Marketers spend so much time focused on pageviews, retweets and engagements, it’s easy to forget that the real goal of content marketing is to drive sales. Content marketing is touted as an über-effective strategy that generates three times as many leads than traditional outbound marketing (Demand Metric). However, most of us don’t see those kind of results. Check out these 11 tips to improve the impact your content is having on the bottom line.
(Visual learner? Get your 11 tips from the infographic at the bottom of the post. And if you really want to get some in-depth information on the matter, check out a recording of our recent webinar with Pure Chat, “How to Drive Sales With Content.”)
1. Create content according to the buying cycle. When most marketers think of great content marketing they think of a company like Hubspot, which is constantly attracting new leads with value-packed blog posts. This causes many businesses to hyper-focus on top-of-the-funnel pieces and overlook content that should support the rest of the buying cycle. One explanation for this could be that a whopping 68 percent of B2B organizations have not identified their funnel (MarketingSherpa). Make sure your company has clarity by defining its marketing funnel.
2. Include testimonials. Once you do start generating content that’s aimed at leads in the “consideration” phase of the funnel, don’t be afraid to use testimonials from your existing customers.
3. Expand on popular posts. If you’ve been creating content, you probably have some blog posts that are more popular than others. These are the type of pieces you should expand on and develop into a lead lure. Lead lures are the informational offers that hook your website visitors and help you capture their information. Ebooks, infographics and other robust, value-packed assets are great options (and they’ll be perfect for tactic number 7).
4. Experiment with niche ads. Most businesses focus all their advertising efforts on platforms like Google and Facebook, but media buys on targeted sites can often result in better leads and a lower cost-per-acquisition overall. At my company — the live chat software provider Pure Chat — we secured an ad on a partner website that’s one of our top referrers, because the audience is so targeted.
5. Forge content partnerships. One of the great things about the content marketing boom is that everyone is looking for high-quality content. If you know how to write thoughtful, well-researched articles, you have something to offer companies that serve your audience. Content exchanges can attract new customers for both businesses and open the door for interactive content, like apps, assessments and quizzes.
6. Leverage industry experts. Building relationships with industry influencers can help raise brand awareness, but it’s not as easy as shooting off a tweet asking experts to promote your content. It means providing value before you go in for the ask. Learn more about the benefits of syndicating content and how to do it here.
7. Include CTAs in posts. Although popups can increase targeted lead captures, informational offers at the end of a blog post and targeted landing pages can achieve the same result without sacrificing user experience. Consider using video, too — when EyeView added video to the TutorVista.com landing page and tested it against their existing landing page, conversions increased by 86 percent.
8. Maximize blog real estate. Your blog is your real estate, and you should be using that space to promote your primary conversion point (free trial, product demo, etc.). Neil Patel, one of the most successful content marketers and founder of KISSmetrics, makes it possible for website visitors to sign up for a free trial from almost every page on the blog.
9. Retarget leads. Website visitors who see retargeted ads are 70 percent more likely to convert than those who don’t, according to a study by the retargeting vendor Criteo. This stat isn’t surprising when you consider that leads often need three to five (and sometimes more) engagements with your brand before they’re ready to buy. With this in mind, give yourself the opportunity to recapture a website visitor’s attention and create a retargeting strategy.
10. Follow up. Research by InsideSales.com shows that 35-50 percent of sales go to the vendor who responds first, but that doesn’t mean you can just shoot over a quick email and hope for the best. The sale will go to the vendor who starts a dialogue first. Show up to genuinely make the customer’s life better, establish trust and then go for the sale.
11. Foster leads with nurture campaigns. Up to 50 percent of leads are qualified but not yet ready to buy, making lead nurturing one of the best ways to increase sales (Gleanster Research). After putting in the time and money to attract a potential buyer, don’t just let their information go to waste. Create long-term nurture campaigns that continue adding value for leads who didn’t convert the first time around.