Content is king. That’s what the marketers are saying. Most Australian businesses, however, have been slow to evolve.
So let’s look at ways a well-executed content strategy have improved our clients businesses.
Watch these sales metrics grow with content marketing
To quickly recap – content marketing is about sharing news and information that are both relevant and valuable to the reader. For example, you might try to educate, entertain, or inspire them on a relevant topic. It then needs to be distributed through any number of channels, including email, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, or any number of new and emerging channels.
Content, therefore, is not a direct sales tool. Your promotions are direct sales tools. Your sales staff are direct sales tools. But content is a support tool. What content is designed to do is bring prospects to you, build trust and credibility for your business, and facilitate the sales process for your customers. And this can make measuring the effect on your bottom line challenging.
So, say you have a content marketing strategy (or we’re doing it for you), what are the important metrics to see it’s contributing to your bottom line?
The whole concept of investing in a content strategy is growing your business – otherwise what’s the point? So some sales to watch include incoming leads, lead conversion rates, and cost per lead.
Incoming leads – build the trust that leads people to contact you
The first step is being found, which is why everyone is always talking about keywords and SEO. Google is the world’s most popular search engine because it’s very good at matching the best website with what you are looking for. So help Google out by continually proving that your site has the most relevant content for your customers.
Also, what we find is that even when website traffic doesn’t increase, adding new targeted content can increase inbound sales inquiries. When you educate and add value to your customer’s product search you are building your reputation and trust. Prospects respect this and will reward you with a chance to do business.
Conversion rates – content should support the sales process
With so much information available, all customers research you and your competitors before buying from you. This is true even for referrals – they will still Google you. After your salesperson has given their customer ‘the pitch’ they will continue to research and gather as much information as possible.
So help them out. If they are going to look for information, it might as well come from you. For example, we recently found visitors were skipping over a section of our website, making it wasted space. We made some changes and BOOM! not only has the phone been ringing more but we’re also converting more leads.
Cost per lead – past content can continue to bring in traffic
Creating quality content requires time and expertise – and that costs money. But so does AdWords, Facebook boosts and Yellow Pages. It also really blows my mind when small business spend big money on TV and radio advertising. What’s the difference with creating content? You’re investing in your own assets! No matter what happens, you will always own that content you created.
We have written articles years ago that are still bringing in new traffic and leads. When you pay for advertising it’s a one-off event – once you stop paying it’s gone. Content, however, is yours forever. It’s also how people find you organically through their day to day Googling, which is the cheapest way to be found.
As an example, pretend you’re buying keywords through Google AdWords. You can’t buy every keyword combination – partly because it’s expensive but also because you can’t possibly know every search query. With strategically created content what you are doing is building that vast network of keywords that customers use when they are seeking information. The magic happens when they find you before they even know they need you.
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A word on website traffic
Traffic – what would your rather, 1000 website visits or 100 qualified leads?
This is the trap people fall into using dodgy SEO practices. They have purchased thousands of Facebook fans, or have tens of thousands of website visits, but they’re not translating to sales. If you want to attract a customer that might actually buy your product, then creating content will draw them to you.
Click through rates- why monitoring behaviour is important
What is equally important is the interactions visitors have on your website. With the right tools it’s possible to determine what content people simply find interesting and which ones generate leads. Which is why digging deeper than just traffic is important.
This is equally important on email and social channels. What we look for here is the interactions customers have after they view the content. We have seen plenty of examples where one story is more popular than another, but the less popular story encourages more people to fill out a contact form. It’s this type of analysis that separates a good strategy from bad.
The reality is, few Australian business manage their content well. But that’s nothing to be ashamed of. On the one hand, creating content requires understanding your customers wants and needs – not just for your product but of the solution to their problem. On the other, without the expertise to analyse data you won’t know which content attracted customers and which one led to a sale.
The good news is that this leaves a massive opportunity to improve your business. Those that that start today will have a strong advantage over other businesses with outdated websites and who rely on traditional sales practices.