Hopefully, you’re already convinced that content marketing should be the core of your digital marketing strategy. If you’re not, then you will be after you review these stats (compiled by Kapost.com):
- Costs less. Content marketing generates three times as many leads as traditional marketing and costs 62 percent less.
- Generates leads. Brands that create 15 blog posts per month generate, on average, 1,200 new leads per month.
- Attracts buyers. Sixty percent of buyers seek out a product after they read content about it.
- Gets the sale. Web conversions are six times higher for content marketing adopters than they are for organizations that don’t engage in content marketing.
- Builds long-term relationships. According to 78 percent of buyers, organizations that create custom content are interested in building good relationships.
Most organizations create content with a focus on inbound marketing. However, a comprehensive content marketing strategy facilitates customer decision-making well beyond lead generation. To get the most from your content marketing efforts, create different types of content for each point in your sales funnel.
Inbound Marketing: Content With Charisma
Content created for inbound marketing has a single goal: to help customers find you online. Whether they’re discovering your brand through search or social media, you want your content to make a good first impression. As you know, lead generation hinges on getting a lot of people to see your brand, so inbound marketing content centers around shareability. You’ll generate the most leads from highly visual content that customers can comprehend quickly and effortlessly.
Infographics break complex data down into bite-size, easy-to-understand nuggets. They’re great for sharing trivia or discussing trends without going into great depth. Brands that use infographics report a 12 percent increase in traffic.
Cisco predicts that by 2017 video will account for 69 percent of all Internet traffic. For inbound marketing, stick to videos that are between one and three minutes long.
Photos or Memes
Attractive images or humorous memes are among the most commonly shared pieces of content, and creating them requires few resources. In most cases, stay away from controversy so that people not only like your meme but also feel comfortable sharing it.
Short Blog Posts
Long blog posts have their place (more on that later), but short posts are best for inbound marketing. Aim for three to five paragraphs and a maximum of 350 words. Also, go beyond just text, and include images and embedded slideshows.
Publishing a guest post on someone else’s blog can introduce your brand to a primed and ready customer base. Again, keep it short, and add a short bio at the end with a link back to your website.
Lead Nurturing: Where Long-Form Content Shines
Long-form content is good for SEO, and it’s also one of the best ways to start nurturing your leads. Most people will exchange their name and their contact information, such as a phone number or email address, for valuable long-form content. You can then use this list of leads for email marketing or other types of campaigns.
In-Depth Articles and Blog Posts
A quick teaser blog post makes customers aware of your brand, but a long blog post shows off your company’s expertise. According to research from the social blogging platform Medium, the sweet spot for effective long blog posts and articles is a seven-minute read — roughly 1,600 words.
Webinars and Online Events
During webinars, you can provide information and answer questions about topics related to your business. Platforms like Citrix GoToWebinar can gather your participants, show them your presentation slides, and provide a platform for question-and-answer sessions. Some organizations forego structured presentations like webinars and schedule time for informal online Q&A sessions. Try a Google Hangout or a Reddit Q&A for more casual conversations with your leads.
White Papers and E-Books
White papers and e-books provide great mediums for digging deep into your products, your services, or your ideas. Before providing customers with the download, make sure to capture their email addresses or phone numbers.
After you create long-form content, repurpose it into a SlideShare deck. SlideShare decks are widely viewed by CEOs and other top decision makers, and they’re great for sharing on LinkedIn.
Conversion and Upsell: Content That Asks for the Sale
In his book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World,” Gary Vaynerchuk details how content can be used as a “jab” to build relationships with potential customers. After jabbing for a while, you land your right hook by asking for the sale. Create persuasive content that contains a strong call to action.
Ninety percent of customers who read positive online reviews of a product make a purchasing decision as a result. If an independent blogger or journalist positively reviews your product or service, then share the review through your social networks or with your email list. You can also ask influential bloggers to review your products as long as you’re willing to accept both positive and negative comments.
Written testimonials are good; video testimonials are better. Ask satisfied customers to make testimonial videos for your business, or create a video compilation featuring multiple testimonials.
Case studies, which are especially effective for B2B sales, should describe the problem the client had, the way you addressed the problem, and the positive results. Publish case studies as pages on your website or as downloadable PDF files.
Put together a short tutorial, using either a video recording or animation, that shows what your product can do. At the end of the tutorial, be sure to ask for the sale and to provide contact information.
Loyalty and Retention: Content That Creates a Community
Never underestimate the importance of customer retention. You have a 60 to 70 percent chance of selling to an existing customer but only a 5 to 20 percent chance of selling to a new customer. Creating content for retention centers around building a sense of community.
If you’ve recently participated in the ALS Association Ice Bucket Challenge, then you’ve been part of a shared experience that generated great content. You can generate a lot of positive PR and content for your organization by designing a community experience around your brand.
Email newsletters might sound a little old-fashioned, but they’re highly effective for customer retention. Use material that highlights current goings-on with your business so that customers feel like part of your inner circle. Include a digest of links to blog posts, case studies, white papers, and other types of content. You can also highlight customers and interview them about how they use your product.
Create contests that use social media to build a community vibe. For example, a company that sells pet products could run a contest for cutest pet photos. Customers could pin submissions to the company’s Pinterest page or submit them on Instagram using a customized hashtag. Winners could receive cash, products, discounts, or other tangible prizes, or they could become part of a future marketing campaign.
Surveys and Questionnaires
Customers like to be asked for their feedback, so send an email survey or ask them to take a survey when they visit your website. Then, share the results in a company blog post or in a follow-up email. Be sure to thank them for their feedback.
Content Has Long-Lasting Value
Building a body of content is about more than attracting new customers. It’s about developing long-term relationships, nurturing leads, and getting the sale again and again. Content marketing campaigns take time to build, but there’s no more cost-effective way to provide genuine value to your customers.
As you map out your content strategy, target customers at all points of the sales funnel. Content marketing doesn’t just work when you’re hunting for leads. It works at all points in the customer relationship.
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