Long gone are the days when you could promote your business and attract new customers by means of traditional marketing methods such as TV commercials, newspaper ads, and spam emails.
Modern customers can now fast-forward your commercials, ignore your newspaper ads, and send pushy emails directly to spam. Banner blindness can render your marketing efforts completely useless.
Enter content marketing.
Being a subset of inbound marketing – and a core one for that matter, the content has the power to attract high-quality traffic to your website. Unlike traditional marketing in which customers come across your marketing message by chance thus making them passive recipients, content marketing is much more engaging and targeted.
In other words, you’re not reaching out directly to your potential customers in order to deliver your message. It’s them who find you through search engines while looking for answers to their questions and solutions to their problems.
Here’s what content marketing is and why it’s important for your business.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a digital strategy that relies on creating, publishing, and distributing high-quality, relevant, targeted content in order to attract and retain the right audience to your website.
The purpose of content is to promote your products or services in a subtle manner, educate your potential customers, and get them to convert. As we’ve already mentioned, consumers are fed up with disruptive marketing messages and sales pitches. They want to have a more active role when it comes to being marketed to. In other words, they want to see only the content and ads they’re interested in.
And that’s exactly what content marketing is all about.
No wonder that nearly 40% of marketers say that content marketing plays an important role in their overall marketing strategy.
You don’t have to pitch your products and services and annoy your potential customers. Instead of that, you create informational and entertaining content that offers solutions to your target audience’s pain points, enrich it with relevant keywords to improve its visibility, and wait for the traffic to start pouring in.
In order to help you understand why you should have a content marketing strategy in place, we’ve put together a list of advantages it will bring to your business.
1. It Helps You Build Brand Awareness and Reputation
Great content is one of the best and most cost-effective ways of building brand awareness and establishing trust with your audience.
Namely, 78% of consumers say they will trust a brand more if it creates customized content as that’s a sign that the brand in question is interested in establishing meaningful relationships with them.
If your content is relevant and helpful, it will create value for your prospects without asking for anything in return. As a result, your audience will be more likely to trust your advice.
Besides, if you post valuable content consistently, you’ll be able to reach more customers and position yourself as an authority in your industry. Your prospects and customers will help you achieve this by sharing your content with their network, and you’ll gradually amass a substantial following.
Finally, high-quality content will result in your prospects’ having a positive association with your company.
2. Content Marketing Boosts Conversions
Stats say that the conversion rates of content marketing are six times higher than those of other marketing methods.
The reason for this lies in the educational nature of blog posts and other content marketing pieces. When potential customers land on your website, they want to learn as much as possible about how your product or service will help them solve a certain pain point.
Talking about specifications and features won’t get you very far, as this kind of approach won’t tell your audience how they will benefit if they opt for your solution. But a well-researched and tailored blog post will help you connect the dots and explain how your product or service will improve your prospects’ lives.
When a potential customer lands on your website, it’s crucial to offer them the right information and help them make an educated purchasing decision. Explainer videos, case studies, and customer testimonials can do wonders for your conversion rates, as these types of content have the potential to nudge prospects into clicking the “Buy” button and completing a purchase.
3. It Improves Your Online Presence and Visibility
The synergy of content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) is a powerful cocktail that will improve the visibility of your brand and drive traffic to your website.
No matter how educational and valuable your content is, it will be virtually invisible on the internet unless it’s properly optimized for search engines. But, if you have an SEO strategy in place, your rankings will be better, which means that your content will appear in relevant searches. This will, in turn, result in more traffic to your website.
On the other hand, if your content is thin and generic, visitors will bounce after only a couple of seconds, and this parameter will be a red flag to the search engine that they haven’t found what they expected, and your rankings will suffer. Therefore, the first and most important step of a successful SEO strategy is creating high-quality content, as Google’s main goal is delivering the best and most relevant results to its users.
With the help of SEO, you can target your potential customers by strategically using the keywords they search for on the search engines in your content. Once they’re on your website, they will explore it further, so having plenty of content that they find interesting and educational will get them to stick around longer.
This higher dwell time will signal to Google that your content is valuable, and this fact will positively impact your visibility on search engines.
4. Content Marketing is a Cost-Effective Lead Generation Method
Given that a steady stream of fresh, high-quality leads is crucial for growing your business and boosting your sales, it’s obvious that you need to invest in an effective lead-generation strategy. But the trouble lies in the fact that many small businesses have limited marketing budgets.
Content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing while generating 3 times more leads, so you’ll get the most bang for your buck without breaking the bank.
However, you should take into consideration that both content marketing and SEO can be time-intensive, meaning that you won’t be able to see your results right away. Creating valuable content takes time and effort, and you can’t expect to churn out a number of great blog posts, videos, and case studies.
Sometimes it takes a couple of weeks until your metrics start to improve, but once you kick-start this process and start producing high-quality content regularly, your ROI will steadily and consistently grow.
5. It Helps You Establish Yourself as an Expert
Publishing high-quality, educational content will influence the way your potential customers think and feel about your brand. Your blog will become a go-to resource when they want to learn more about the industry or find a solution for a particular pain point.
If your content isn’t salesy and promotional, your audience will trust your recommendations and perceive you as a trustworthy industry authority. And, they will be more likely to purchase your products or services.
To additionally strengthen your reputation as an expert, it’s a good idea to reach out to respectable websites and popular industry influencers and offer them a guest post. Having your content published or shared by others will vouch for your credibility.
According to surveys, 94% of people conduct online research before they decide to buy, and if they see that your name keeps on popping up on different platforms and websites, they will be encouraged that your brand is the right choice.
6. It Produces Value in the Long Term
Once you create cornerstone and evergreen content, it will keep on yielding results by generating traffic a long time after it’s been published.
In other words, all the time and energy you invested in creating compounding blog posts will be worthwhile as it’s not only a one-time thing. Your website visitors will keep on reading these valuable resources thus indicating to Google that your content is worthy of the top spots in search results.
The key to such effective content is picking the topics that will be relevant to your target audience in the years to come. How-to blog posts and detailed, step-by-step guides that you’ll revisit and update every couple of months will be your staple pieces that will only get better as they age.
7. It Helps You Build Meaningful Relationships With Your Customers
Just like great content will attract new customers and help you build trust with them, it will also keep those who already purchased from you coming back.
40% of e-commerce revenue comes from repeat customers, and that shows how important they are for the success of any business. It’s obvious that you have to nurture such customers and strengthen relationships with them during the post-purchase process.
One of the best ways to do this and ensure that they stay loyal is by providing exceptional content. Informative, visual content and different guides on how to make the most of your product or service will show them that your goal isn’t only to sell and take their money, as well as that their satisfaction matters to you.
If you go out of your way to maximize the value of your solution by helping your customers become proficient users, you increase your chances of turning them into brand ambassadors who will tell others about you and promote your brand.
And helpful content is at the core of this tactic.
8. Content Marketing Supports Other Digital Marketing Strategies
Almost every other digital marketing strategy heavily relies on high-quality content.
Most businesses use email, PPC ads, social media, and a number of other strategies in order to attract their potential customers and engage them.
Let’s take email marketing as an example.
If you want your recipients to read your email and take action, you need to capture their attention with compelling copy. And, essentially, effective email copy is a great piece of content. In addition to that, when you want to nurture your prospects through email, you will send them some valuable resources such as industry reports, whitepapers, or blogs in order to move them through your sales funnel. And as you already notice, these resources are your existing content.
Similarly, everything you publish on your social media channels also qualifies as content. Videos, podcasts, infographics, and webinars that you share with your Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram following can’t be observed separately from your content marketing strategy as they’re its integral part.
In a nutshell, great content is the driver of engagement even when it comes to other digital marketing strategies.
9. It Can Humanize Your Brand
Showing the human facet of your brand isn’t exactly easy, and it’s important if you want to connect with your customers on a more meaningful level.
However, with the right kind of content, you can showcase your brand voice and character. For example, behind-the-scenes photos and videos, introducing your employees, and customer testimonials can be an excellent way of presenting your company in a more humanized way.
That way your customers won’t perceive it as a corporate entity whose only purpose is making a profit.
Don’t refrain from letting a little personality show in your blog posts, social media posts, and other pieces of content as it will allow your customers to relate to your brand and develop an emotional connection with it.
Besides, a more personal approach will prompt your customers to start conversations with you on social media and in the comment section of your blog post. And successful marketing is interactive and relies on two-way communication with your customers.
All the benefits we discussed above clearly show why content marketing is a crucial strategy for every business regardless of its size and industry. Building strong relationships with your customers, improving the visibility of your brand, and increasing conversions in a cost-effective way is what this strategy offers, so make sure to include it in your overall marketing efforts.