According to the Content Marketing Association, 68% of consumers read content from brands they love. Consumers have shut off the traditional world of marketing. They own a DVR to skip television advertising, often ignore magazine advertising, and now have become so adept at online “surfing” that they can take in online information without a care for banners or buttons. Smart marketers understand that traditional marketing is becoming less and less effective and that there has to be a better way. Enter content marketing.
Content marketing is any marketing format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers. This information can be presented in a variety of formats, including news, video, blog articles, photos, etc. Content marketing is focused not on selling, but on simply communicating with the target audience.
In an environment in which consumers’ attention is increasingly fragmented, the idea of using content to capture interest and engagement is catching on among marketers. According to a recent survey by “Demand Matric” 78% of Chief Marketing Officers believe Content Marketing is the future of marketing.
- 60% of B2C marketers expect an increase in content marketing spending in the coming year.
Content serves two masters: your customers and search engines
- A study by Kapost and Eloqua found that content marketing ROI outweighed the ROI of paid search (a temporary investment that is widely believed to be the most cost-effective marketing tactic) by more than three times.
- In the study, only 9 leads were generated by paid search, while 31 leads were generated by content marketing.
- The cost-per-lead for paid search was $111.11.
- The cost-per-lead for content marketing was $32.25.
A blog is a simple, easy-to-use platform for connecting with and sharing timely and relevant information with customers. It’s your direct communication channel with your target audience. Your blog fuels SEO. Search engines love valuable content and will reward you for it.
- 82% of marketers who blog daily reported seeing a positive ROI for their overall inbound marketing efforts
- 72% of B2C marketers said they are producing more content now, compared with a year ago. That number is even higher for the most effective marketers (77%) and those who have a documented content marketing strategy (81%).
In order to secure loyal customers, it's important to have an online content marketing strategy that offers zero-cost information to those who will view it or listen to it. Content marketing done right works no matter what.
1. Brand awareness or reinforcement
This is almost always the first thing that is thought of when you look at content marketing. The goal may be that you are just trying to find a more effective way than advertising to create awareness for your product or service.
2. Lead conversion and nurturing
The most basic part of inbound marketing is the conversion metric. How you define a lead will vary — but from a content marketing perspective, this is where you have (through the exchange of engaging content) encouraged someone to give up enough information about themselves that you now have permission to “market” to them.
3. Customer loyalty/retention
Just like you have a planned lead nurturing process to turn prospects into customers, you also need a planned customer retention strategy.
4. Passionate subscribers
If you can successfully move customers to this stage, you have really accomplished something. Content — and especially content generated by satisfied customers — can be one of the most powerful ways for us to reach any business goal. This is when content marketing starts to work for you exponentially.