One of the biggest questions companies have about content marketing is; does it really help me increase sales? The simple answer is yes. Yet, sometimes connecting the dots between content marketing and sales isn’t so simple. Why? Because it’s not always a direct connection. Let me explain, but first let’s take a step back and review what content marketing is and why it is getting so much attention.
What is Content Marketing?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
How Does Content Marketing Help your Sales People?
A good sales person knows their products and services inside and out. They can answer any question about the features and benefits. They spend a great percentage of their time educating potential customers about those features and how they will benefit the customer.
The study reveals that successful salespeople know about their products and services. But relating this information to a potential client takes up a great amount of time. This allocation of time is necessary with each lead since a single salesperson is not scalable.
What if you could replicate this consumer education, confidence building and discussion that a salesperson would normally provide, but instead do it by using content? And, what if this content worked for you 24/7 instead of 9-5, Monday-Friday?
Content marketing can do just that.
Content marketing can bring leads through your sales funnel to a point where a salesperson validates what they’ve already learned and uses their valuable time to sign them up. In fact, research has shown that, in some cases, 70% of the buyer’s journey is complete prior to talking with a salesperson.
1. Content Marketing Creates Awareness
Have you ever heard, “I had no idea you provided this product or services?” Use content to create awareness of your products and services. Reach potential customers at the very top of the sales funnel before they’ve even made a decision on what they need.
2. Content Marketing Educates
“They ask, you answer.” Think about how many times you search the web by using a question. Many searchers are asking full-fledged 7-9 word question rather than typing in a short 2-3 word keyword phrases. Smartphones have accelerated this kind of search. Users are holding up their phones and speaking searches like:
- How much does X cost?
- Product A vs. Product B
- How do I XYZ?
- How long is the product warranty for X?
70% of people want to learn about products through content vs. through traditional advertisements. The old adage, knowledge is power, rings true with the Internet and the ability to find out anything about a product or service.
3. Content Marketing Builds Trust
If you publish frequently, your content will build trust not only with your potential clients but also with the search engines. Search engines want to deliver the very best content possible to the audience using their engine. If you publish frequently, the search engines will immediately suck up your content and index it. If you’ve done a good job with basic SEO, you’ll start to rank as well. Your potential clients will trust you more as you are providing transparency around your products and services.
4. Content Marketing Builds Relationships
Your content draws leads into your sales funnel. Publishing on a frequent basis allows users to interact with you on a regular basis…building a relationship. Sales will happen as a natural byproduct of this relationship that you’re building with your potential customer.
5. Content Marketing Reinforces your Brand
A brand is a promise. It’s an expectation of an experience. Content marketing has been called the “new branding” as it consistently reaches your potential and current clients and reinforces that promise.
You need sales and product information on your site with specific details so users can understand your offerings and compare and contrast them to others. This kind of content is not what is considered content marketing in the normal sense, but is necessary to support your brand and service or product information. Keep the sales content separate from your ongoing content marketing efforts.
Content marketing takes information about your company to the next level by providing transparency, thought leadership in your space and in-depth knowledge about you and your products and services. Your brand has a story to tell and content marketing does just that. In fact, deploying a well-thought-out content marketing strategy can bring a brand ‘to life.’ Content marketing is a powerful tool that you can use to communicate your company values, style and voice to help build your brand.
6. Content Marketing Helps Retain Customers
The playing field has changed in the business world. Now, at a minimum, you need to provide ‘excellent’ customer service. Businesses that take the time to create content can shape their customer’s experience and build customer loyalty.
Content marketing continues long after the sale as it constantly reminds the customer of you and your business. In order to build customer loyalty, provide additional value through your content long after the sale is done.
Content marketing is not a channel or a technology; it’s an all-in strategy. You can’t just ‘do’ content marketing; it needs to become part and parcel of how you approach your entire marketing. Content marketing lives up to the ABC’s of selling…always-be-closing.
Content Marketing doesn’t replace salespeople but it does make their job easier and helps close more sales faster. Content is for closers!
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