The truth is, inbound marketing generates 54% more leads than traditional outbound marketing methods.
As always with content marketing, it is best to see the benefits by putting ourselves in the shoes of customers and not business owners.
Content Marketing Helps Customers Find Answers
Let’s say that we have frequent back pain and the doctors and chiropractor weren’t much help. Where is the first place we head to? For a majority of us, this place is the internet.
To be more precise, a search engine like Google. So what do we do next? We go to Google and type in something like “What is causing daily pain in my lower back?”
Google populates the SERPs (results pages) with articles discussing all the different causes of our pain. They all look similar to us so we click on the first result because, why scroll?
We click the article and open up a page that starts out by talking about the exact pain that we have! They describe the place and discomfort perfectly.
They even have detailed infographics showing what each type of back pain can be from and what causes each. As we continue to read this great article, about 2/3rds down the page they have a link to another article they wrote about how to get rid of the pain we’re having.
Our lucky day! So we click that link and sure enough, it mentions some great tips that temporarily relieve some of the pain. We notice that the pain has definitely improved but not gone away.
Good thing we didn’t close our laptops because on that same page is a product that cures lower back pain. How convenient!
These guys that own this business clearly know what they’re talking about because they just laid out in detail my exact problem and how to fix it.
I trust these guys with helping my back get right. So I go ahead and purchase that back pain medicine and wait for it to come in my mail.
That is the entire goal of content marketing. It seemed so simple but there were so many key elements involved that led to a sale by that company.
So what did they do to get a sale? They didn’t show a commercial during the Super Bowl of why their product can help back pain. And if they did, would that have really been more effective?
These days, people have gained the innate ability to tune out the background noise and filter out all of the advertisements in their everyday lives.
They drive by billboards every day to work, they watch commercials in between their favorite basketball games, and they scroll right past the AdWords ads on the top of the Google Search Results.
How Content Marketing Establishes Trust With Consumers
The average person has lost their trust in these types of ads and basically have filtered them out of their lives.
So what did the company above do differently? They let the customer come to them. They didn’t force us to see something we weren’t already searching for, but as soon as we did search for something, they were right there to provide valuable answers to us.
The Goal of Content Marketing is Not to Make a Sale (on the first contact)
That is where the first pillar and cornerstone of content marketing lies. The objective cannot be to gain a sale. The objective always needs to be providing value to our customers.
The first way the company did this was by answering questions about a common problem in their industry. Since they sell a product that helps back pain, it makes a lot of sense to try to answer any questions that people may have in their industry.
How Content Marketing Establishes You as a Thought Leader and Builds Trust
The content you read also built a lot of trust with us when we read their article. The fact that the article was so precise and felt like they were in our heads when we read it, really led us as readers to think and say “You know what, these guys really know their stuff. Any time I have a question about back pain I know where to go”
And that’s the power of content marketing. Building trust and credibility within our industry so that whenever someone has an issue, they think of us as the first place to come to for help.
Writing For Customers in Various Stages of the Sales Funnel
Usually, in your overall content strategy, you have different content for people at different stages in the buying cycle. Typically the 3 stages are
It is best to be aware of what stage your customer is most likely in while reading your content. If they’re still in the awareness phase then I suggest you don’t bombard them with pushy sales tactics.
You want to write accordingly. If someone is all the way down into the Decision phase of the cycle, now would be a good time to explain why your product or service is the right choice for them instead of one of your competitors.
One of the most important reasons that content marketing can be so successful is that you should always have the right content for the right time.
Unlike a commercial that can be seen by millions of people, that couldn’t be less interested in your service that you sell, with content marketing, normally only the people that are actually interested in what you do are the ones seeing your stuff. This saves a lot of wasted ad budget.
High Quality Content Which Answers Customer Questions
Let’s not overlook possibly the most beneficial reason that we do content marketing in the first place. For most new businesses, you aren’t Coca-Cola where everyone knows that you exist.
So we need more people to know about us, and we do this by driving more traffic to our website. Content Marketing is the bread and butter of an overall traffic strategy.
This happens through creating extremely great content that can answer all potential questions as we did earlier with the back pain.
If you only had a product page for the back pain medicine do you think that same person with the back pain above would have bought from you, or found your website at all? The chances are slim.
By adding value up front and not asking for a sale, it increases the number of people that can actually come to your site and see what you have to offer.