound marketing. For inbound marketing, your website needs to have some really high-quality content on it that your target market will find useful.
Google and the other major search engines have changed their algorithms and now reward high-quality content with higher rankings. You need to make sure that every piece of content on your website or blog is the best quality and well optimized.
For outbound marketing use your content marketing strategy to drive your social media marketing. Don’t just jump on to social media – you need an effective content plan. You should be writing press releases that assist people and cover the issues that they are interested in. Don’t use a press release to “big up” your business.
If you want to use PPC advertising, then you have to make sure that the content “behind the click” is of the highest quality. The search engines insist on this nowadays, and it makes a lot of sense.
Types of Content Marketing
It is always advisable to have a mixture of different content formats in your strategy. Here are the most popular:
Blog Posts – you need to develop a schedule of blog posts. You can use your blog to promote your products and service and cross-reference with other content on your blog.
Videos – you do have a YouTube channel set up, don’t you? You want to create videos that will last a long time and do not require regular change. Videos have to be part of your content marketing strategy.
Case Studies – if you can show that someone used your product or service and achieved real results (with numbers) in a case study then you have a very powerful piece of content to share.
EBooks – use eBooks as lead magnets so that people subscribe to your email list. Don’t give too much away but provide value here.
Infographics – people like to look at infographics so create ones that are relevant to your industry. It is a great way to tell the story that you want visually.
Templates and Workbooks – the aim here is to produce useful resources. Create easily printable workbooks. Make templates clear and easy to follow and provide instructions.
Cheat Sheets – here you will provide a short document (usually in PDF format) that summarizes the cheats to achieve something fast. Don’t forget to add links to other publications that explain things in more detail for additional learning.
Content Marketing To Drive Sales
Can You Use Content Marketing To Drive Your Sales?
In a word “Yes”. People are a lot more protective about direct marketing these days. They just filter out those ads and reject cold callers. It just doesn’t work as well as it used to. Content marketing is the new marketing strategy that will effectively drive your sales.
Does that mean that you don’t need salespeople to close orders for you? No, it doesn’t. If your product or service always required a salesperson to sit in front of a prospective client and close them, then you will still need to do that. It is tough to sell executive cars online for example.
But what you can do is to use smart content marketing to drive those leads for your salespeople to follow up on. Imagine being in the position where your website and all of your outbound content marketing is providing you with a plethora of leads. Well, you can achieve this.
Good Content Marketing can assist your Salespeople
Effective salespeople know all that there is to know about your products and services. They know all of the benefits and will be able to answer all manner of questions from potential clients. Their job is to persuade customers that the products and services will be of benefit to them and close the deal.
You can use content marketing to pre-sell your customers so that all the salesperson has to do is pay them a visit and get them to sign the contract. Imagine the time that your salespeople will save and the additional “closure” appointments that they will be able to make. It is good for your company and your salespeople.
Salespeople work a certain number of hours, but content marketing works for you 365 24/7. There can be leads sitting in your sales funnel after hours, on weekends and during public holidays. All your sales person has to do is to take these leads and then validate what the customer already knows.
Why Content Marketing will help you to sell more
One of the greatest things about content marketing is that it creates awareness. It is very likely that a customer will say to one of your salespeople “I never knew that you provided XYZ otherwise I would not have gone to your competitors”.
When people are looking for solutions online, they are very likely to type a question. This is definitely the case with mobile users. Your job is to answer that question fully with your content marketing.
Think about the types of questions that a potential customer could ask:
- What is the price of XYZ?
- How does product XYZ compare to product ABC?
- How do I…?
- What are the warranty terms of product XYZ?
If the searcher faces organic content and advertisements, then 70% are more likely to try and find their answers in the organic content. They know that they can find out what they want to know through the organic content without too much pressure.
Interactivity is a great part of content marketing. Monitor the comments that people leave and respond to them without delay. You will build trust with potential clients when you do this and not only that the search engines will appreciate it as well.
You can use content marketing to build relationships. People will look forward to receiving your content if it is useful to them and of high quality. It will also help establish and reinforce your brand. You will drive more sales through this.
Good content marketing will help you to keep the customers that you already have. You can use content to create your customer experience. Your customer will have your business and your products and services in their minds each time they see a piece of content from you.
Loyal customers become repeat customers so keep that content coming so that you are uppermost in their minds. Your existing customers will appreciate the quality content, and they will see that you care about them even after the initial sale.
So you are not replacing salespeople here just providing them with more leads and reducing the amount of time it should take to close a deal. Make sure that they are aware of that and appreciate what content marketing is doing for them and your business.