By L. Blake Harvey, Chief Executive, Lawrence Blake Group Int’l.
First off, what exactly is content marketing? Content marketing is the creation and sharing of valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into buyers, and customers into repeat buyers. The types of content you create is closely related to what you sell - in other words, you're informing and educating people so they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you. Content marketing uses blogs, podcast, video, and social media websites as a vehicle.
Content marketing is a relatively new concept, with most smaller and even mid-sized businesses not fully developing a means of sharing valuable content across their networks. Think of it - what happens when a customer visits your website? Where do they spend the most time browsing? What action do they generally take, if any? And most importantly, what are you doing to get them to come back to your website, follow your social media profiles, or make a purchase?
In recent years, most businesses have come to understand the importance of setting up a clear and easy-to-understand call to action on their website, as well as via their social media profiles. For your website, your call to action is generally for customers to make a purchase. For your social media profiles, you generally want to encourage visitors to go to your website, and make a purchase. This creates a funnel where both your website and social media profiles are actively directing prospects to your purchasing process.
But what happens when you aren't capturing your visitor's attention? They are simply browsing your website, then leaving. This is not what you want. This, is where content marketing comes in.
Here are three reasons content marketing is worth the investment.
- Hundreds of millions of Internet users are using ad-blocking technology. This technology is not your year 2000 pop-up blocker. This is sophisticated technology that blocks in-site ads, as well as other sometimes annoying ads. If advertising this way, the traditional way, isn't as effective because less people are seeing your ads, you have to come up with other means of reaching your target customers. Content marketing allows you to do that. By creating valuable content that customers actually want to read, listen, or watch, you sidestep the traditional digital advertising model, and capture their attention in a wiser way.
- Content marketing produces brand recall which dramatically increases engagement. According to a 2015 IBM Digital Experience Survey, 56% of marketers believe that personalized content provided higher engagement rates. This means that websites with valuable blog, video, podcast, and photo content do better in both attracting and retaining new audiences. This is vital, and unarguably, the main reason why your business even has a digital presence, right?
- On average, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional outbound marketing, and it generates three times more leads. Many new marketers may think that content marketing requires a substantial financial investment, but it really doesn't have to. Of course, you can pour unlimited amounts of money into creating content, but that's not necessary to success. You can begin creating valuable content right now. Pick a topic, any topic that relates to your industry, and that you feel would be interesting and informative to your customers and prospects. From there, decide which ways you'd like to share this content; written blog, podcast, video, or photos (ex: info graphics). Now get started!