How Content Marketing Drives Sales
Ask any modern digital marketing agency, and they’ll tell you that a solid content marketing framework is the driving force behind consistent sales. While today this is universally true, the tricky part is nailing down how content marketing achieves that.
If you’re looking for a sales boost on top of stronger lead-gen and brand recognition, look no further. We’ve done a complete breakdown of how creative content marketing drives sales.
Let’s jump right in.
5 Links Between Good Content and Better Sales
Here’s how consistently creating and distributing valuable content can create a meaningful increase in sales:
1. More Traffic = More Lead-Gen Opportunities
It’s no secret that traffic provides more opportunities to turn visitors into leads. Good, consistently developed and distributed content is mainly responsible for generating that traffic via a variety of platforms.
There are several factors responsible for increasing traffic to a website:
- A solid landing page with engaging copy
- Reliable backlinks from reputable sources
- Consistent marketing and distribution
All these factors have one thing in common, which is great content that not only brings the visitors in, but also keeps them in long enough for them to turn into solid leads. (Even better, they may become prospects for the sales team to capture).
According to a Content Marketing Institute survey, 91% of marketers reported using content marketing to reach their audiences. Plus, 86% of marketers consider content marketing as one of their key strategies to generate traffic and leads.
That said, traffic alone doesn’t guarantee leads. This is where quality and consistency of content comes in. Better content will enable that traffic to contain more enthusiastic or intrigued visitors who are more likely to become qualified leads.
2. Better Landing Page = Stronger Leads
A single good landing page can convert better than months of substandard outreach. If a visitor is happy with the information presented on the first page they’re led to, they’re more likely to follow through with a decision.
A good landing page has several advantages over long-winded but ineffective outreach. These include the ability to move visitors closer to the decision phase more quickly and presenting your CTA to the visitor right away, instead of forcing them to sit through pages upon pages of content.
The best part about landing pages is that they can be any of the pages of your website. This provides even more opportunities to convert at the right time, when the visitor may already have their mind made up about signing up.
However, a stronger lead that’s close to being qualified can only come up if they find the content valuable to them. The page has to inform them, provide real-world value, and engage them long enough for them to consider joining.
Once again, this proves the importance of good content if you are to generate stronger leads and more suitable prospects to sell your services to.
3. Higher Organic Traffic = Better Casual Visitor – Qualified Lead Ratio
Organic traffic is a sign there is public interest in your content. The more people come to your website and browse through the pages, the better your chances of engaging them on their way through the funnel.
What makes organic traffic interesting is that it consists of people who want to:
- Engage with your online presence
- Learn more about you
- Listen to what you have to say
All of the above reveals intention. This is exactly what helps marketers convert better. Although it’s more difficult to generate, organic traffic can be just the conversion opportunity you need to create more qualified leads.
Of course, the best way to generate more organic traffic is through great content marketing. These leads (having been generated via your search engine and social media presence) may be much easier to pass on to sales as prospects.
This effect is even greater when the content marketing is targeted toward specific buyer personas. If you already have a type of lead in mind, you’ll find it a lot simpler to produce the right kind of content for them.
4. Addressing Pain Points = Pre-Converting Leads
When you address a customer’s pain points through your content, you’re proving that you understand their needs and are willing to provide a consistent flow of information. In short, you’re saying that you care about giving them the right solutions to their problems.
Pre-converting, or building conversion intent, is integral to what’s popularly called Pain-Point SEO. Simply put, it’s the act of optimizing for organic search by addressing key audience queries and answering the most asked (and most important) questions that audiences have.
It’s also the most direct way to build conversion intent early on. Not surprisingly, this insight is not new in any way. However, you’d be surprised how few websites actually talk about their visitors’ concerns instead of talking about what the host company does.
Needless to say, if you can produce content that sympathizes with visitors and provides solutions for their problems, you’ll have visitors with sufficient conversion intent toward the end of their interaction with the content.
The ideal way to discover pain points is to look into Q&A and discussion platforms such as Quora and Reddit. These have tons of people asking about solutions, which you can write content about.
5. Increased Buyer Engagement = Shorter Sales Funnel
If your content has engaged your audience, you can successfully skip a few steps on the sales funnel. Doing this requires an extremely capable marketing and sales department, but it’s definitely possible.
Of course, great content is once again the main source of engagement for the majority of audiences. You can’t engage visitors enough to convert them into potential buyers if you don’t create an engagement hook in the first place.
Higher engagement also provides some unique opportunities that an average amount of engagement doesn’t. For starters, you can upsell before the would-be buyer makes a buying decision, or even before they have an intention of buying.
You can do this by learning how the visitor interacts with each topic, and offer a more premium service (at a higher cost) to other, similar potential buyers. Since you have already built up credibility with them, they may trust your subsequent offer more.
One aspect of increased buyer engagement that you should consider is that it needs a powerful sales team to back it up. If you have that, the content may help build long-term relationships with highly engaged prospects.
How Content Marketing Drives Sales: 7 Top Tips and Insights
Here are some practical tips on priming your content marketing for a smoother and more profitable sales process.
1. Produce Consistently Great Content
Get creative and consistent with your content production and output to increase the chances of putting more qualified leads through to sales.
There’s very little that can compete with a consistent flow of valuable, actionable content filled with insights and solutions for persisting audience problems. At least, not in the organic marketing realm.
Consistently creating great content has the following advantages:
- Keeps audiences engaged and interested in your content, as well as you as a brand
- Builds and improves brand awareness among new audiences
- Established credibility and authority among the audiences
- Improves SEO and overall organic traffic to your website
Please note that “consistency” is a very important factor here, since the greatest content won’t have audiences coming back if they don’t get more value out of it. Plus, you run the risk of losing out to brands with a more consistent content output.
You can become more consistent with your content by creating detailed content plans as per audience (and buyer persona) needs, focusing on the output over outcomes, and leveraging technology such as writing software.
2. Offer More Content Touchpoints
The more points at which a potential customer can engage with your content, the higher your chances of converting them into genuine prospects.
Granted, you need good quality content or you risk turning the audience off from your content forever (think of that annoying ad you see on Facebook and it follows you on to YouTube!). Stil, you can’t discount the benefits of more avenues for content output.
Some of those benefits include:
- More opportunities to broaden your audience base and outreach net
- Greater chance of engaging confirmed buyers from more platforms
- Lesser need to invest in paid ad boosts on specific platforms
- A chance to learn lead behavior (leads that come in from various different platforms)
You can add more content touchpoints to your repertoire to find out which online platforms generate the most traffic and mentions for a specific topic. For example, if Medium has more content on a topic versus Quora, add that to the list of content outlets.
Also, you can start publishing and putting content out on those same platforms for an added boost in brand recognition. This ties back to the point about addressing audience pain points, in that the more questions you answer, the better your credibility.
3. Align the Internal Sales Process with Buyer Personas
Have your sales team craft their scripts and customer engagement behavior according to the buyer personas that content marketing caters to.
Let’s face it, marketing can only do so much when it comes to actual returns on investment. You need the sales department to back up everything that marketing claims and to solidify the brand’s credibility in the minds of prospects.
Here’s why internal sales improvement is important:
- Sales teams manage the later stages of the buyer’s journey
- Strong, confident sales reps may sometimes fill the gaps in marketing
- Content creates expectations that the sales teams have to satisfy
- Sales is the only directly customer-facing department
Besides the reasons mentioned earlier, sales is vital to marketing because it represents the immediate next step after a lead has been captured. This is mainly why companies should align their sales infrastructures with how their most probable customers think.
You can align sales with the buyer personas by observing the buying behaviors of each individual persona. Once done, you can create scripts, sales schedules, and even hire salespeople with expertise dealing with similar personas.
4. Provide Value Via Content
Your customers need good value. Provide that through your content so they know the benefits of buying from you (and continue to buy from you long after the first successful buyer’s journey completion).
Any piece of content can be valuable to the person who needs it. However, when it comes to content marketing, the value proposition needs to be open for anyone, not just the person whose problem the content addresses.
Here’s why providing value via content is important:
- It engages the individual customer and helps them form a connection with the brand
- It takes standard brand awareness and turns it into brand affinity
- It establishes the brand as an authority on a specific subject matter
- It helps inform the audiences, turning them into the ideal prospects
As mentioned in the second point, it transforms brand awareness into affinity. This is when a visitor associates positive value with a brand and comes to it whenever they need similar value. In other words, it helps form a relationship with visitors.
You can start providing value via content by directly touching upon the problems that the audiences have, providing relevant and up-to-date information, as well as filling your content with actionable insights that people can use.
5. Commit to SEO
SEO is the backbone of any content marketing framework (and online content itself). Without it, brands could drain millions in marketing spend without any meaningful traction or ROI.
Although SEO is a whole other aspect of building online visibility, its importance for even the smallest bit of online content makes it necessary for brands to invest significant time and money into it.
Here’s what SEO does for content marketing to enable sales:
- SEO positions the content at the right place for the willing audience member to see it
- It allows sales-driven content to reach the right prospect at the right time
- Brands can implement SEO without any significant costs (if they have a complete in-house content marketing team)
- It can optimize traffic flow to where only the preferred type of audiences come in
SEO is all about positioning and placing the content where people would want to consume it. As mentioned, it can be tweaked to enable only certain people to access it. All of this means that, if done right, SEO can improve the chances of each lead being a confirmed buyer.
You can improve SEO by hiring dedicated SEO experts to work alongside the content marketing department. In the immediate sense, you can start by tracking and implementing popular search trends, as well as publishing in-demand, high-value content on a regular basis.
6. Strengthen Your Content Marketing Framework
A stronger content marketing department can streamline the sales process to where the sales teams barely have to make an effort to close. This is to the point where a startup could viably function without a sales department if the content marketing team is working their magic.
Any new or established business knows that there has to be someone to bring the buyer in, and someone to sell the product to them. If the first person is doing their job really well, the second person won’t have to exert much effort.
Exchange the point of effort and you have a completely different story. If marketing is not doing well, sales can give their best but would still find it difficult to sell to people who have not even been converted into leads.
This is why it’s extremely important for any business, regardless of the industry, to improve their content marketing.
Here are reasons why that needs to be done sooner rather than later:
- Helps brands interact with a better informed audience
- Helps businesses compete with competitors who are currently using some form of online marketing
- Provides the benefits of big-budget traditional marketing at a fraction of the cost
- Causes existing and potential customers to associate the brand with quality
- Is vital in a transforming digital landscape
You can upgrade your content marketing by observing the trends and changes in the global content marketing scene. One way to do that is to follow thought leaders and subject matter experts on LinkedIn and subscribe to their content.
However, if you’d like to concentrate on producing content while leaving the marketing to the experts, you can outsource the marketing side.
It’s true that despite all your content marketing efforts, you still need a good sales framework and talented salespeople to generate actual ROI. However, that’s simply not possible if you don’t have interested prospects in the first place.
Creating such prospects involves a ton of trial and error, not to mention significant investment in setting up a marketing department.
Either that, or you could outsource all your marketing needs to an agency with some of the top marketing experts in the game!
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with your digital growth.