Content marketing is now almost ubiquitous in the world of digital marketing, with almost 90% of all businesses using a content strategy to increase brand visibility and engage with their audiences over social media.
Many companies were initially slow to adopt content marketing, fearing that it would provide a minimal return on investment, in spite of there being a lot of work involved. However, content is undoubtedly the king of modern marketing, and any company that does not have a content strategy is likely to be missing out.
Since the end goal of any marketing campaign is ultimately to drive sales, consider the following tips for increasing your return on investment with content marketing.
1. Demonstrate Your Product
If video is part of your content marketing strategy, which it should be, you'll find that it presents the perfect medium for demonstrating a product. There's no better way to inspire people by actually showing your product in action, since it provides a more down-to-earth approach that your intended audience is actually likely to find interesting and useful.
It is important to keep such video demonstrations on the shorter side as much as possible, not least because most consumers have a fairly short attention span during their time spent online.
Aside from video, there are sales enablement tools out there that allow you share, collaborate and edit sales collateral with your prospects...which is an excellent way to get them involved beyond a typical screenshare or conference call.
2. Curate User-Generated Content
As you build up a community around your brand by way of social media and content marketing, you'll see an increase in feedback, both positive and negative, from your target audience. Provided that you approach your marketing strategy in the right way and deliver genuine value with your content, the vast majority of feedback should be positive. You can curate and publish this user-generated content on your own website in the form of testimonials (be sure to ask for permission first) and post links to third-party reviews of your products or services. After all, your social media audience has the potential to become the biggest advocate for your brand.
3. Embed Calls to Action
Not every piece of content necessarily has to include a call to action, especially if it starts sounding too promotional in nature. However, a subtle call to action should be included often in order to guide the reader towards the next step. Each piece of content should have a clearly defined goal. For example, you might publish a blog post about an upcoming product or service, in which case you may be hoping to attract more subscribers to your mailing lists. Include a clear call to action close to the top of the page so that readers do not have to scroll down to find it.
4. Educate Your Audience
Brands are under increasing pressure every year to become thought leaders in their niches, and by educating your audience through your content, you can start to showcase your brand as an authority. Instead of being promotional, content is a great way to educate your readership by helping them to get more out of your product or become more familiar with the subject matter around it. Millions of people turn to the web every day to seek help and advice, and if you can offer clear and concise answers to their questions, you'll have a major advantage.
5. Diversify Your Content
While blog posts and social media status updates continue to be important, content marketing doesn't stop here. In fact, brands are also feeling more pressure to diversify their content strategies to take into account the increasing number of ways that people access and consume content. Moving beyond simple blog posts, your content marketing strategy should also make use of visual media such as video, illustrations and infographics.
6. Create Unique Content Strategies for Different Social Networks
Social media marketing and content go hand-in-hand, but it is important that you do not lose your voice through automation and taking shortcuts in the hopes of quicker results. Each social network has its own distinct audience and best practices, so you cannot simply approach every one of them in the same manner. LinkedIn, for example, caters to a much more professionally orientated audience than Facebook, while Twitter is very specifically focused on short, to-the-point messages. Maintain a different posting schedule and content strategy for each network so that you can take advantage of the unique characteristics that they have to offer.
7. Focus on Funnel Stages
Great content is always centered around a specific buyer persona. However, the best content takes it a layer deeper by focusing on what stage of the sales or marketing funnel that buyer is in. For example, you wouldn't want to share a blog article on why your product is awesome to someone who's already bought it from you (although there are times when this is still relevant). Instead, send them content geared toward complimentary services/products you offer to maximize any upsell opportunities.
8. Automate Lead Nurturing Content
Some sales professionals are consistent at following up and some are most definitely not. Marketing automation software can assist sales teams buy engaging online prospects in pre-set lead nurturing campaigns that further educate and qualify buyers. This not only keeps all incoming leads on track but also allows for increased accountability.
9. Don't Be Afraid to "Go Postal"
Whoa there, I don't mean you should walk into an office and get crazy with a fully automatic. Dead people can't buy things (what, too much?). We're talking about postal, as in direct mail. When we think of content, we almost always refer to digital content but there are some simple forms of direct mail that can really assist in closing those deals.
10. Know the Flow
In order to truly boost your sales from content, you've got to know what your typical buyer's journey looks like. We're really talking about your personas here and how best to guide them through the awareness, consideration and buying processes. Knowing that flow and being able to map it out a universal version that both marketing and sales can share will really help you craft some savvy (and profitable) content.