Will content marketing lead your growth in 2015?
Businesses today have a tough time of finding and keeping customers. Each business presents itself with a complex formula for finding and retaining business. However, each business model must include a single component to make it all work – a source of promotion and advertising (simply said: a marketing plan).
However, many companies seem to struggle to identify their marketing strategy. Do I use direct mail? Referrals seem to work but how can I scale around them? Is content marketing a real option for my business? How do I utilize social media and email to promote my business?
All these options are endless in their research and quite simply, there are a lot of people trying to convince you otherwise with proven methods and techniques. I agree with one simple principle – a marketing measurement strategy is vital to your investment. This is a 5 step guide to develop your action plan on using digital marketing as your strategy.
It’s important to note, content is searchable and validates to visitors that you exist and are worth visiting again. Without consistent content you are a small fraction of an element online among millions. To compete with your competitors you must fully commit to content marketing for it to work and consider that it will take time and consistency.
Step 1: Who will do the work?
Will you contribute to content or will you use staff to help or will you contract the work to someone else? This depends on your business. Typically, if you are small enough and depending on your growth rate, you may start doing a lot of the content on your own or work with someone that will develop a growing marketing plan that best aligns with what you can invest.
Step 2: Focus on a goal. What are you trying to promote?
Based on your sales process, how much cost will it take to close your next client? How often will that client buy from you? Your marketing should be in line with these and other goals to make it easier for you to expect certain outcomes. If you adhere to marketing without goals that tie into your business plan you are losing your investment. Today, many measures exist where business leaders can predict with more certainty a sales margin based on proven marketing efforts.
Step 3: Develop your Buyer Persona.
Your ideal client has distinguishable features. Your content needs to match this to make it work. Your ideal client will belong to a certain demographic, will have certain likes and dislikes, goals, and places of interest. Work with someone that can help you go through this one-time exercise of identifying your ideal client. It is very normal to have more than one but try to limit your variety to keep your structure simpler.
Step 4: What format should you use?
Your content will come in many forms – not just blogs. In fact, the blog has been around for years and som companies are leaning more to “learning centers”, offering more internally produced resources for further lead nurturing. Additionally, you may find that power point presentations, infographics, podcasts, webinars, and how-to videos may fit well with your industry and personas.
Step 5: Measure, adjust, and repeat.
Marketing that is worth the investment will present a measurement process – without it you may find results that are not what you had hoped for. The content needs to be measurable by “real-time” data and by source. Make sure you can implement a process that identifies how content performs so you can take early action in adjusting and repeating this as often as necessary.
In short, making a conscious effort to dive into content based digital marketing requires a bit more planning. What is certain is that many more companies report a very satisfactory return on their investment. “Only slightly more than half (53%) are measuring ROI, which means that simply measuring ROI – regardless of your results – automatically puts you in the upper half of the profession.” Also, “marketers who emphasize blogging are 13 times more likely to have increased ROI year over year.” Finally, “leads sourced through inbound practices are consistently less expensive than outbound leads.” (Hubspot State Of Inbound 2014)
Choosing a method on how to generate more leads online and linking the outcomes of your marketing to your growth goals justifies your investment. Buyer personas and content development are important aspects to making the content readable and shareable. Overall, if you haven’t yet decided, find a service provider that can help measure your progress and make the necessary adjustments that most likely will be necessary for a successful campaign.
Have you decided on a marketing plan for 2015? Don’t wait for January to launch your research and development plan.