Content marketing is a now commonly used marketing technique that uses the creation and distribution of relevant, valuable, and consistent content to attract a specific target audience and convert them into leads. Content marketing has continued to be a growing part of business marketing plans as computers and mobile devices are becoming more prominent for the use of researching, gaining information, and purchasing.
A key component of content marketing is that it is relevant and valuable to those who would be considered a business’s primary target audience. The end goal of content marketing is to build brand trust, entice a customer base, and provide leads to salespeople. Unlike other forms of online marketing, content marketing is not designed to create demand for a new need, but instead is designed to anticipate and meet the needs of current customers or prospective customers interested in learning more.
Types of Content Marketing
Content marketing comes in multiple forms, all designed to convey information to the reader in different types of format. While there are too many types of content marketing to discuss, some of the most commonly used forms include:
One of the most popular forms of content marketing is blog posting. But it is vital to remember that a blog is not considered content marketing if the information is not relevant and needed. This means personal blogs don’t often fall under the umbrella of content marketing. Blogs can be a beneficial component of a content marketing strategy as it is easily shareable and can gain a readership where target audience members continue to come back for more information.
Infographics are graphic pieces that incorporate statistics, charts, graphs, and other detailed information regarding a topic. This type of content marketing is a great way to make a visually appealing representation of a large amount of information that might otherwise be dry if listed in copy. This form of content is also highly shareable, making it a great option when your goal is to reach as much of your target audience as possible.
All websites have various webpages often discussing the company and providing information about the products and services that they offer to their customers. Not all webpages are considered content marketing as they rarely bring in traffic that isn’t already looking for the company and it is likely not getting a significant amount of views. Webpages that can count as content marketing are pages that use SEO so that they pop at the top of the list in a search engine when prospective customers are looking for specific products or services that your company may offer.
Another type of content marketing that can be a fantastic complement to written content is videos. While many people think the costs of producing videos is high, it is much more affordable through the use of digital technology. Videos are highly shareable and an ideal way to show or explain something that is hard to put into words.
Ebooks and whitepapers are one of the best ways to gain leads and draw in your target market. Most ebooks are free or available for a nominal fee and provide information that your target audience has been searching for. Downloading the book will require the reader to input a certain amount of identifying information. This can provide businesses with contact information for customers that are interested enough in their product and service to do a little further research, making them more likely to convert to becoming a customer.
Why You Should Use Content Marketing for Your Business
To understand how content marketing can be crucial to your business, it is important to understand how it can impact the buyer’s journey. A buyer’s journey consists of four primary stages including:
- Awareness: At this stage, your target customer becomes aware they have a need but are unsure if there is a solution.
- Research: At this stage of the buyer’s journey, the customer has become aware that there is a solution and they enter into the research stage to find the best product to solve their problem.
- Consideration: At the consideration stage, the customer will begin the comparison of different vendors to make sure they are obtaining a high-quality product at a fair price.
- Buy: The final stage in the buyer’s journey is when the customer has made a decision and is ready to complete the transaction.
While traditional marketing and advertising strategies will be best used for the completion of the last two steps in the journey, the awareness and research stage is where content marketing can be most valuable. Content marketing is an effective tool for making customers aware of a specific solution and then providing them with the information they need to complete their research.
Benefits of Content Marketing and How it Can Grow Your Business
There are numerous benefits that can come about with well crafted and executed content marketing that make it one of the most practical and effective digital strategies for most types of businesses. Content marketing can:
One of the best benefits of content marketing is that over time it will help drive more conversions. On average, a company that provides consistent, useful marketing content will have conversion rates that are six times higher than competitors who don’t.
Direct More Traffic to Your Site
You will know your content is effective if it begins driving more traffic to your website. Companies that publish 16 blog posts or more a month will get 31/2 times more traffic than sites that publish 4 posts or fewer. The key to greater traffic is consistency.
Build Brand Awareness
Customers are not likely to be able to determine if your company will be the best choice for their products and services until they have been given the opportunity to learn more about your brand. You can create this brand awareness by developing content that your target buyers will find useful and want to engage with.
Educate Your Customers
Content marketing also provides the added benefit of being able to educate your customers about how your products and services can provide solutions for the problems that they encounter. Use your content to target your customer’s most common pain points and how your product and service can better solve their problems.
Bring Added Credibility and Authority to Your Brand
Even if you have been providing quality products and services for years, your customers will not find your experience credible by simply knowing the number of years that you have been in business. With content marketing, you can demonstrate your expertise and show first hand the knowledge that you have in your field. This means the customer will become aware that you understand the issues and problems that your customers face and are able to provide them with trusted advice in regard to them.
Position You as an Industry Expert
By consistently providing engaging content to your target audience, you will be able to position yourself as an expert in the industry, which can help provide you with the edge you need over your competitors. By providing valuable content to your clients as well, they will begin to see you as an expert on the products and services they are looking for, and will likely refer to you again for more information when they need it.
Help You Progress Your Customers Through the Buyer’s Journey More Quickly
Each and every customer will go through the four stages of the buyer’s journey before coming to a final decision to purchase. In some cases, this can be a lengthier process. By creating valuable and engaging content you will have already tackled the two first steps in their journey. You will help them to become aware that they have a need and you have a solution and will also have provided them with the information they will be seeking out during the research stage of the process.
Keep Visitors at Your Longer
Once a potential customer lands on your page, they are likely to spend a limited amount of time, unless they have something to keep their attention This means the more engaging and informative content that you have on your site, the longer you will be able to hold their attention and prompt them to click through the pages.
Improve Your Search Engine Results
Google loves content as long as it is high quality and provides information on the topic that the searcher is looking for. When you use search engine optimization in your content, it will help it to rank higher in search engines. This means you will move to the top of search engine results which can provide you with much greater visibility. Those using a search engine to find out more information are likely to choose from one of the first websites that comes up on the page, so ensuring you get your content listed on that page is crucial.
Be a Cost-Effective Marketing Tool
Many forms of traditional marketing can be costly, leading to a high acquisition cost per customer. What is great about content marketing is that is easy to get started, less expensive to produce, and highly effective with customers who are more dismissive or have become fatigued with traditional advertising messages. Content marketing can be so effective that it can generate up to three times the leads fo about half the cost of traditional marketing.
Be Targeted to a Specific Audience
If your target market is more specialized, you can attract a more specific audience through content marketing. This will help you narrow your visitors down to those who are more likely to be interested in learning more about or purchasing your products and services. You can easily tailor your content to be as general or as specific as you want, depending on the type of audience you wish to attract.
Bring in More Qualified Leads
One of the strongest benefits of content marketing is that it not only attracts more leads to your website but it also helps to ensure that the leads are both relevant and qualified so that you have a better chance of an effective conversion. By drawing in visitors who are attracted to content specific to your product and services, you will already know that they have an initial interest,
Help You Stay Competitive
The online world is extremely competitive, which can make it hard to stand out among the pack. By consistently posting content to engage customers and keeping your website higher on search rankings, you will be able to keep yourself in front of the customers, consistently having your name up there with other competitors.
Be the Stepping Stone to a Purchase
Since consumers tend to rely a lot on the internet for their purchasing decision, there is a good chance that they have checked out your webpage and content. Sometimes this will be the last step before they decide to contact sales, either directly through the site or through the phone. Make sure that the content on your website is strong enough to make a good first and last impression.
Provide You with More Touchpoints for Customers
Since engagement is so much a part of the conversion process, you will need to find out what your customer and potential customers are looking for information on. You can monitor your content, along with social media posts, to find out which content is being most looked at and engaged with. This can help provide you with topics that are of most interest to your prospective customers and can give you a starting point for future engagement.
Provide Your Customer With the Valuable Content They Need: No Strings Attached
You will find that your content marketing will allow you to provide your customers and leads with value without asking for them to do anything in return. This can help you to build trust with your current customers who are actively buying your products and services to help them stay interested and want to do business with your in the future. As for new customers, it can provide them with the information they are looking for with a no-pressure approach, allowing them to come to the decision to buy on their own.
Be Extremely Shareable
One of the goals of an online presence is to increase your visibility online with your current customers and potential leads. One of the great things about content is that it is highly and easily shareable. Whether it is a current customer forwarding their email marketing message to family members and co-workers, or sharing social media content linkings to blog post, content can be sent to numerous people with a simple click of a button. That is why it is critical to make your content highly informative as well as engaging.
Allow You to Make a Personal Connection
Content marketing is warmer than traditional marketing and advertising tools and techniques. It allows you to make a greater personal connection with your customers and showcase both your brand voice and your character. Always be sure to interject a little bit of personality in your videos, blog posts, social media posts, and other forms of content to make it more relatable.
Be Valuable Marketing for Any Industry
Many marketing tools can work better for some industries than others, but one of the best things about content marketing is that it is so versatile it can be used as a marketing tool for any type of industry. With any product or service, customers and have questions that need answering or are looking for ways to solve their specific problems, and content marketing can help provide them with what they are looking for while bringing your company name to the forefront of their mind.
Bring You Unexpected Customers
When you create content that is valuable and can help address challenges faced by your target audience, you will not only help your current customers but may also find some customers where you never expected. Certain content may resonate with a different type of market than you had expected, and you may find a whole other target audience for your products and services.
Content marketing is one of the most cost-effective and efficient ways to get your company name in front of your target audience, build trust, and help to generate the qualified leads you need to convert into customers. With so many forms of content marketing widely used, it is easy to create a content marketing campaign to increase traffic and get the attention fo potential customers. Adding content marketing to a current marketing plan is a must for any company looking to build an online presence and increase their customer base.