Learn how content marketing can fuel growth in your business. There can be so much more to your marketing activity than merely attracting customers.
Content marketing has become the first port of call for most successful companies when deciding their budget allocations. It may be obvious to see why considering how engaged users are nowadays in consuming content online. According to Kleiner Perkins, we now spend around 5.9 hours per day on the internet. The same report also showed that our daily video consumption time on mobile has doubled in the last three years.
What is content marketing? For anyone who isn’t sure, this definition from the Content Marketing Institute offers a simple definition. “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Content marketing is a big business because it is big for business. According to MarketingMag.com, it’ll be a $300 billion industry by 2019. In this article, we’ll look at how important it is to your whole business, not just your marketing and sales teams. It may seem to be a complex and seemingly expensive exercise for some bosses, but when you consider its effect on more than simple click generation the benefits will always far exceed the apprehensions. With the right strategy in quality and distribution, the ROI on your content can be limitless.
It makes sense to start with the most obvious and likely to be impacted corner of your business. In theory, your marketers should know all about content marketing and should already be practitioners in the field. Why? Well, content marketing can be suited to any business, whether you’re just starting out or if your business is a billion-dollar global enterprise.
A startup can easily engage potential customers by sharing content on social media channels like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Medium. All of these channels are free to join and will allow you to engage with existing audiences. At the other end of the spectrum, Red Bull had a marketing budget of around $2 billion in 2012 (Bloomberg), approximately $400 million of which was spent on content.
So, as you can see, the scope for content creation can range from product photography or blog articles to huge events and films with massive production teams, and everything in between.
For marketers, there are two primary goals for your business. Building the presence of your brand in your target market and generating leads for your sales engine to convert. Content marketing supports both. In fact, 78% of CMOs also believe custom content is the future of marketing (DemandMetric).
The reason being is that it supplies the foundations from which all of your other marketing efforts can springboard. Take social media for example, your audience will only want to engage with your brand if you’re providing them with something of value. The same applies to video, blogging and of course, your website.
Your paid advertising campaigns can also be significantly bolstered by quality content, such as a free eBook offering or a webinar. Consumers have become fatigued by a perpetual cycle of sales messages from brands, while around 8/10 of us believe that brands that create good content are more interested in real relationships. An ad alone may win you a customer, but great content can earn you fans.
We said for marketers, content marketing would obviously be the most impacted. Next, let’s look at sales.
Assuming that your sales team are traditionally more focused on the numbers, they may be impressed by this one: When you pit content marketing against paid search, and content marketing gets three times the leads per dollar spent (CMS). Trebling the number of leads generated and saving money (62% in fact) in the process has got to be good news for everyone, it may even free up a little cash to up those commissions!
For small businesses, the value is exemplified. According to IMPACT, a small business that blog see 126% more lead growth than those that don’t. Perhaps, the most important figure to remember is that 61% of consumers are influenced by custom content (Dragon Search Marketing).
Right now, it sounds like your sales team can just sit back and watch the leads roll in thanks to content marketing. But there is a way that they can use content proactively to boost their sales strategy. It’s called social selling.
Social selling is about utilising the power of social media, and more importantly, your own social networks to sell. Each of our personal social accounts is full of potential leads who most likely trust what we have to say well over what our company says on its own social pages. In fact, 77% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company when they hear about it from someone they trust according to Nielsen.
It is still a relatively new trend, as social media is only just over a decade old. But the results from social selling have been so positive that companies with consistent social selling processes are 40% more likely to hit revenue goals than non-social sellers (SalesForLife).
It all starts with quality content being created and then shared by your sales teams on their own social networks. This doesn’t just display a deep connection with your brand, but also that your team are experts in their field with unparalleled knowledge of their product or industry. All of these are desirable traits to prospective buyers, and with over 500 million users on LinkedIn which is a professional social network, they’ll be tapping into a massive pool of potential leads.
We’ve already established how content marketing can help you create a fantastic brand that your customers will flock to again and again. Nowadays, it isn’t just consumers who are influenced by branded messages, job seekers are too. 86% of HR professionals agree that recruitment is becoming more like marketing (iCIMS 2016).
When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. You may spend more than half of your buying journey researching a company’s brand and its products before you make a purchase decision. So, it’s really due diligence to spend just as long when deciding if you want to work for them or not. Perhaps you have recent experience of joining a new company. Were their website and social media pages the first places you looked to get a feel for your prospective employer’s brand? How many jobs have you put off because the employer’s online presence wasn’t good enough?
Content marketing doesn’t just sell your brand to customers, it can inspire potential employees too. 8/10 management roles are now filled through social media recruitment (SHRM), with social media itself becoming a valuable skill.
With that last fact in mind, your content can be just as crucial to recruiting as it can be to retain your best talent. Better engaging your employees with your content can actually help them build deeper links with your brand, regardless of their department or role. Our own research has shown that 70% of employees believe that supporting their employer’s social media efforts can make a valuable contribution to a company’s commercial success.
The benefits of content marketing can be applied to much more than simply raising awareness for your brand. With quality content and the right strategy, any business can utilise its power to create long-term and sustainable growth.