Did you know that 70% of technology buyers start their buying process prior to ever speaking with a sales person? This concept would have been unheard of previously, but with the advent of modern content marketing, it is now very much a reality.
Content marketing, for our company, is the number one driver of lead generation - and, as a result, the number one source of paying customers. In reality, we could be paying a lot more money for "qualified" leads. However, given the blurring lines between marketing and sales, our marketing lead generation tactics have successfully produced incredibly valuable leads.
So how does a company like ours (and other similar companies) leverage content and turn it into revenue?
The key is to have a real strategy; "spray and pray" is not an option in content marketing. The first thing to consider when planning your content marketing strategy is the Universal Marketing Funnel. This new marketing funnel, compared to the more detailed "traditional" funnel, has three sections that can easily be followed by content marketers in all industries. Content that you create for the top of this funnel - namely the "awareness" stage, is focused on making your potential customer aware of your existence and the problem that your product or service solves. The next steps are "evaluation," where you write content highlighting why your product or service is better than the competition. After evaluation, its time for a hard sell to push your prospects to the decision stage.
Content marketing is not about getting; it's about giving. In the digital age, potential buyers are hungry for knowledge. Providing valuable content to your target market will help you achieve top of mind preference when it comes to decision-making time. In order to stay in the mind of your target market, you have to nurture a relationship by building trust and friendship.
So how does a content marketer build a trusting relationship with a potential customer? The ultimate goal of content marketing is to establish thought-leadership - however, attaining the status of thought-leader is easier said then done.
So what type of content should content marketers focus on? Here are some suggestions:
- Blog posts
- White papers
- Social media
As mentioned earlier, content marketing requires you to have a solid strategy. Understanding things like who your audience is, where they spend their time online, and what their needs and wants are will help you get a better understanding of the type of content that will pique their interest.
Once you have done your research, it's time to come up with ideas. Since two brains are better than one, it's best to tap the potential of your team and throw out ideas on how to go about creating and distributing content.
Speaking of distribution, it is important to note that creating the best content in the world will be useless without a successful distribution channel for that content. For our company, our number one channel for content distribution is social media, and we are not alone; 87% of B2B content marketers use social media as a distribution channel for their content. The problem is, most of them have no way to gauge the effectiveness of this type of distribution. Using a powerful social media marketing platform like Oktopost allows B2B marketers to not only efficiently and effectively distribute their content across social channels, it also allows them to measure the actual leads that were generated from this type of distribution.