February
12, 2020

6 min read

The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.

The following excerpt is from The Content Marketing Handbook by Robert W. Bly. Buy it now on Amazon | Barnes & Noble or click here to buy it direct from us and SAVE 60% in this book if you use code MARKET2021 by 04/03/21.

Content Marketing offers nine features that both B2B and B2C marketers can use to generate more leads and ultimately close more sales. Let's explore them:

1. Set the specifications. Content marketing can inform potential customers what features, functions, and skills they should be looking for when purchasing a particular type of product or service. If you've set out your criteria in a whitepaper or other medium that looks like useful information rather than selling points, readers will take in and accept your guidelines. They then use the specifications you set.

Suppose you sell motionless mixers, one of the products I launched at Koch Engineering. In your advertisements, you offer a booklet called 7 Things To Look For When Claiming Motionless Mixers. Prospects read it and use your criteria when purchasing motionless mixers. And whose mixer fulfills all seven criteria perfectly? Yours.

2. Makes the interested party obligated. This is the principle of reciprocity, as described by marketing expert Robert Cialdini in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. When you give someone something, they feel an obligation to give something back to you. When they give free content to potential customers, they don't feel obliged to buy your product, but they do tend to give you a little more time and attention than they otherwise could.

More than half of buyers strongly believe that bringing together relevant content through brands would help accelerate the research phase of the buying cycle. Content marketing involves delivering personalized, segmented, and relevant content to your existing customers. By engaging and updated your current customers with great content, you will improve your long-term customer retention rates.

Richie M., one of my newsletter subscribers, told me in an email: “This is just a quick note to say that I am really enjoying your emails. I can tell when it's advertising, but I don't mind as you generally give me valuable information too. I think that's why you're successful. If I get useful information in free emails, I am more likely to buy additional information – and I have. "Richie's answer is what you hope for when it comes to content writing.

Related: The 7 Rules for Writing Compelling Technical Content

3. Generates more inquiries. A lead-generating promotion with a free content offer can deliver more than twice as many responses as the same campaign without the free offer. Good content marketing is so effective. By posting new and relevant content on your digital channels and doing so frequently, you can increase the likelihood of new customers learning about your company, its services, and the value you can bring to them. Also, knowing that you are adding new content frequently will make prospects more likely to come back to your website.

4. Receives new customers. Many marketers acquire new customers through their blogs. Whether it was the first time prospecting customers saw your content on Google or a whitepaper they downloaded to your website drove them over the edge, content marketing plays an important role in the B2B buying lifecycle.

According to Forrester Research, a B2B prospect searching for a product can go through 70 to 90 percent of the product search, research, and evaluation process before reaching out to the vendor. The search for B2B providers takes place online. One thing that can help put the prospect in the pipeline is posting valuable content on your website, email, search, and social channels.

For emails that are regularly sent to your subscription list, half or more of the messages should be content, while less than half should be sales emails. If you send too many sales pitches and not enough good content, your unsubscribe rate increases. This also applies to your "mental" unsubscribe rate. This means that while users won't ask to be removed from your list, they just stop reading or even opening your email.

5. Establishes you as an expert. Publishing content in your industry, niche, or specialty will help you position yourself as a recognized authority in your field and potential customers would rather buy from knowledgeable experts than regular sellers. In a rapidly changing industry, content marketing can force your team to stay abreast of changes and trends, which can be invaluable to your product development efforts.

It shouldn't just be the job of the marketing team to generate all of the material that goes into your content marketing efforts. Account managers, SMBs, and even long-term customers and website visitors can be hired to create great content.

6. Educate the market. Content marketing supports your sales efforts, but its first mission is to educate and educate, not to have blatant product conversations. Nine out of ten of the top performing B2B content marketers put the information needs of their target group before the sales message of their company, reports the Content Marketing Institute.

A content management software (CMS) marketer was the first to integrate their CMS with analytics, e-commerce, and other applications. However, since the market has not yet understood the benefits of this integration, the marketer released a whitepaper explaining them with good results.

7. Increases sales. Content can be strategically disseminated at different steps in the buying cycle, making each step faster and ultimately increasing sales. The sales funnel leads most buyers through four phases: grabbing attention, generating interest, generating interest in the product, and asking about the order. Each stage can use both sales (copy) and education (content).

8. Improves the ranking and recognition of search engines. Search engines love new, relevant, indexed content. Hosting content on your website – whether through blog posts, white papers, or web copies – can improve your search engine rankings and increase the likelihood that customers will find your website. According to accounting firm Ignite Spot, a blog on your website results in 434 percent more pages indexed on Google and 97 percent more inbound links. By increasing your indexed pages and links, you make your website more reputable in the eyes of a search engine. Higher search engine rankings mean that interested parties are more likely to discover your website if they search for relevant keywords.

9. Increases web traffic. Search engine detection combined with social posts pointing to your website can significantly increase your web traffic. According to HubSpot, having 51 to 100 pages on your website (think of each blog post as a unique page) will generate 48 percent more traffic than under 50. Increased traffic means more engagement means more engagement revenue.

Did you like your book preview? Click here to get a copy today – now 60% off if you use code MARKET2021 by 4/3/21.

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