Understanding the value content marketing holds when it comes to fostering brand awareness, retention, leads and sales shouldn’t be ignored by the C-Suite in any organization. Whether you’re a B2C or a B2B company, developing high-quality content and promoting that content should be seen as a long-term strategy.
Getting organizational buy-in
In order for any business to survive you have to account for all dollars spent and the ROI. So, let’s start off with simple stats that will help you understand why so many companies – and in many cases, your competitors – are taking content marketing seriously to aid growth initiatives:
Great content drives purchase decisions (Nielsen 2014, Forrester 2015):
- 85% of consumers regularly seek out content from trusted experts when considering a purchase.
- Consumers engage with 11.4 pieces of content on average prior to making a purchase.
- By a factor of 3 to 1, B2B buyers educate themselves by going to sellers’ websites and learning about their offerings before making a purchase decision.
CMOs are investing heavily in content (Forrester 2015):
- Between 2013 and 2014, marketing leaders polled by Forrester saw content marketing budgets rise by over 30%.
- 57% of marketing leaders polled by Forrester saw top-line benefits such as increased sales or revenue from content marketing.
- 75% of marketing leaders polled by Forrester saw bottom-line outcomes, such as loyalty or reduced marketing or media expenses from content marketing in 2014.
Work smarter not harder with your content efforts
Don’t miss out on the opportunities to repurpose and reuse existing content pieces. Many companies create an editorial calendar and get so focused on how much content needs to be created and pumped out that they forget to reuse existing content pieces that have already been published.
Instead of getting caught up with creating the next piece of content, try the following:
- Turn popular blog posts into short ‘how-to’ videos and infographics.
- Gather similar blog posts and turn them into a downloadable whitepaper and eBooks or run a webinar.
- Look at your analytics to see when you receive the most engagement for a piece of content and re-promote it as sponsored content via social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
- Make sure you cross-promote other content pieces with newer blog posts. For instance, if you write a blog post on how small businesses can use Pinterest to get sales and also have an eBook on how to set up promoted pins, then make sure you promote this eBook at the bottom of the blog post.
Analytics should be your best friend
The best way to show the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts is to have the right analytics in place. Make sure you are tracking the following four simple funnel phases:
- Top-line KPIs (e.g. web visits, clicks, comments, shares, time-on-site, etc.) will help you see which type of content is actually getting the reach and engagement you are pushing for.
- From there, you’ll want to track actions taken with your content pieces which can account for new subscribers and downloaded content. Knowing these raw metrics will help you calculate the visit to lead %. A great overall metric you can present to your team (including the execs) to show progress.
- Next, understand the cycle from when the lead becomes an actual sale. This will help you calculate the lead to customer %. This phase is crucial for sales and marketing alignment. This will also help to ensure you have personalized content touch points throughout the buyer’s journey.
- Lastly, calculate the LTV (lifetime value) of each customer. Understand ‘where’ they found your content, ‘when’ they became a qualified lead and closed as a customer and ‘how’ long they were a loyal customer (recurring purchases or subscription based sign up).
Real business examples
For inspiration and validation, here are a few examples of businesses who have yielded stellar results with their content marketing efforts:
- DemandBase is a marketing technology provider that specializes in serving B2B brands. Recently, the firm used white papers, infographics, SlideShare, and webinars to source new leads for one of their campaigns. According to Top Rank Blog, the company generated 1,700 new leads and connected with 125 webinar viewers, helping them to generate over $1 million in new revenue through content marketing. (source)
- HubSpot proves that increasing your publishing cadence directly ties to greater customer acquisition. A 2014 HubSpot study found that 82% of marketers who blog daily acquired a customer using their blog vs. 57% of marketers who blog monthly. (source)
- Xerox yielded $1.3B in pipeline revenue via content marketing. Xerox created a targeted “Get Optimistic” campaign to connect with their top 30 accounts and partnered with Forbes to create a magazine that offered relevant business tips. Following the campaign, over 70% of targeted companies interacted with the microsite and readership increased 300-400% over previous email campaigns. Most importantly, they connected their content marketing efforts to bottom line pipeline. Through the campaign, Xerox added 20,000 new contacts, generated 1,000+ scheduled appointments and yielded $1.3 billion in pipeline revenue. (source)
- Crowe Horwath is a leading accounting and consulting firm. Their strategy consisted of generating nearly 50 different pieces of content centered around several topics of interest to their target customers, using all the following formats: case studies, infographics, video, and executive briefs. According to the Content Marketing Institute, this infographic generated nearly 800 new contacts, two of whom paid $250,000 for Crowe Horwath’s services. (source)
- Yale Appliance and the Power of Optimized Blogging (Boston-based Yale Appliance). Instead of simply writing for the sake of writing, Yale Appliance now has a focused and dedicated blogging strategy. This approach, honed through years of trial and error, emphasizes answering questions consumers ask daily, all while catching potential customers during the decision-making portion of the sales cycle. Thanks to this approach, Kuenn reports that Yale Appliance’s web traffic has tripled over the past year, in addition to boosting digital sales by 40 percent since 2009. (source)
Over to you
Know that even though you may not see immediate results from your content marketing efforts, keep in mind the longer-term role that it will play with business growth. The key to succeeding here is to be persistent, use analytics to your advantage and leverage technology to help you scale out your initiatives.
Are there any questions you had that I didn’t answer? Anything else I missed that should be added? Share them with me.