Content Marketing is a vital element of a business’ marketing mix today. Content that is targeted, relevant and timely can help create a rewarding association with readers. It not only attracts readers’ attention, but also helps businesses to nurture a relationship with them. This ultimately culminates to sales and new customers.
As a function, content marketing has evolved tremendously over the past few years. With the remarkable reach and coverage of Internet, it is a smart move to embrace content marketing to utilize the influence of the Internet to your benefit. And this can be done effectively through content marketing.
Why content marketing for sales?
Simply put, content marketing is the strategic process of creating and distributing high value content to address of answer specific needs/ queries of the readers. It comprises of two main segments – ‘creating content’ and ‘distributing content’. Be it any phase of the sales funnel – right from prospecting to closing – we have experienced that content marketing plays a vital role in each step of the way. It helps to attract visitors to your business site, keeps them engaged and eventually acquire the customer who consumes the content.
How does it boost sales?
1. Connect with readers and their needs – Content marketing helps acquire trust with readers by sharing information that will be of help to them. Imagine a salesman coming every day to ask you to purchase a product that may or may not have a need for. This is precisely what traditional marketing does – their in-the-face, blatant selling techniques actually repel most of the customers rather than drawing them in.
On the other hand,
content marketing is a more ‘soft’ marketing approach, where visitors are allowed to consume the content they want and skim through others. The first half of content marketing (‘creating content’) is what draws them in and prompts them to act. This approach puts the power in the hands of the reader/visitor, which is a very attractive proposition to engage better with them.
2. Stand out competitively – Content is the key ingredient that lets your customers discover you before they discover your competition. It not only helps bring in traffic and positions your business as a thought leader, but also increases your brand visibility and loyalty. Content 2020, the content marketing strategy chalked out by Coca Cola is an impressive example of how brands are moving away from traditional marketing to collaborative, content-based approach.
3. Get the customer to notice you – Great content helps prospects, customers and readers recall the value you provide. Such customer oriented experiences in turn provides a lasting brand awareness in their mind. IAB.net’s research shows that 82% of B2B marketers have cited brand awareness as the top content marketing goal2 for not one, not two, but four continuous years in a row. It amply denotes the massive influence content marketing has on improving the visibility, exposure and reach of a brand.
4. Nurturing a relationship for a win – The stage when the prospect moves from prospecting to considering to intending to finally purchasing, is a very critical juncture of the sales and marketing funnel. Content marketing helps in the smooth transition of across these different phases. With content, you can
- a. Keep their interest level high by making available periodic and fresh content about their needs and how it can be addressed. This ensures that the prospect feels in charge to control his/ her purchase decision.
- b. Gain a better engagement with them at the sensitive time of considering a purchase. This ensures that the prospect goes ahead with his/ her purchase intent and thus help close a sale.
5. Makes complete business sense – As per Demand Metric, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing efforts1 such as cold calling and mailers. But, it generates 3 times as many warm leads as traditional marketing. An extensive cost-benefit analysis is not required to see the enormous benefits that are achieved at a lower cost, when companies adopt content marketing in their marketing mix.
Right from not being in existence about a decade back, to seeing massive adoption in 2014, content marketing is definitely the way ahead for marketers. Keeping in mind a fresh and relevant message meant for a specific target audience, content marketing can create wonders in prospecting, engagement, acquisition and retention.
We believe that marketers can utilize these content marketing pointers to influence demand signals the right way. If 73% of the B2B content marketers are producing more content3as against the previous year, due to its tremendous sway, then it’s high time that your marketing team too stays invested in this effective marketing tool.