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What Results Can You Expect from a Content Marketing Program?

Content marketing can bring in more new sales leads at less cost than other forms of advertising and promotion.

There’s a logical reason for this, which is related to the technology we all have available to us. Consider how the world has changed in the last couple decades. We have immediate access to almost any information we need.

And the effect of this is important: Your customers have changed.

No, they’re not different people unless you’ve changed the course of your business recently – but they behave differently. They’ll look you up online and do their research before they even think of calling you. They’ll look at your competitors. They’ll look for reviews and try to ascertain how happy other customers are with your products or services.  They’ll want to know that you’re the best at what you do, and the best match for their needs, before they reach out.

Finding trusted sources.

There’s so much information available that we find ourselves needing to parse the information to find the best and most trustworthy sources. Information search services like Google consider it critical to present their users with the most relevant and trustworthy information, so they have created algorithms to evaluate your website and put the most trustworthy and authoritative a the top of the list.

How does content marketing help? Why shouldn’t I just put content on our web site?

That’s exactly what content marketing is — a framework to systematically add more relevant and valuable content to your website. A robust blog makes your web site bigger. And a large site with valuable, original content makes you more of an authority and raises your rankings in search engines, so more people find you. Note: there are other factors as well, but a strong library of valuable content is arguably the most significant.

Think about all the questions your new customers have. If you have a library of blog posts that answers all those questions, and does so with authority and expertise, those are the pages the search engines will display when people search for answers to those questions.

How will I see the effects?

  • Your content and rankings bring people to your website.
  • The more helpful your content, the longer they’ll stay.
  • If you answer their questions and provide insights on things to help them that they may not have considered, they’ll develop a favorable impression of your expertise.
  • As a result, a higher percentage of them will reach out to you when they’re ready to select a vendor, supplier, or partner.

You can take this one step further, too. Not everyone who visits your website will have an immediate need, but they have interest or they wouldn’t have been searching in the first place. With marketing automation that lets people sign up to receive email, you can nurture them with periodic emails that continue to demonstrate your expertise by answering more questions and providing more insights. It will help you maintain their attention and increase the percentage of people who make contact and become sales leads when they’re ready.

What’s the return on my investment?

Your results will vary according to the quality and frequency of your posts and the extent to which you promote them. However, if you consistently post high-quality content you should expect your long-term ROI to be a minimum of 200%. That is, if you add up the costs you’ve expended on content marketing, the number of new sales it generates should be a minimum of twice the cost.

While your objective is likely to be attracting new prospects, you may find that your content is useful in the sales process as well. Confer with your sales colleagues. They may have a use for PDF versions of your pieces to give to prospects at various points in the sales cycle. In addition, a blog series can be turned into an ebook that can be used as a sales enablement tool for your reps. There are usually a number of ways that you can leverage your content to assist in the selling process. If you provide content to your sales team, keep track of their lead-to-close ratio or time-to-close number and work to define metrics that help you take credit for the portion you can attribute to the content you’ve provided to help the close more sales.

Case in point.

Content marketing has become so successful that it has spawned a segment of software providers to help you take advantage of it. One of the most well known is Hubspot, a company that uses the term “inbound marketing” to describe the process of content marketing as distinct from older forms of “push marketing.”

Not surprisingly, their marketing is largely based on content marketing. Have a look through Hubspot's Marketing blog to see examples of content marketing in action and a steady stream of metrics that show the value of content marketing.

Get started to start getting the benefits.

Content marketing can help you generate more sales leads at a lower total cost than many other types of marketing. It can help increase the performance of your paid search campaigns. It can also help you qualify your sales leads by virtue of the content they engage with.

The trick is that it takes some time before it starts to pay off, and during that time you’ll be making a commitment and investment in your future results. You need to be prepared for that.

How much time does it take to start seeing results? That’s the topic we’ll explore in the next post – stay tuned.

Charles Ogden, Co-Founder and CEO of Antics Digital Marketing, has a 20-year background planning and guiding content marketing programs for companies such as KPMG, PayPal, Sun Microsystems, SAP, Shutterfly, Actavis Pharmaceuticals, and others. His work in content marketing began in 1996 when he and Antics helped Netscape Communications design and run the world's first largescale email newsletter programs. While content marketing has changed since then, the foundations of its benefits go back much farther and Charles continues to help companies advance their business through content. He views his work as an extension of his degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, which he'll discuss if you're curious.

 

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