One of the best ways to market your business today is to plant the seeds that will generate new customers tomorrow. Enter, content marketing: a long-term solution that helps businesses build brand awareness, grow their audience, and generate new leads and sales.
Most companies, more than 85% of them, realize that content marketing is a vital component to cultivating growth. But, according to the Content Marketing Institute, less than half of those who use it believe they do it well.
It may be particularly difficult for smaller businesses to justify allocating precious time and resources to a strategy that they are not sure is being executed properly. How can they compete against industry giants that have name recognition and massive budgets working for them already?
Medium-sized to smaller companies need to establish a relationship with their potential customers or clients and drive brand awareness, accomplishing this goal with far less resources. And content is the way a company makes that all-important connection.
With quality content, you become a source of knowledge and advice. Most importantly, it reaches potential customers where they most often look for new information: online. Whether a blog, white paper, webinar, video, or social post, you are creating brand awareness and building trust by distributing content. Establishing your company as a reliable source of knowledge is what makes a customer eventually choose to do business with you.
Content Works Overtime
Through your content strategies, you have an endless opportunity to provide potential customers with information about your business, your services, products, tips, or simply advice. The best part is as long as it is good, quality content, on topics that speak to potential customers’ needs and questions, it will continue to generate sales leads.
According to the Harvard Business Review article on the subject, “In both B2B and B2C businesses, customers are doing their own research both online and with their colleagues and friends. Prospects are walking themselves through the funnel (where they gain knowledge for buying decisions), then walking in the door ready to buy.”
Coined by McKinsey, the metaphor of a “funnel” describes where consumers start with a number of potential brands in mind then methodically narrow down their choices. At the end, they emerge with the one brand they chose to purchase from. With social media and digital marketing, content is now a huge factor in the “customer decision journey”.
Will Content Work for Me?
A successful content marketing allows your business to reach more and more potential new customers each week. However, there are some requirements for content to properly do its job.
- Content needs to be consistent (frequent, fresh posts)
- Content must be engaging (taps into what people really want/need to know)
- Content must be good quality (entertains and informs: potential customers should learn something from it and walk away feeling that your company knows what it is talking about)
According to Inc. magazine, it is best to take a holistic approach to your content marketing plan. First you must write down your strategy and be able to tie your overall business goals and objectives into your content calendar.
This is your path and serves as an ongoing content guide. Statistically, only 11% of companies without a documented content marketing strategy find their efforts to be successful, versus 60% of companies with a strategy in place. Designate someone to lead your strategy, and success rises to 86%. In fact, according to a survey by the Content Marketing Institute, the majority of the most effective B2B marketers (86%) have a designated person overseeing their content marketing strategy; versus the 46% of less-effective marketers who do not.
Also remember, content marketing’s main objective is lead nurturing, not producing instant results. You will slowly develop a loyal following of readers and content consumers who continue to return to you for knowledge and, ultimately, your product or services.
- Don’t Rush Your Relationship with Content Marketing
- Twelve-Step Guide to a Content Marketing Strategy
- Content Marketing Should Change How You Sell, Here’s How
- The B2B Buying Process has Changed. You Need to Adapt.