In the dynamic landscape of digital marketing, content marketing has emerged as a strategic tool that can effectively drive sales. If you wonder how that can be done, this guide sheds light on several practical ways to leverage this marketing technique for business growth. Even if our focus is B2B in this guide, sites selling directly to consumer can also benefit from the information below.
What is Content Marketing?
Let’s spend a minute defining content marketing. It is is a strategic approach to creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content with the purpose of attracting and engaging a clearly defined audience.
Content marketing is a powerful tool for building brand awareness, driving customer engagement, and ultimately, generating leads and sales. Content marketing works because informative and entertaining content meets the needs and interests of your target audience. This helps businesses establish themselves as industry experts and build trust with potential customers.
Let’s see several popular content types that represent over 80% of everything a content marketing team does.
Content marketing goes well beyond blog posts, even though blogs remain in the center of content marketing efforts. Blogging is about showcasing expertise in your industry or niche and offering valuable insights and solutions to common pain points. This helps build trust with your audience and establish you as a reliable source of information.
Don’t blog about what you like writing about. Focus on what your target audience searches online. Start by identifying relevant keywords with high search volume and low competition. Don’t just incorporate these keywords throughout your blog posts, give valuable insights and information related to the topic described.
Building relationships with customers is crucial for successful content marketing. Engage with your audience by responding to comments, asking for feedback, and creating content that addresses their needs and interests.
In other words, in your blog posts focus on demonstrating expertise, target specific keywords and topic, and building rapport with your readers and pontential customers.
For example, as a car dealership you will want to act on user concerns about your car make’s reliability by providing data from independent sources.
Videos are an incredibly effective tool for engaging customers and conveying the value of a product or service in an interactive and entertaining way. Today people are constantly bombarded with information, and videos have proven to be a powerful way to capture attention and convey a message.
When it comes to social media, videos are highly shareable and can easily go viral, which helps reach a large audience and increase brand awareness. What counts as a video for content marketing? A quick snippet, a tutorial, a customer testimonial, or a promotional ad – they all create an immersive experience that can resonate with viewers on a more personal level.
Also, use videos to showcase the value of your product or service by demonstrating its features and benefits in action.
By providing in-depth content, E-books demonstrate a company’s knowledge and authority in a particular subject. E-books can also be used as gated content, where users are asked to provide their contact information in exchange for access. This is a great way to capture leads and grow your business’ email list.
E-books fit into the sales funnel approach by acting as a middle or top-of-funnel content. In other words, e-books attract and engage potential customers who are early in their buying journey.
In addition, e-books are perfect vehicles for repurposing existing content, such as blog posts, whitepapers, or case studies, into a more comprehensive and cohesive resource. This not only maximizes the value of existing content but also allows for reaching a new audience through a different format.
For example, take the top 50 most read posts from your blog and create an e-book in the PDF or .epub format for easy consuming on a tablet.
Any business has success stories that can be turned into case studies. Let’s see a couple of examples below.
Salesforce is a compelling case study that highlights the tangible advantages of content marketing for B2B companies. By implementing a comprehensive content marketing strategy, Salesforce was able to increase organic search traffic by 57% and generate 10,000 new leads in six months. This success can be attributed to the production of high-quality, relevant content that addressed the pain points of their target audience.
Another noteworthy example is the case of HubSpot, a leading provider of inbound marketing software. Through their content marketing efforts, HubSpot was able to achieve a 45% increase in lead generation and a 72% increase in revenue. Their strategy focused on creating educational and valuable content that helped potential customers solve their challenges.
Examples like the ones above offer tangible evidence of the impact of content marketing for B2B companies. Find similar stories in your business history and talk about them. Remember to include data, stats, as well as customer testimonials.
White papers play an important role in the sales process by providing in-depth information about your company’s solutions. This marketing tool appeals to unique buyer personas by addressing their specific pain points and offering tailored solutions.
In white papers you will deliver hard facts and detailed insights, which will solidify your authority on a given subject. This, in turn, helps to build trust with potential customers.
By incorporating data and statistics, white papers offer credibility and demonstrate the company’s understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the market. This level of detail and thoroughness can help to differentiate the company from competitors and position it as a leader in the space.
White papers should not be generic. Instead, they should be addressing the specific needs of diverse buyer personas and providing authoritative insights.
Role of Content in Sales Process
We have already talked about the benefits of valuable and relevant purpose whose purpose is to educate and inform your audience about your products and services, address their pain points, and persuade them to buy from you.
Content is particularly powerful when it helps guide the customer through the sales funnel.
Create Content for Each Stage of the Customer Journey
When you create content for each stage of the buyer’s journey, you can effectively guide your audience through the purchasing process. Let’s see what content you need in the Awareness, Consideration, Decision stages.
Awareness Stage – Top-of-funnel
In the Awareness stage of your content marketing, the focus is on providing valuable material to educate potential customers about their problems or opportunities. This can be achieved through blog posts, social media posts, videos, and infographics that create curiosity about your brand and establish authority within your niche.
For example, a series of blog posts can address common problems or opportunities within your industry, offering tips and advice to help potential customers better understand their situation.
Social media posts can share informative content, while videos and infographics can visually communicate complex ideas in an engaging and easy-to-understand way.
In the Awareness stage, you want to include relevant keywords such as “problem“, “opportunity“, “issue” to help attract and inform your target audience.
Consideration Stage – Middle-of-funnel
Content that works well during the Consideration stage includes: case studies, product comparisons, webinars, whitepapers. These methods offer in-depth insights into how your product or service can solve specific problems for your target audience.
Here you include keywords and concepts focused on comparison with competition, solutions, specific features. You can also create content that highlights the pros and cons of various products and educates your audience about the value of your offerings.
Find your competitors’ flaws and use them in your content to present your own winning features and services. At the same time, don’t be carried away with comparisons and keep your perspective customer in the center of it all. Focus on creating content that addresses their needs and pain points.
Decision Stage – Bottom-of-funnel
At the Decision stage, potential customers are evaluating their options and deciding which product to choose. To convince them to choose your product over competitors, offer free trials, live demonstrations, and consultation calls. These resources will allow your potential customers to experience products firsthand and see the value it can bring to their business.
A smooth user experience and well-designed web content are essential at this stage. A clean and intuitive interface can guide potential customers through the decision-making process and showcase the benefits of the product or service.
After the customer bought from you, don’t forget about retention. High-quality content that offers ongoing value and support keeps customers engaged and satisfied. Also keep sharing experiences and testimonials so that to further reinforce their loyalty.
How Can Content Marketing Increase Sales?
Simply put, content marketing helps drive more traffic to your site, more brand awareness, more leads, more authority.
To bring more traffic to the site, you need to prioritize content creation paired up with search engine optimization (SEO). Your content should be based on keyword and topic research.
Sharing and syndicating your content is another crucial point in bringing repeat and new users to your site. Sometimes, you need to pay to boost your content to get more reach.
Building brand awareness is super important for any business looking to attract new customers and strengthen relationships with existing ones. That’s where you want to excel by creating relevant and valuable content. This content would showcase the brand’s values and resonates with the target audience.
A lot of brands make the mistake of only focusing on the middle and bottom of the purchase funnel. Using top-of-funnel content helps generate awareness and attract a broader audience.
Educational articles, how-to walkthroughs and tutorials are perfect tools to drive discovery for your brand. And, no, you don’t need to insert your products all over this type of content. Maybe, just a little.
Here we recommend creating more downloadable content that your target audience will find useful. For example, a free recipe book for the food industry or a dress-code guide for the fashion space. This content should be something of high value that users are willing to trade their contact information for.
Next, create a landing page to promote the downloadable content. The landing page should highlight the benefits of the content and include a form for users to fill out with their contact information in order to access the download. Use various tactics such as pop-ups on your website, social media promotion, and paid ads to attract potential leads to the landing page.
Establishing authority is usually difficult. But content marketing can help with that. By consistently providing value and relevance, businesses can position themselves as industry leaders. Customers like following and buying from such companies.
What can you do to grow your authority? For example, guest posting on reputable websites can be a way to get the word out.
Don’t make the mistake of only talking about yourself. Showcase your expertise by sharing insights, tips, and valuable information instead.
5 Tactics to Drive Sales Through Content
Let’s explore several proven tactics that we’re using actively in content marketing services with the purpose of driving sales.
Find a Unique Brand Voice
Think about brand personality. Is it dynamic and modern, with a focus on innovation and creativity? Is it more traditional? Are you focused on excellence and community? Choose your brand personality and communicate it out as much as you can.
As for the tone of voice, be friendly, approachable, and authentic. Add a hint of playfulness to keep things engaging. Also speak directly to your audience. Use conversational language that feels human and relatable.
Build that unique brand voice to set yourself apart from your competitors.
Tell a Captivating Story
Storytelling is an essential element of content creation as it has the power to humanize your brand and make it more relatable to your audience. Add more storytelling into your content so that to make them feel connected to your brand.
Incorporate visuals into your storytelling to enhance the impact of your content, making the content more captivating and memorable.
Repurpose Your Content
Start by identifying pieces of your content that can be transformed into different formats such as videos, social media posts, and blogs. For example, a blog post can be repurposed into a video by turning the main points into a short script and creating a visual presentation.
Repurposing content is important because it allows you to save time and effort. At the same time you will be reinforcing your message in a new way. Instead of creating new content from scratch (which is more expensive), you can leverage what you already have and present it in a different format to reach a wider audience.
Add a Call to Action
Even though we did not recommend talking about yourself too much in top-of-funnel content, we do recommend adding a call to action (CTA) in your content. These calls to action can include subscribing to a newsletter, downloading gated content, signing up for a service, requesting a demo, or purchasing a product.
We also recommend incorporating a sense of urgency in the CTA. Limited-time offers, countdown timers, or exclusive deals can nudge customers to make a decision faster.
Monitor the Performance
To effectively monitor the performance of your B2B content marketing strategy, focus on specific KPIs that can provide valuable insights.
Basic KPIs including website traffic, lead generation, conversion rates, engagement metrics (such as time on page, bounce rate, and click-through rates), social media shares, and content downloads are perfect to monitor.
Using free tools like Google Analytics (traffic metrics), Google Looker dashboards (visualizations), Google Search Console (SEO) to get started.
Content Marketing Best Practices
To ensure your content marketing strategy is successful in driving sales, follow these best practices:
- Be consistent and publish frequently: Publishing high-quality content and maintaining a regular publishing schedule can help build trust and engagement with your audience.
- Optimize for SEO: By optimizing your content for search engines, you can increase your visibility and reach a broader audience.
- Diversify your content types: By creating different types of content such as blog posts, videos, infographics, and social media posts, you can engage your audience in different ways and keep your strategy fresh.
- Share on social media: By sharing your content on social media platforms, you can expand your reach and drive traffic back to your website.
- Collaborate: Partnering with influencers, other brands, or industry experts can help you reach new audiences and create more impactful content.
Content marketing is a powerful tool for driving sales and growing your brand. When you create high-quality content that resonates with your audience, you can increase brand awareness, build trust and credibility, attract and engage customers, generate leads and conversions, and improve customer retention.
By following best practices and measuring and optimizing your strategy, you can create a successful content marketing campaign that drives sales and helps you achieve your business goals.
Need external help to get going with your content marketing? Talk to our team or ask for a free audit of your site.