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As one of the prominent elements of inbound marketing, content marketing has the power to develop interest in brands and create relationships with clientele through content that addresses certain needs and delivers value. It’s been known to beat conventional, outdated outbound marketing techniques, which is why the Content Marketing Institute’s 2014 report shows that 93% of B2B marketers and 90% of B2C marketers are using content marketing to convert traffic into leads as part of their marketing plan after discovering benefits such as a six times higher conversion rate. However, the biggest advantage is generating qualified leads.
In “A Guide to Marketing Genius: Content Marketing” infographic, Demand Metric highlighted that content costs 62% less than conventional advertising, but generates three times more leads. Moreover, Kapost published that the cost per lead generated by content marketing drops 80% within the first five months of content campaigns, bolstering brands for less. These statistics explain Content Marketing Institute’s findings, which indicate that 83% of marketers understanding the relationship between content marketing and lead generation.
If one of your 2015 resolutions was embracing content marketing, the following strategies will help you turn your visitors into quality leads which you cannurture and later turn into loyal customers.
Design a Business-Centric Strategy to Select Content That Attracts Your Customers
Content marketing is one of the best ways of generating traffic; Curata reports that 55% of business bloggers receive 5% of their website’s traffic via their blog. However, you need to maintain your visitors and push them through the funnel. Therefore, you need to start wisely selecting your content. Now you can never go wrong with trending topics related to your industry, especially since they’re relevant enough to add value to your target audience as well as your business. However, you can use the following three tips to create a diverse collection of content:
- Be Inspired by the Competition – Take a look at the type of content your competitors are using and analyze the engagement ratio of each. Comparing metrics like external links and DA, you can come up with your own plan for content.
- Assess Your Current SEO Tactics – Analyze the keywords which reel in the most traffic to your site to determine what your prospective clients want to find out from you. Doing so will make you stay in tune with your visitors, showing them your willingness to take the next step.
- Survey Visitors – Successful content marketers carry out surveys to find out whether visitors like their content or not. That way, they can produce more or change their strategy. Visitors can also add their own suggestions, guiding marketers to produce content which they would willingly read. As a result, customer satisfaction levels will increase and visitors will become loyal customers sooner.
Have a Mobile Content Marketing Strategy in Hand
Google’s Hummingbird algorithm has highlighted the importance of a mobile content strategy for today’s marketers. Unfortunately, two years later, many marketers don’t have one. According to Exact target’s State of Marketing 2014 report, 41% of those surveyed said that half of their subscribers checked emails on their mobile devices. However, 42% said that they rarely or never used responsive design, indicating a gap between what marketers should do and what they’re doing.
With 77% of searches initiated on mobile, marketers need to tackle this platform to avoid the 9.56% bounce rate Nielsen and Google pointed out. For that, here are some tips:
- Focus on localized content as 40% of all mobile searches are performed with local intent.
- Understand the mobile context of the user and their behavior interacting with these devices. Google Analytics is very helpful in this regard as it can help determine mobile keywords.
- The 2012 Multi-Screen Media Usage by Nielsen indicates that 28% of online consumers watch videos at least once a day, making it the most used format on this channel. With the arrival of Vine and Instagram videos, you can create short, relevant videos.
- Keep your content touch friendly. For instance, avoid placing links closely to make it easier for users to tap calls to action or visit your site.
Remember that ‘Content’ Isn’t a Synonym of ‘Text’
As marketers are still getting their feet wet in the sea that is content marketing, they’re yet to discover that content marketing isn’t limited to text alone. In addition to blogs and press releases, Tech Cocktail lists the following as the best types of content which marketers can use to boost conversion and achieve their digital marketing goals:
- Infographics – Infographics are an attractive way of presenting data along with text. Marketers are welcome to hire graphic designers to help them, but they can make use of free or premium tools such as Visual.ly to create their own.
- Memes – People need comic breaks from time to time, and will love you if you provide them. A meme, which is a witty yet funny piece of content with taglines written on the top, allows you to showcase your flair for comedy without costing you so much. Moreover, if you use social media for content marketing, memes will generate more traffic, boost conversions, and ensure loyalty.
- Video – Due to their hectic schedules, smart shoppers may not have the time to go over lines of content. Instead you can reel them in with a short (2-3 min) video that sums up your product or service’s benefits and strengths. “Take a Tour” videos are excellent ways of communicating your message to your audience and influencing their perception of your brand.
- Case Studies – Jess Noyes, the Senior Director of Content Marketing at Kapost, contributed to Content Marketing Institute’s 60 Content Predictions for 2015, saying that ‘fat’ content will become marketers’ focus all over the world. In addition to white papers and eBooks, case studies will grow popular as they can be broken down and used as “fuel for multi-channel campaigns.”
Mix Selling and Educating the Right Way
Many marketers make the mistake of selling (advertising) content despite aiming at educating readers. As a result, their overall content strategy is affected and all their purposes are defeated. For instance, if you’re marketing wedding dresses,you shouldn’t bombard your clients with calls to action from the very first line. Instead, provide content that strikes a chord with visitors, influencing them both emotionally and logically.
For example, you could start off by discussing the significance and the excitement of the wedding day before going on to give tips on how readers should choose their gown. To convert visitors into leads, you could add a short message detailing how the store has a wide variety of bridal dresses for clients to browse and then include links to the bridal dress section of the website. Whatever you do, make sure to add advertisements strategically within your content a-la Buzzfeed or New York Times style rather than blatantly via banner ads.
Focus on Distribution via Search Engines While Generating Content
Though businesses now understand the importance of content creation, Altimeter reports that only 26% invest in content distribution despite the fact that more than half believe that they need to. In addition to offering value, strategic distribution is what sets companies apart in today’s competitive business sector. How can you get your great content discovered by more prospective clients if it doesn’t reach them?
In addition to social media (which I’ll discuss in a bit), you should focus on your SEO efforts. A survey by Ascend2 and Conductor uncovered that marketing, sales and business professionals rank lead generation as the most important SEO objective in 2015 (61%), followed by increased web traffic (57%), and increased traffic conversion (54%). As Google’s algorithms focus on content, you can establish an SEO-driven content marketing campaign which taps into the power of keywords, link building and other effective optimization techniques.
Bridge the Gap between Content Marketing and Social Media Marketing
94% believe social media marketing to be a vital part of their marketing mix, but only a smaller fraction know its value for distributing content. Not only can social media help visitors share your content, but it can amplify your distribution efforts through social media paid advertising. Promoted posts are one of the most effective ways of extending the reach of content and generate more traffic and leads.
Social media can also complement your content marketing efforts by engaging online audiences, especially the elusive millennials. Badgeville’s infographic “Everything You Wanted to Know About Millennials But Were Afraid to Ask” indicates that 51% of this age group is influenced by social opinions. Therefore, by answering their questions through content and satisfying their need for information on time, your marketing efforts can attract the most powerful spending demographic.
Hire a Managing Editor to Complement Your Content Strategy
According to the Content Marketing Institute, creating content is only one half of the battle since you need to edit, format, schedule and distribute every text, image or video you produce. As the process can be time-consuming and tedious, consider hiring someone to handle it on your behalf: a managing editor. This professional will help you with your content strategy by:
- Creating and Managing Your Content Editorial Calendar – An editorial calendar is an important document since it allows marketers to get a top-level view of everything they publish online and ensure that their content strategy is aligned to their clients’ goals. It also allows them to schedule their updates and tweets, which are effective tools to market your marketing. A managing editor can create one, organize it and later manage it, ensuring that your content marketing efforts don’t go to waste.
- Maintaining Blog – If the managing editor is well-versed in working with blogging platforms, they can take care of technical aspects such as plug-ins, SEO meta data, and categorizing posts.
- Managing Guest Blogger Submissions – 2015 is expected to be the year guest blogging regains its good reputation. This means that you can finally start your own guest blogging program. However, you’ll need an editor by your side to evaluate the numerous submissions you receive, especially if you don’t have the time. Just make sure that he or she has a pleasant demeanor via email to avoid having your brand bashed later for being rude.
- Editing, Formatting and Publishing – The managing editor will always be an editor first and foremost. Therefore, every word published under the brand’s logo should be checked for grammatical and political correctness. He or she should also know the voice of your company as well as past published content to inject internal links. Finally, they should be aware of how to find and use royalty-free images and give credit to sources to ensure that you don’t get into trouble.
- Keeping Up with the Latest Technology and Techniques – A managing editor will keep an eye and ear open to new techniques and technologies that can help make the editorial process smoother. They’ll also learn how they can navigate your brand through the web while taking care of all your content channels.
Track Your Progress with Regular Content Audits and Evolve Your Strategy Accordingly
Most marketers don’t realize that traffic bounces off their sites despite posting a lot of content. Therefore, you should consider scheduling a weekly, monthly or even quarterly audit to determine whether your content writing campaign is successfully grabbing readers’ attention and converting them into leads. You should especially focus on the following:
- Analytics Metrics – Take into consideration every metric, starting from bounce rate to average time spent on the site. You should also consider track pageviews, pages per visit, and engagement levels.
- SEO Metrics – SEO determines your popularity on search engines and, ultimately, your site’s popularity with internet users. So find out how you rank when it comes to Page Authority, Page Ranking, etc.
- Sales – Track your content’s ability to generate money for you and actually convert traffic into leads.
- Loyalty – Take note of who comes back to you and which content has helped you retain your clients. You can target both of these in the future to turn loyalists into evangelists who can market your brand via word of mouth.
With these tips in hand, you are in the know about how to convert traffic into leads and 2015 will definitely be a good year for your content marketing campaign. However, don’t hesitate to get professional help to ensure the success of your efforts.