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About 90 percent of purchase decisions by B2B buyers begin with exposure to content marketing material, according to DemandGen. Ninety percent. That is an astounding number. So if nine out of 10 purchase decisions begin with exposure to content, and your content just isn’t hitting the mark, are you missing nine out of 10 sales opportunities? It seems likely.
Content Marketing holds so much potential when it comes to lead generation and lead nurturing—but it must be accomplished in the most accurate and strategic manner possible. Because so many more brands are catching up with and pursuing content marketing (check out How the Inc. 500 Fastest-Growing Companies are Using Content Marketing), gone are the days when a business could just throw together a few paragraphs and call it a blog. Content, in order to be beneficial and yield results, must be thought through thoroughly, produced efficiently and marketed correctly.
Let’s take a look at a few of the advantages content marketing can afford your business and what you need in order to not only accomplish them, but to succeed in your lead generation and lead nurturing efforts.
- Help you shine through the haze of information overload: As mentioned, just about everyone in their right mind is attempting content marketing and social media. That makes for a lot of information online. But that doesn’t mean that it is all good content. And your potential clients can tell the difference between words slapped together and actual quality, educational and trustworthy information. How to do it: Don’t skimp. Don’t be lazy. Don’t expect it to just happen. Instead, invest the time and energy it takes to hire those (either in-house or outsourced) who know how to make the process work. Find people with real writing chops and strategic experience. Pay them well enough that they will invest the time to create quality content. This quality will also help you distribute superior content on your social media channels, as well.
- Educate your audience: The biggest goal of content marketing is to simply educate your potential buyers concerning how their problems can be solved, which will eventually lead them down the path to your product or service. How to do it: At first, you want to be purely educational and not pushy. The buyer must first realize that they have a problem and that it can be solved. Your first and second touch should be purely enlightening, only hinting at your specific solution. Take a look at the download, “Traveling with Oxygen Made Easy.” This guide helps those suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) live their lives more independently. Consumers don’t realize that they are being lead toward a specific oxygen therapy solution, but they are thankful that they have this information, building trust and desire for the product.
- Get your audience to trust you: This concept has been preached about since the dawn of content marketing. Your audience needs to feel that they could trust your service or product, but also your company and what it stands for. They need to know that they can trust you with their hard-earned money. How to do it: Share value and information that goes well beyond your products or services. We call this educational, top-of-the-funnel content. If you don’t know about the concept, learn about it now.
- Build growing relationships with your audience: This idea goes hand-in-hand with trust. When you work with other businesses, they want to be a part of the process. They want to know that you are in this together, that this partnership will benefit both parties. No one wants to feel that you are in it just to make a quick buck; they want to feel the love! How to do it: Talk to your potential clients. Involve them in the process. Ask them for their opinions and any questions they may have. When they share their thoughts then see that you have responded to them by creating content to solve their problems, they will appreciate it.
- Move leads through the sales funnel: A current concentration has been on buyer persona, and for good reason. When you take time to study that characteristics and thoughts of people at each stage of the buying cycle, you can create content that addresses each one specifically. How to do it: Before you dive into content marketing, study your sales cycle and develop buyer personas. Then, as you develop content for nurturing, be strategic in who they are written for and why. When this is accomplished, leads are more likely to take the next step down in the sales cycle.
- Find new visitors, leads, customers: Content is fueling search engines these days, and it really is making a difference in who finds you and your content. Content marketing can truly fill your funnel with many more visitors who then become leads, and hopefully, customers, too. How to do it: Utilize your keywords. Choose them wisely then implement them in your content. Remember to include common phrases your potential customers are searching for in Google. And most of all, create quality, educational content that your loyal supporters will want to share!
As you can see, there are numerous benefits and advantages of content marketing, spanning that gamut from helping your company shine and building trust to guiding leads through the sales funnel and generating new followers. But these things only come when your content is done properly. Follow these tips, and you may find yourself making nine out of 10 sales.
What are your best tips for making content marketing work?
photo credit: thesaltr
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