Content marketing is a hot topic.
We’re getting tons of questions from our clients asking what it is and whether or not it can help them make more money.
So, here’s a quick rundown on what content marketing is and how you may be able to use it to increase your flow of new business.
Content marketing, in a nutshell, is using various types of content to provide information that your users are looking for at various stages of your marketing funnel or sales cycle. This content can be in just about any form, including:
- Social media posts
- Digital magazines
Content marketing utilizes your website, blog, social media, and email to share valuable content with people that are considering doing business with you, and it pulls them through to the next stage of your sales funnel.
You can also target people that are already customers of yours to keep them engaged and buying with greater frequency.
(By the way…. we see this as such an integral [and profit-generating] part of digital marketing that several members of our team have become certified content marketing specialists. We’re using it, and it’s bringing in a bunch of new business for us and the people that we’ve helped with their content marketing plan.)
Content Marketing Absolutely Helps You Make More Money
The basis for content marketing revolves around writing really valuable content, then marketing it to the right audience.
The right audience is determined by where they are in your marketing funnel...
- Are they aware that they have a problem, or that you might be able to solve it?
- Are they comparing their options and deciding who can solve their problem?
- Are they sold on you, and ready to make a purchase?
If someone has already visited your website several times, read a couple of articles, and checked out your pricing page…
You probably wouldn’t want to send them an article highlighting why they might need your services in the first place - they’re already past that point.
You might want to show them a customer story, or a great testimonial from a successful client instead. Something that makes them go, “yeah, that could be me, I wanna do that, too!”
But I Already Do SEO, Do I Need to Do Content Marketing, Too?
The short answer? Yes.
Content marketing and SEOwork hand in hand to maximize the results you get from your website traffic. It can also add to the traffic you’re getting in other ways, too.
The truth is, if you’re doing SEO, your website is already there to be seen by 90% of the consumers out there who are actively looking for your products or services.
How many of those users visit your site rather than the other sites on page one, and of those, how many of those contact you?
Let’s say that your main keyword gets 1,000 searches a month.
On average, 90%, or 900, of those users will select from the organic listings.
If you are towards the top of the page, or have a great marketing message in your site’s description, you might be getting up to half of those visits every month, so around 450.
If your site has the industry average of a 2% conversion rate, you might be getting 9 leads a month from that search term.
That leaves not only the other 441 site visitors, but the other 550 of the original 1,000 searchers that didn’t go to your site.
That’s 991 people that might still need your services!
By pairing content marketing with your SEO, you can reach the rest of the active searchers, and better convert those who didn’t reach out to you on their first visit.
What About for Those Aspirational Types Who Always Want to Do More? (Hint: This is Where Branding Comes Into the Equation)
There’s probably another two-thirds of the market that you could be getting if you were to cover all fronts!
The thing that content marketing brings to the table, and what sets it apart in the digital marketing world, is that it gives you the ability to win over future customers before they necessarily know they even need your services.
Think about that for a second - your competitors are probably only targeting consumers who are actively searching for help.
Large and successful brands know that bringing in the most business takes a little forethought.
That’s why you’ll see articles like “How to Increase Home Office Productivity” from a company that sells small business accounting software.
What question is your target market asking right before they realize they need your help?
That’s the subject matter of your first content marketing piece!
The idea is to help them out and earn their trust beforehand - so when they realize they need some help (of course your content will help them realize that), it’s your brand they have first and foremost in their minds, and you who they turn to. And that is essentially what branding entails in today's world.
How Do I Implement a Content Marketing Plan For My Business?
Well, as you’re seeing… this isn’t simply posting links to your blog posts on social media.
It requires well-targeted advertising (relax - it’s very low priced). Facebook makes it fairly easy to find people interested in your product or service.
Your content needs to be written to give free, valuable information to people that may be interested in your product or service and at the same time get them to see you or your brand as an authority in your field.
This is NOT a sales message and it’s not about you.
This content helps solve a problem that the potential customer has, or gives them some info that provides value to them while they research or shop. This is free information, and it’s typically not “gated” content, meaning you are not asking for any info from this person in exchange for them reading it...not yet, anyway.
The early goal here is to make potential customers aware of their problem, and your company’s solution.
If you’re a kitchen remodeler, you know that people research the idea before they make an appointment with one of your designers.
So….give them something that helps them and positions you as an expert.
In the above exercise, if you’re a kitchen remodeler, and you figured out that before a homeowner decides he or she needs their kitchen remodeled, they might be looking for ways they can make a small kitchen feel larger, or how to modernize an older home, you now have your first article laid out.
A couple of other ideas might be to give them a blog post that outlines the 5 things they absolutely should know prior to remodeling, or perhaps a post on how to determine the ballpark figure on what it will cost them to remodel their kitchen.
Then you’d want to promote that article to homeowners in your target area.
Make an Irrefusable Offer
Once people have visited your article, you can “pixel” them (a pixel is a piece of code that tracks the visitor - it’s also called a cookie. I’m sure you’ve seen these ads on Facebook and Google as you bounce around the Net) so that you can later send them targeted marketing messages and offers based on what they are interested in.
Then, if they haven’t reached out to you yet, you retarget them with relevant marketing messages to pull them through to the next step of your funnel as they surf the Internet.
This will keep you at the top of their minds, and your offer at their fingertips.
For the homeowner who was interested in making their small kitchen feel larger, we now want to go back in with an irrefusable offer that flows smoothly from what they were interested in and will soon bridge the gap to what you are selling.
You can start by offering them a “lead magnet,” which is:
A valuable piece of information that you give in exchange for their email address.
In the kitchen remodeler example - the lead magnet may be something like:
“The Ultimate Kitchen Remodeling Checklist That Will Help You Avoid Mistakes and Cost Overruns”
Whatever the offer, it needs to offer true value, enough that the prospective customer will be happy to trade their e-mail address in exchange for it.
This process also moves people from the stage of just becoming aware of you to evaluating you and your company as the solution for them.
Now that you have their email address, you can send a series of emails that will be super friendly and help move these potential customers through the process of becoming an actual customer.
What Can Content Marketing Do For My Business?
Content marketing, including this series of emails, is designed to move people through the customer journey and make them your customer.
(The customer journey is the path that people take from not knowing who you are to becoming aware of you, evaluating you, and converting to your customer.)
That’s all it does. But it gets your prospective customers to know you, like you, trust you, and then do business with you.
This works as part of the SEO strategy for any type of business. Contractors, attorneys, doctors, retailers, etc.
The consumer has changed. The Internet has made things very different than they were even 10 years ago...
Consumers research like crazy before reaching out to a company for help or to buy.
Heck, they even search the Net before buying locally at a retail store a high percentage of the time.
This is a pretty quick idea of what content marketing is and how to use it. This can be expanded tremendously, and can actually require a full-time employee if you want your company to be big enough. And this can pay for itself many times over.
If you aren’t doing this….you are leaving a ton of money on the table.
Feel free to ask us your questions about content marketing, or anything related to digital marketing!
This post was written by Joe Webb. Joe has been in the online marketing field since 1997. He has been providing search engine optimization to small to mid sized businesses for more than 10 years. He also holds multiple certifications in digital marketing.