Billboards and pushy promotional ads aren’t the only way to strum up business. Rather, consumers now prefer a more human-to-human approach that puts their needs and wants before the company’s sales quota. In short, buyers want to feel seen, heard, and understood by the brands they buy from. They want to have a relationship with you, which means it has to be a two-way street with give and take on both sides.
This is called content marketing, and it generates more than three times as many leads as traditional marketing methods, all while costing an average of 62% less!
"Content marketing generates 3x as many leads as traditional outbound marketing but costs 62% less." *Source: CMI
Defining Content Marketing
Content marketing differs from traditional outbound marketing in that it focuses less on intrusive sales messages and more on permission-based, long-term conversational sales tactics. It focuses on providing value, building trust, and cultivating relationships before selling to the consumer.
The goal of content marketing is still to convert those leads into sales, but it does it in a way that feels more personal to the buyer, increasing the odds of closing the deal and creating repeat sales through greater brand loyalty.
Some common examples of content marketing include:
- Social media posts and videos
- Free whitepapers, eBooks, or quizzes
- Video tutorials
- Email newsletters
This blog you’re reading right now is actually a form of content marketing. We’re a team of digital marketing experts who want to work with you, the small business owner struggling to keep up with the demands of marketing your business. However, instead of launching ads at you that say, “Pick me! Pick me!” right away, we started by sharing free, high-quality content that helps solve your immediate problems. From there, we might nudge you to sign up for our email list (hint, hint), where we will keep you updated on the latest marketing trends and practical tips
Eventually, when you’re ready, we might prompt you for a sales call to talk about how we can help you achieve your business goals through effective content marketing. In the meantime, though, you can get to know us, understand who we are, what we bring to the table, and whether we’d be a good fit as your digital marketing partner.
Benefits of Content Marketing
If tripling your leads while spending less money isn’t attractive enough to invest in content marketing, there are some other benefits that might win you over.
You’ll develop a following, not just customers. Making a sale is great. Making repeat sales is even better! If you’re always putting out good, consistent, original content, people will follow. This means potential customers will stick around for longer, come back for more, and maybe even share it with a friend.
Your followers will increase your audience for you. People rarely share a hard-sell ad with a friend (unless they’re already highly engaged with the brand), but people will share things they find interesting, funny, inspiring, or noteworthy. Think of content marketing as your modern-day word-of-mouth strategy to build brand awareness.
Your audience will be ready to take a trust fall with you. Maybe not a literal trust fall, but they will be more likely to follow your advice and guidance and, eventually, buy what you are selling! That’s because they’ve already gotten to know you and tested your expertise through your free content. It’s like getting a free sample or a taste testing before committing to the whole package.
You’ll attract higher-quality leads. Not only will you bring more leads into your funnel, but when done correctly, those leads will be of better quality. This means bringing people into your funnel who are already interested (or will be soon) in buying your product or service.
You’ll increase brand visibility without extra work or ad spending. When you understand how to make things like SEO and social media algorithms work for you, you’ll show up in front of more customers—basically, for free. Sometimes, high-performing evergreen content can continue to bring you in leads for weeks, months, or maybe even years! This isn’t the case with every post, but you should certainly have a few of these lead-generating gems over time.
You’ll be recognized as the expert in your industry. It doesn’t always matter how much you know if no one else knows that you know it. Content marketing is a great way to share your expertise and become a trusted resource—and it isn’t always just your consumer looking to you for advice. Content marketing can sometimes land you a linked source in third-party content, an interview with a reporter, or an invitation to a speaking engagement or event.
- It increases the effectiveness of your paid marketing efforts. A good marketing strategy will often involve a mix of content marketing and traditional or paid marketing efforts, and ideally, they should work to gether. Your paid ads might help you get out in front of more people faster, as you won’t have to wait for algorithms and ranking to catch up, but your content marketing (a blog, a white paper, a landing page) give your leads a place to land after clicking on your ad. It grabs their attention (and their hand, metaphorically speaking) and walks them through your sales funnel in a way that feels natural, organic, and non-intrusive.
With so many great benefits, you’re probably thinking, “Why would anyone not invest in content marketing?”
Well, despite being an extremely successful marketing strategy, achieving content marketing success requires work, consistency, and expertise in creating and implementing effective campaigns. Most business owners and small marketing departments simply don’t have the time, resources, and knowledge necessary to create and put together holistic content marketing campaigns that drive ROI.
They may struggle to keep up with one or two channels and push out content that sometimes performs well and other times just flops. This is normal and a common growing pain for smaller and mid-sized businesses and marketing teams
However, if you want to grow your business and become a trusted, recognized brand that brings in high-converting leads, you’ll need to invest in content marketing sooner rather than later.
Utilizing content marketing for your small business
Most small business owners are busy. You’re running the entire show, from marketing and sales to HR and customer service. So, taking the time to understand how content marketing works, let alone how to master each channel and actually drive success on them, can feel like another daunting, impossible task to add to your already overwhelming to-do list.
It’s a common growing pain for small and mid-size businesses.
However, unleashing the power of content marketing is critical if you want your brand to grow and become a trusted, recognized brand that rakes in high-converting leads. Small business owners that understand this and dedicate time or budget to their content marketing strategies are the ones that outpace their competition and enjoy more success.
So, how do you add to your already overzealous to-do list? Don’t. Outsource it.
Successful small business owners often hand over the creative reigns to a trusted digital marketing partner. They invest their money into an agency that understands the needs and goals of their business and knows how to get them from point A to point B using tested marketing strategies and taking advantage of new trends.
They don’t try to do it themselves because 1) they know they don’t have the time needed for high-impact content marketing, and 2) they recognize they aren’t experts in marketing. They’re experts in their business. So, instead of trying to acquire the skills and expertise that can take years to master, they outsource it to a team of content marketing professionals who can work all angles of their digital marketing goals.
They invest in a digital marketing agency that can act as their in-house marketing experts and cover all areas of digital marketing—from website design and branding to social media and email marketing to paid ads and analytics.
If you’re ready to take your brand to the next level and see more ROI for your content marketing efforts, schedule a call with us. We’ll hop on a no-pressure call to get to know your business and help identify your marketing goals and how we can help you reach them. And if you aren’t ready just yet, you can stay in touch by signing up for our email newsletter and get more small business marketing tips and tricks like this one.