In a world where TV advertisements are being increasingly ‘skipped’, Facebook adverts are just as effective as the string of ads at the side of your search results and pop-up banners have become extinct, it’s easy to see how difficult it is becoming to reach your consumers in this digital age.
Nevertheless, this shift in behaviour is not the end of Marketing and Advertising altogether, seeing as even though consumers are actively avoiding interruption ads, they are instead being more proactive in informing themselves about product offerings. This is evident, as it is now believed that consumers are often 67% through the buying cycle before even coming into contact with a salesperson. For this reason, brands should be focusing on providing relevant and useful content for consumers at each consumer touch-point throughout the buying cycle in order to inform and nurture consumers, rather than interrupt and irritate them. This is the very premise of Content Marketing and Lead Nurturing.
WHAT EXACTLY IS CONTENT MARKETING?
Content Marketing can be anything from an infographic to a video, to a blog post. Content Marketing, put simply, focuses on ‘creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience’ (CMI, 2014:1) and is ultimately used to ‘drive profitable customer action’ (CMI, 2014:1). By carefully creating and curating valuable, relevant and consistent content, Content Marketing sets itself apart from traditional interruption marketing, as its purpose is to inform consumers on their terms, when they want it.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING CONTENT MARKETING?
• Generates inbound traffic to your website and increases engagement with your audience
• Increases brand awareness and enhances SEO
• Generates more leads and increases sales
CONTENT MARKETING TOOLS AND AUTOMATING THE PROCESS
Using the right marketing and automation tools can help your business create more high-quality leadsthrough a process of nurturing. Tools such as Marketo or Act-On software can help you track prospects’ level of interest in your services and your interest in them (based on their demographics, location, etc.) through a process called ‘Lead Scoring’. This powerful process ultimately enables you to identify truly qualified leads that are ready to make a purchase by analysing their behaviour on your website and throughout the internet.
So, for example, if one of your page viewers downloads your PDF content on ‘how to go about getting a mortgage’, has spent several minutes on your ‘our services’ page and has engaged with you on social media, they are likely to have a higher lead score than a page viewer that may have spent less than 30 seconds on your site before leaving, as this shows that the first viewer is actually interested in your services and has not just clicked onto your site by accident.
Being aware of your prospects’ lead score is an important part of lead nurturing as it allows you to concentrate your efforts on the more valuable leads (in this case, the first viewer), enabling you to respond and engage with genuine potential consumers at each stage of their buying cycle to increase their affinity towards your brand. In turn, this reduces any wasted marketing efforts, whilst increasing visible results (number of leads converted to sales).
However, when there are so many free-to-user Content Marketing tools readily available (such as Google Analytics, Mail Chimp and more), why should you bother investing in software such as Marketo or Act-On? In all honesty, Content Marketing tools such as Marketo and Act-On are definitely worth every penny, as they streamline all of this data that provides information about Lead Scores onto one single platform. It liberates you from having to trail through several separate accounts and physically compare the data between each platform yourself.
These tools cleverly listen to all of the analytical information (whether it comes from the website or social media, etc.) so that you can get a better idea of your prospect’s journey and profile. In addition to this, the software also has the ability to automate your lead nurturing process! So, rather than having to manually reply to emails, or send out thank you notifications to each one of your prospects, the ingenious software does it for you!
It’s easy to see that engaging in effective Content Marketing can be immensely valuable, as it seems to be, perhaps, the most logical way to reach consumers in this digital age. So are you ready to start engaging with your consumers?