As the CEO of your company, you’re bombarded with words and phrases like content marketing, inbound marketing and blogging.
It can all seem nebulous unless you define what content marketing actually does for business. Content marketing, done right, is created to answer questions for people. Essentially, you want to become the Wikipedia of your niche. People come to you because they trust you with the right information.Then, creating this targeted traffic gives you the ability to capture leads and convert sales.
So, let's break down the content marketing process:
Step 1: Creating Traffic
Without a blog where you can post content relevant to your company and services, it's hard to be found.
Now, content helps drive traffic to your website like this: when people search the Internet for specific products or problems, they’re looking for content to help them solve whatever problem they have.
When you publish a blog post, make a video or do a podcast, you automatically give content to a potential customer. If your content is good and worthwhile, it will turn visitors to your website into leads. They're intrigued, and either want more information or sometimes, they're ready to buy.
You’ll need to make sure that your content is optimized for search engines, including optimizing SEO URLs, title tags, etc. - but these are details that are easily handled by content specialists. Publishing relevant, worthwhile content for potential customers will turn your blog into an automated lead machine for your business.
Step 2: Capturing Leads
So, you’re driving traffic to your website with great content. People are coming to your site because they know you’re providing answers to their problems. So how can you take all this traffic and turn them into leads?
HubSpot says that a buyer goes through three distinct phases when making a purchase:
- Awareness. In this state, the buyer has realized they have a problem or opportunity, but they’re not 100% sure of what it is yet, or if a solution exists.
- Consideration. Here, the buyer has clearly defined their problem and is researching all the avenues in which they can go to pursue a solution.
- Decision. In the final stage of the buyer's journey, the buyer has defined their strategy, method or approach to solving their problem.
Customers will be in the consideration and awareness stages when they’re visiting your website. As an example, the web hosting page at Top Ten Reviews tediously compares ten different hosting companies. Because of the thoroughness and value provided in these reviews, capturing the leads is natural because the buyer is in the consideration stage of buying.
You’ll still want to make sure your content is helpful, but you’ll also want to show how your company can help the customers fix their problems. Demonstrating your company’s usefulness is a great way to turn web traffic into leads.
As CEO of Multiple Streams, I target marketers searching for different affiliate marketing or network marketing companies. Then, I use videos that answer their questions about these companies and provide an email "opt-in" box below the videos for a free phone consultation, as I show here. I've never had an issue getting new clients because my leads are asking permission if they can work with me. Because of the value in my content and videos, they've opted-in to learn more and are prime prospective clients.
Step 3: Converting Sales
If you’ve successfully given customers good content along the way, you shouldn’t have to spend a lot of time selling them on your company. You’ll need a solid sales team that handle the sales for you, but this should be the easiest part of the entire process. The whole idea is that your inquiries (leads) will be inbound, hence the alternative term "inbound marketing."
It's about people coming to you. Instead of them shopping around for your business, you have the ability to qualify your leads for their business. You've become the authority, or the Wikipedia of your space.
So, yes, content marketing is as hyped up as it should be, but maybe we aren't explaining it right.
As Marcus Sheridan told an audience recently, we should stop using buzzwords like "content marketing," "inbound marketing" and "blogging" and define our content roles as "becoming better listeners and teachers to our audience."
Listen to what they're asking, and then become teachers to answer their questions. That's really what content marketing is all about.
Follow these new-school principles, and your company will enjoy automated traffic, leads and sales for years.
Jeremy Page is the founder at Multiple Streams, a blog that teaches all-things passive income.