You have a problem. The phone isn’t ringing. You need to fill your pipeline and hit your sales goals. You aren’t happy with the the marketing tactics you are using, and you know your website can be utilized as a more effective sales and marketing tool. The solution? Develop and implement content marketing.
What is content marketing? Here is a great definition from Corey Wainright at Hubspot:
Content marketing is a marketing program that centers on creating, publishing, and distributing content for your target audience -- usually online -- the goal of which is to attract new customers.
The most common components of a content marketing program are social media networks, blogs, visual content, and premium content assets -- like tools, ebooks, or webinars.
I’m inclined to just use the term “digital marketing” because content marketing is a component of an overall online marketing strategy. Since most of our time is spent online, either through our phones or our computers, it’s where the bulk of our attention is held and where companies have been experiencing the greatest marketing ROI over the past several years. That trend is only going to grow in the near future.
So, what are the components to a successful marketing plan that is designed to bring in more sales? We have identified the following 6-step process that covers the basics of the content marketing methodology.
1. Create a strategy and identify the tactics to use
Begin by identifying your goals and objectives, your ideal customers, where they spend their time online, and defining key performance indicators as well as how you will measure ROI.
2. Create and maintain a strong website
This sounds obvious, but a great site is one that makes it easy for your ideal users to navigate and interact with you, AND allows you to build new pages or add content frequently. Develop your website using a solid, open source content management system (CMS) such as Concrete5 (our favorite) or WordPress, then apply solid user experience (UX) principles. Once your site is built, constantly monitor your goals in Google Analytics to understand your site’s performance and where your visitors are dropping off.
3. Generate more traffic (Blogging, Social Media, SEO)
This is where the rubber hits the road. Create content that is useful and informative to your ideal clients, and then publicize that content on social media. Blog articles can generate up to 55% more traffic for your site, and two-thirds of internet users are on social media1. Bottom line: if you aren’t publishing content, you are missing out on potential sales. Be sure to use an SEO expert to ensure that your content is optimized. This is important, since 46% of internet searches are specifically for products and services. You can also use PPC, Facebook ads, and other paid methods of generating traffic to your site.
4. Convert traffic to leads (Create an offer, capture email, nurture leads)
This is the heart of content marketing. By offering white papers, buyer’s guides, eBooks, webinars, podcasts, and demos in exchange for email and other contact information, you convert your visitors to leads. This allows you opportunity to connect with these leads to build a relationship.
5. Convert leads to sales (Nurture leads via email and phone)
Add email information to your CRM or your email campaign software, then use your software to connect with your leads and engage with them. By providing targeted, specific information that is of interest to them, you nurture the relationship and lead them further down the sales funnel. By following up and providing helpful information and answering questions, the sales staff can convert these leads to sales.
6. Measure your website data. Adjust monthly.
Google Analytics can help you set goals for your website and measure its performance. Some metrics to include:
• Traffic to leads
• Leads to customers
• Cost per lead
• Cost per customer
Telling your story and offering valuable information is the basis for a solid digital marketing strategy. By understanding the basic concepts of the content marketing process, you can build a powerful sales tool that will position you as a trusted expert and help you target and land clients you really want.
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