Today’s buyers want, need, and expect content from your brand. According to Forbes, the average person spends about seven hours a day consuming content. Hubspot reported that 79% of online shoppers spend at least 50% of their shopping time researching products, and the Content Marketing Institute found that 61% of online consumers in the U.S. decided to purchase after reading recommendations on a blog.
Content marketing is essential if you want to develop your brand presence, grow audience engagement, and ultimately drive sales. Offering current and prospective buyers high-quality, engaging, and consistent content establishes your brand’s expertise, authority, and trust, three criteria that are pivotal to generating website traffic.
Most importantly, content marketing connects to and supports all facets of your digital marketing strategy — email, website, PPC (pay-per click), social media, etc. When content marketing serves as the unifying element to your overall digital strategy, the various aspects of your campaigns integrate more effectively so you can guide buyers through every step of the funnel to a sale.
There are many more reasons content marketing is vital for both B2C and B2B brands. Keep reading to learn more about the importance of content marketing.
Content Marketing Unifies Your Digital Marketing Strategy
One central element in the importance of content marketing is that it unifies your entire digital marketing strategy by nurturing buyers through the sales funnel, guiding them from one stage to the next toward a purchase. Here’s how:
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the strategy of creating quality content for use across various digital marketing channels. The difference between content marketing and traditional marketing lies in the value offered to the reader. Traditional marketing focuses on everything the brand wants the world to know. In contrast, content marketing focuses more on the reader’s wants and needs by answering their questions, showing them how to solve a problem, and generally providing information of value and relevance at no cost to them.
What is the Sales Funnel?
The sales funnel defines different stages of the buying process so marketers can identify where buyers are in the funnel and create a plan to guide them toward a purchase. The funnel is divided into the top, middle, and bottom:
- Top: Buyers identify a problem they need to solve and search for a solution. Content should educate them about what options are available.
- Middle: Buyers evaluate different options and look for more detailed information about each.
- Bottom: Buyers are ready to choose an option and need a final push. This nudge might be a discount or special offer.
Once you’ve identified your ideal customer’s typical journey through the sales funnel, you can begin creating content designed to guide them from one stage to the next. Once you have content in place, measuring things like website conversions helps you chart progress to understand what content is working well and where there are opportunities to optimize.
7 Examples of the Importance of Content Marketing
1. Learn More About Your Ideal Customer
You can learn about the demographics of your audience through data. Over time, this data compounds so you can understand your ideal customer’s journey through your campaigns more and more clearly. These insights help you identify what kind of content has been most valuable to your audience and where there are opportunities for optimization.
For example, you may track engagement rates on social media posts, which eBooks people download, which videos people watch, and which blogs posts people read and share. This information is essential to understand what resonates with your audience most so you can develop more accurate buyer personas and target your campaigns to them more effectively.
2. Build Audience Loyalty and Retention
According to Harvard Business Review, it is between 5 and 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than retain and satisfy an existing customer. In addition, it’s 16 times more expensive to bring a new customer up to the same level as a current loyal customer, says Small Business Trends.
These statistics demonstrate the importance of content marketing to both new buyers and past purchasers. Targeting existing customers with your content marketing strategy will help you encourage repeat sales while simultaneously increasing brand loyalty. BIA Kelsey discovered that 60% of Small and Midsize Businesses (SMBs) say half their revenue is coming from repeat customers, so you can see how critical this tactic is for growing businesses.
If you aren’t sure where to start with retention-focused content, here are a few ideas:
- Common product problems and solutions / frequently asked questions
- Feature guides and how-to-use instructions
- Case studies
- News about upgrades and added features
- Installation, customer service, warranties
3. Generate More Leads and Boost Conversions
Audiences viewing your content are more likely to follow your calls-to-action (CTAs) to generate new leads and purchase from you in the future. Including clear and direct CTAs within valuable and relevant content capitalizes on the positive impression the content has generated and can nudge your reader further down the sales funnel. The better the content, the more likely they’ll make a purchase.
4. Enhance Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Consistent, quality content is pivotal to improving your search engine rankings so your business can build up its online visibility, trust, and authority. Good content helps search engines understand the purpose of your business so you can bring more organic traffic to your website.
Creating a high volume of content doesn’t necessarily result in more traffic, but it allows you to rank for more keywords and encourages visitors to spend more time on your site, which helps your ranking. Quality is more important than quantity overall. Google’s algorithm, for example, highly favors good quality content and ranks poor quality content lower. Plus, high-quality content is attractive for other websites that will share it with their audience, creating backlinks that increase your search engine ranking.
5. Build Brand Awareness and Amplify Your Reach
Quality content is a great way to improve your engagement on social media by showcasing your brand’s personality and values. Sharing information that your audience is interested in through your unique perspective can be powerfully memorable and establishes a warm relationship with your brand before a purchase is even made.
With social media quickly becoming as big of a content source as search engines, you have the opportunity to establish yourself as an industry leader. Content that explains solutions to common problems is often considered especially shareable, and shareable content on social media has the potential to amplify your audience significantly.
6. Demonstrate Industry Authority
As your audience sees more and more quality content coming from your brand, they will see you as more and more trustworthy. Giving them relevant and valuable information without asking for anything in return speaks volumes about your brand’s values and esteem for your customers.
Helping consumers make more educated purchasing decisions demonstrates your expertise in your industry. As your brand authority builds, search engines will be more likely to send quality organic traffic your way.
7. Save Costs and Improve Digital Marketing Return On Investment (ROI)
Content marketing has maintained its position as the most cost-effective marketing strategy available. According to the DemandMetric, content marketing generates more than 3 times as many leads as traditional advertising methods, and costs 62% less. Companies that regularly update their blogs generate 55% more website visitors and receive 97% more inbound links with 434% more indexed pages (IMPACT). This makes content marketing especially important for businesses with small marketing budgets looking to grow — small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than those without.
The key component to a strong ROI is to use the data available to create a clear description of your ideal customer and what content will interest them.
Why Content Marketing is So Important for B2B
More than anything else, content marketing by B2B brands should be valuable and full of information that helps your audience solve a problem. In addition, it is vital that your content positions your brand as a leader and trusted expert for them to turn to. Content marketing is so important for B2B organizations for the same reasons as above, plus:
- Content marketing can help you explain and demonstrate your most complex services or products in an easy-to-understand way.
- Content marketing allows you to target particular segments of your audience.
- Content marketing is one of the easiest ways for B2Bs to not only generate leads, but valuable, qualified leads.
Start Taking Advantage of the Importance of Content Marketing Today
Content marketing connects all facets of your digital marketing strategy, offering many benefits that ultimately increase sales. It is a highly cost-effective strategy, but it does take time to reap the greatest results. Quality online content can provide value to your brand for many years to come, and creating it takes time and effort, so it’s best to begin developing (or enhancing) your content marketing strategy today.
You don’t have to create a massive, intricate strategy — start small with what’s manageable. Social Media Examiner found that 75% of marketers experienced increased traffic by investing as little as six hours a week into their social media content.
Want &Marketing to help you take advantage of all the importance of content marketing? Contact us today!
About the Author
Content Specialist Kim Steinmetz helps brands and thought leaders discover and develop their unique voice and tone while establishing authority on a topic through compelling messaging and copywriting. An accomplished writer and marketer with over a decade of experience, Kim is well-versed in both B2C and B2B content. Her portfolio includes written print and digital ads, national television & radio spots, press releases, blogs, email newsletters, eBooks, and more for a variety of industries including IT, pharmaceutical, healthcare, manufacturing, and consumer packaged goods.
Kim graduated from Indiana University in 2013 with a Bachelor or Arts in Creative Writing and a minor in Audio/Video Production. She currently resides in New Orleans, Louisiana and spends her time second lining and volunteering with animal rescues.
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