Why Content Marketing Should Be a Priority
Advertising is no longer something consumers are forced to view. We all know that your customer is much savvier, and has learned how to shut out traditional, one-way marketing. Technology has taught consumers to simply skip over the advertisements — from the DVR player to Google Chrome extensions — it has never been easier to ignore the message marketers spend so much time, sweat, and money to create. We are all seeing that traditional tactics are becoming less and less effective. And we must strive to find a better way to reach and connect with our customers.
Enter Content Marketing
Content marketing is the technique of creating and distributing relevant and user-satisfying content to attract, acquire, and engage with your target audience in an effort to drive profitable customer interaction. Content marketing is an ongoing process that needs to be baked into a comprehensive marketing strategy. It focuses on owning the media, not simply renting it. Instead of pitching your product or service, you deliver information that is highly satisfying and relevant to the consumer and makes them more intelligent. Content marketing operates under the assumption that if we deliver consistent and ongoing information visitors find highly satisfying and relevant, they will ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.
Think about it this way. The content on a website is the digital face of the brand. Nearly everything we do as marketers is an effort to drive people to our website. From television ads to paid media on search engines, and even email campaigns, we end up pushing users to digital platforms in order to measure effectiveness. So, if the user does not find the content on the website satisfying and relevant, chances are a sales opportunity was missed.
This is why content creation, both digital and traditional should be the bulk of any marketing budget. You can spend all the money in the world on paid advertising, but if users who click on your ads aren’t satisfied with where they land and the content they are served, your money has been wasted because they will fail to take action. Building a strong foundation of content that is truly satisfying and relevant to the user helps drive the success of all marketing tactics.
Successful content is very easy to define and measure based on two KPIs:
- Its ability to pull in prospective customers
- Its ability to move those prospective customers further in the conversion funnel
The word "pull" above is very important. The days of pushing messages to consumers has come and gone. We have entered an age where, for the first time, consumers have the choice regarding what marketing messages they interact with. Because of this, we have to make sure that our content is of high interest to the end user by developing a content strategy that serves the targeted audience the appropriate message at the exact point in their journey, or experience, where it is most relevant.
Content that is too sales-focused will not pull prospective patients from search engines and social media, while content that lacks a strong call-to-action will fail to push customers further into the conversion funnel. The perfect content strategy is a balance of both.
Additionally, building your marketing strategy around content can have a positive impact on ROI with residual traffic for the lifetime of the content. Let’s take a look at a hypothetical situation where two companies have $50,000 to spend on digital marketing:
- Company A puts 80% into paid media and 20% into content marketing
- Company B puts 100% into content marketing
After 1 year, the trend in visits would look something like this:
You can easily see when the paid media campaign was running for Company A based on the visit spikes in February and August. Up front, it looks like Company A’s website performed much better over the course of the year, with the paid media driving 21% more visits than Company B. Now let’s look at this same scenario after two years:
As you can see, when the paid media budget ran out, Company A’s website visits leveled off during the second year. But, over the course of two years, Company B’s visit numbers are 8% higher than company A. How could this be? They had the exact same amount of money to work with.
By taking a long-term strategy to create satisfying and relevant content, Company B developed a solid foundation of good content that provided residual visitors for the lifetime of the content. While a short-term strategy approach of driving traffic with paid campaigns by Company A dries up the visit stream as soon as media is turned off. After 3 years, we project Company B will have 26% more visitors, and after 5 years Company B will have 38% more visitors.
So, as you create your budgets for 2014, remember content marketing, its long term and residual ROI, and this Warren Buffett quote:
"Someone’s sitting in the shade tree today because someone planted a seed a long time ago."