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Why? That question is the most common question clients ask when we discuss content marketing options. Why is this important to my business? Why should we devote more of our budget to it? Why will customers care?
We’re always happy to break down not only the “whys,” but also the where, what, who, and how. If you’re still on the fence about launching a content marketing strategy, check out the following six reasons why you should invest in content marketing today.
Image via Flickr by Ksayer1
Content marketing started as an SEO tactic and social media fodder to improve likes and shares, but today content marketing is a crucial part of the sales funnel. Consider the following examples:
If you’re not able to answer where your content falls in the path to purchase, your content marketing strategy isn’t going to pay off. We’ll go into more detail about the different parts in the funnel throughout this post.
Outreach and social media content are usually called the fun content around the office. The goal isn’t to create highly technical pieces, but to introduce new customers to the brand through sharable articles, videos, infographics, and comics. This content is the easiest way to connect with potential leads outside of your website.
On top of being sharable, your outreach content will also be the first impression for your brand. An article or interactive can make or break your marketing initiatives. We’ve all seen companies that try to force going viral only to become notorious instead, but we’ve also seen success stories that go better than planned.
If your top goal is to significantly increase traffic to your website, outreach content needs to become a priority.
In 2014, more than 80 percent of shoppers conducted research before making a purchase. On smaller purchases, the process might entail reading product descriptions and customer reviews. On larger purchases, research could involve multiple site visits, comparison searches, and tutorial views. For any size item or service, your customers want to make sure they’re making a smart decision or not getting ripped off.
This stage is where content marketing comes in. By creating the content that they’re seeking out — whether it’s a tutorial how-to video or a buyer’s guide — you’re assuring customers that your business offers a valuable product. You’re also keeping potential customers on your site instead of sending them to your competitors with these educational services.
On top of educating customers to make a purchase, content marketing also weeds out unqualified customers from potential leads. Instead of trying to track every visitor to your website to force a conversion, create content that engages and keeps qualified traffic clicking around. The more potential leads engage with your site, the more likely they are to give their email address or buy your product.
Content marketing also makes retargeting more effective. Many Google Display Networks, GDN, campaigns let companies target highly engaged customers that have visited your website multiple times in the past month. This feature immediately filters customers to only the most interested and most qualified to purchase. By regularly updating your blog, you’re creating reasons for visitors to return and opportunities to grow your remarketing list.
The best example of closer content can be found on retail sites. A few years ago, the only items a good fashion retailer needed were a few high quality photos and a product description. Today, the best sites have size charts, reviews, social uploads, and simulators.
If a shopper visits Sammy Dress, she can see photos of customers actually wearing the dress that they bought; check their dimensions for height, weight, and bust; and read if the sizes run small or large.
Image via SammyDress.com
Not only does closer content improve the product’s reputation as a high quality product, but the content also reduces the number of returns the company will have to process because of ill-fitting clothes. The more content your site has, the more likely site visitors are to trust you enough to convert.
Take notice about one more item related to the Sammy Dress example used earlier: All of that information was user-submitted content. The customer wanted to share with the company and the community that she’s petite and enjoys vintage tea-length dresses. When your company does content marketing well, customers and site visitors will be willing to share more information with you and your visitors.
A few years ago, gated content was all the rage. Businesses believed that if they blocked access to high quality site content visitors would surrender names and emails to reach it. In modern content marketing, a new theory replaces that idea: If your content and services are good enough, visitors will willingly enter their email addresses instead of selling them in exchange for a white paper.
Businesses with strong content marketing strategies don’t need to force their communities to contribute; the invitation happens organically. If you show that you’re willing to regularly invest in new content and respond to reviews or comments, customers will invest in your site and products.
Customers might start by asking us why content marketing is important, but the whys keep going throughout the ideation, creation, and curation process. Each piece of content should start with why. Why will this idea make someone share? Why will this product description help someone? Why will this text piece convert a customer?
If you create content with a purpose instead of hopping on a cool trend, you will soon start seeing the results you want. Content marketing is definitely a long-term game, but if you stay patient and keep investing, you might find yourself asking, “Why didn’t I try this sooner?”