Content marketing and outbound sales strategies are often pitted against each other, like brutish bloodied boxers waiting for the bell. Some are convinced that one must win and the other must lose - and that’s unfortunate.
I would suggest that we take the strengths of both and pit them against the real problem - doing business successfully in a competitive world.
Yet, I do understand - a change must be worth the investment.
For CEOs, marketing managers, and business consultants who have consistently worked within an outbound sales strategy for finding customers, we understand that long-time tactics don’t change on a whim.
Just know, though, that content marketing has proven to generate great returns on investment, and here are five reasons why.
Reason 1: Content marketing can convert customers while you sleep
Salespeople can only talk to one person at a time. The return on that investment is dependent upon the time invested by that salesperson.
However, persona focused content on a webpage is a sales pitch that keeps talking even after you’ve gone home at the end of the day.
It can deliver value long after it’s been written, and it can be promoted through press releases, social media, and other online avenues several times over.
Most content that is written for content marketing is evergreen, acting as a business asset that can win you customers while you sleep.
Reason 2: Content marketing can connect with scores of people at once
No amount of print advertising can compare to the far reaching influence a piece of content can have in the cyberspace world.
If your content is useful, interesting, and creative, you can consistently pull viewers from all over the map. An outstanding piece of content can receive a volley of hits over the course of a day, or even a single hour.
This ability for digital content to be available to so many people at the same time opens hundreds of doors for the content to draw people into it’s message, and ultimately, toward your business.
If traditional marketing is like a single fishing line, catching one fish at a time, content marketing is like throwing out fishing nets that bring in hundreds of fish in one haul. This means you save time, save money, and need fewer bodies while reaching more.
Reason 3: Content marketing targets those who are already interested
Isn’t it easier to lead a horse to water if he’s already thirsty? A person casually flipping through an industry magazine full of advertisements may not feel thirsty. However, a person who types “electrical services Seattle” into the search bar is looking, most likely, to pay for some help.
They’re a cash-ready searcher who wants to find someone with a solution to their problem. Wouldn’t you rather talk to them?
At the end of a day of content marketing, you’ll find that you’re attracting people who want to buy from you before you even knew that you had the opportunity to sell them.
Reason 4: Content marketing can appeal to users and search engines
Those who have not yet fully embraced the new digital age that has swept the world by storm often still try to hang onto traditional marketing tactics and keep the search engines happy at the same time. In today’s world, this simply doesn’t work well. Content marketing can kill two birds with one stone - make your users happy and keep the search engines working for you.
Content (good content, at any rate) will naturally have a high keyword density that search engines will notice.
In addition, well-written and well-targeted content attracts the right users to your site - and search engines also pay attention to these traffic metrics.
Finally, engaging content is going to receive backlinks and social shares, which is the final cherry on top as far as search engine ranking algorithms are concerned.
Not only are your users going to be happy, but search engines are going to be thrilled with your site and consistently rank you higher and higher—and you’ll be thrilled to see your website rankings steadily climbing up the search pages.
Reason 5: Content marketing is one of the few ways to reach Millennials
The 79 million people who were born between 1980 and 2000 are on their way to taking the lead in purchasing power in the United States. But, what's the best way to reach them?
Unfortunately, traditional outbound sales efforts are highly ineffective for reaching millennials. According to S. Adam Brasel, in a Boston Globe article, “Not only do [Millennials] not necessarily trust traditional advertising anymore, they don’t even see traditional advertising anymore.” They’re bombarded with so many advertisements a day that they don’t have time or energy for them all - so they close them, tune them out, or skip them altogether.
No use waving your arms if you’re invisible.
Don’t forget - you have to meet them where they are, and 80% of millennials sleep next to their phones, according to a US Chamber of Commerce report. The digital world is where they live. If you’re not there, too, they won’t see you.
What Millennials want is information so that they can make a decision for themselves. They don’t want you to tell them how cool your business is - they want you to show them, objectively, how your product or service will benefit them.
In this situation, content marketing is a smart move.
Millennials accomplish most of their buying process before you even know that they’re interested. According to the Buyer Persona Institute, “Today’s buyers have changed the rules, navigating 60% to 80% of their decision before they talk to a salesperson.”
After they’re in the door, sales can take over
Eventually, though - they do want to talk to a salesperson. So, I’m not here to tell you to fire your sales team. But you do want to invest your efforts in the type of marketing that will give you the greatest return on your investment.
In a day and age infiltrated by a digital world where people no longer pay attention to advertising and shy away from salespeople - it’s time to invest in strategies that will work. Check out content marketing - it will give you an opportunity to meet people who actually found you first and are ready to hand you their money.