Content marketing efforts provide subtle but powerful ways to help businesses connect with consumers. Instead of promoting your product directly to your target audience, content marketing uses blog posts, videos, and social media to create brand awareness. A comprehensive content marketing strategy can yield valuable results.
A study by Demand Metric, a marketing advisory firm, found that content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates three times the number of leads. Read on to find ways businesses can use content marketing to drive sales and create an effective sales funnel.
How do content marketing efforts drive sales?
Even though content marketing is not explicitly about selling a product, the goal is still to drive sales. A well-executed content marketing strategy will increase conversion rates, generate leads, spread brand awareness, establish authority, and build audience engagement. Here are 10 ways content marketing can lead to business growth.
1. Develop a strategy
The first step in a successful marketing effort is to develop a content strategy based on best practices. For a business to craft its strategy, its leaders need to get into the specifics of who they are trying to reach and their ultimate goal. This includes defining a target audience. The business should develop a clear, data-driven buyer persona — a picture of their ideal buyer and all his or her traits. The business also should assess its current position and performance, evaluate the competition’s performance, set goals, and determine the company’s voice. Once a business has gone through these steps, it can determine the specific type, or types, of content that will work for its goals. Every piece of content should be optimized to have the greatest impact.
2. Put your marketing efforts on a schedule
In order to be effective, content marketing needs to be produced and shared on a pre-determined schedule. Content marketing will not deliver the desired return on investment (ROI) if content creation is viewed as an afterthought. To see real results, it is imperative for marketers to have a plan for generating and distributing content. Your marketing efforts should include an editorial calendar. Many companies lack the resources to create the quality and quantity of in-depth blog posts that show the relevance of their products and services. They might need professional help to pull off a marketing campaign of this sort.
3. Take full advantage of SEO techniques
Even the best content can’t be effective if people don’t see it and can’t find it. SEO optimization helps search engines find and assess web pages and give them the rankings they deserve. Search Engine Optimization is key to ensuring that your content winds up at your target audience’s fingertips. And SEO begins with great keywords, the ones used by your ideal customers when they use search engines. Some of your content ideas should be based on long-tail keywords, which are more specific than regular keywords and indicate user intent. An effective SEO strategy involves in-depth keyword research that will help you to answer the questions that consumers are searching for. Digital marketing aims to bring content as high as possible in your ideal shopper’s list of search results, ideally at the top of the first page of results.
There is a reason content marketing tips almost always cover SEO. Pay-per-click advertising can bring people to a site. But if you want the kind of organic traffic that generates a high click-through rate, SEO is essential. SEO strategy does not involve only technical matters like page speed and backlinks. Good writing matters too. Good writers don’t stuff keywords into an article, they use them naturally to add depth, context, and authority to a piece. The keywords appear in the body of an article. But they also fuel subheads, meta descriptions, meta titles and URLs, and the alt text for images. Good writing helps to create a good customer experience and builds brand credibility. This can, in turn, help to bring those backlinks that add so much to SERP. The content marketing platform rellify combines SEO expertise and an experienced writing team as part of its end-to-end service.
4. Call to action
A Call to Action (CTA) is vital to increasing conversion rates. This is a marketing term to encourage customers to act in a specific way. This can be as simple as “Buy Now!” or “Click to Chat!” To write a good CTA, start with exactly what you would like the consumer to do. This could be download, shop, subscribe, click, order, or something else. Be persuasive and create a sense of urgency. Making something a “limited time offer” can motivate potential customers to act right away. Be creative with your CTA and make it engaging. Make sure your CTA stands out on your page. Your web design should make it easy for a consumer to respond. The website should make it obvious where to click or where to find the form you would like them to fill out.
5. Promote your content
Great content can naturally rank high in web searches, but it doesn’t hurt to give it a little push. Whether you set out to engage individuals or you are making a B2B play, find out where your ideal customers spend time and meet them there. Social media offers rich opportunities to promote content. Your digital marketing campaign should include researching which social media platforms your niche audience uses. Then your team should create posts that let the world know how to find your content. Email lists are a great way to promote content as well.
Another digital marketing strategy involves giving an incentive to sign up for an email list by offering a coupon or exclusive content. And sharing once is not enough! It’s important to re-share content across multiple platforms over time. The editorial calendar mentioned earlier in this article makes it easy to schedule the re-sharing of content, which often gets forgotten in the daily rigors of running a business. This helps get your content in front of more eyes and build engagement. A customer who doesn’t open your emails might read your social media posts. A customer who resists your CTA on a social media post might respond when he sees it a month later in a blog post.
6. Repurpose your marketing efforts
Not all content marketing needs to be created from scratch. You can use pictures from a recent photo shoot to create a blog post on how your product can be styled or used in some creative way. Take an influencers’ comments and use them as the basis for blog content and social media posts. You also can use the same content in different ways to take your marketing effort to the next level. The technique cuts down on time and resources needed for this marketing effort. For example, a blog post can be made into a slide show, video, Twitter thread, Instagram reel and a series of Facebook posts.
7. Post customer testimonials, success stories, and case studies
Let future customers know that your past ones think you are a great company. Using real-life customer reviews, testimonials, success stories and case studies as a part of your marketing effort can benefit your business in several ways. These are an easy, effective way to show that other consumers trust your brand. This type of content format can also boost your credibility by showing that your claims are backed up by real-world experiences. Moreover, testimonials can help establish your credibility and establish your brand as one that is sought-after. Incorporating customer reviews, testimonials, success stories, and case studies as part of your overall content marketing strategy can help generate leads, create brand awareness, and establish your authority as an industry leader. Management also will like this format because it is very efficient. Your customers create the items for you, freeing up the content team to do other work.
8. Produce quality, trustworthy, E-A-T content
Although producing quality content does require an upfront investment, if done well it will shorten the sales cycle. This is because customers can learn a lot about a company or product before they decide to open their wallets. That represents part of the power of creating quality, in-depth blog posts that are well written and backed by targeted research. While each company will develop its own strategy, a universal truth is that content marketing should take a soft-sell, or no-sell, approach. A hard sell will turn off many readers and result in lost opportunities. Remember that the purpose of content marketing is to generate sales by creating brand awareness, establishing authority, and encouraging audience engagement. When your team does this well, customers will want to follow your call to action!
9. Use creative alternatives
Be innovative in your creative marketing! Incorporate video, quizzes, polls, infographics, photographs, e-books, Q&As, how-tos, guest blogs, live chats, and other content types. Creative marketing efforts will help you stand out from the competition. Businesses can use many of these creative alternatives by simply repurposing existing content. Being creative can help establish brand awareness and encourage engagement.
10. Monitor your results
Once you have your strategy and content, you are off to a good start! However, your marketing efforts have far to go. You still need to monitor the performance of content to see what is working and what is not. Armed with this information you can build upon what is having an impact. (Remember what we said about repurposing and promoting?) You also can change course quickly if you discover parts of your marketing campaign are not effective. Monitoring results helps keep existing content relevant. Doing keyword research periodically can yield big dividends since the terms your customers use will change over time. Simply updating a post by refreshing the keywords can help keep existing content at the top of search pages. This is an efficient way to get the most out of your content marketing content.
How long does it take to see results from marketing efforts?
Content marketing is very effective, but don’t expect it to work overnight. Most experts say it can take six to nine months to see results. The short answer as to why it takes so long is that Google favors older domain ages as well as SEO, keywords, content quality, and many other factors. In all, there are over 250 factors that Google considers when determining which websites to show at the top of its results. While you should never consider content marking a quick route to success, there are some ways to speed up the process. This includes having other, credible sites link to your site and publishing consistently, because Google also considers these factors.
Elevate your content marketing efforts with rellify
Because content marketing is a complicated effort that requires different types of expertise, many companies hire outside firms to perform this task. One company, rellify, offers a content performance platform that has a proven track record of success. Contact rellify today to see how they can help you develop a content marketing strategy that will work!