How to Craft Content That Generates Leads and Closes Sales
What’s the most successful marketing method today? Quite possibly, it’s content marketing. According to Target Marketing’s 2012 Annual Media Usage Survey, 62.2% of those surveyed plan on increasing their content marketing, making it the top new focus for 2012. Strong content marketing not only boosts search engine rankings and increases conversions today, but continues to deliver benefits for months or years to come.
What It Is, Where To Use It. What exactly is content marketing? In a nutshell, it’s any activity that increases sales by delivering helpful information. Instead of sales pitches, think education.
Content marketing can happen online or offline, in person or remotely, in print or through video or audio. It’s actually an old concept that’s gaining new popularity in the digital age. Once you’ve developed solid content, it’s never been easier or cheaper to deliver it to prospects and customers around the globe.
Content marketing can take many forms. Among the possibilities:
- Blog posts
- Buyers guides
- Photo galleries
- White papers
- Garden plans
Your website may be your primary means of delivering content, but you have many more options, including emails, Facebook, YouTube, blogs, your catalog, LinkedIn groups and/or Pinterest. The most successful marketers choose several distribution methods and cross-promote their content to reach the widest possible audience with the least effort.
Key Attributes. No matter what distribution method you choose, good content marketing shares several key attributes:
Education. Compelling content informs and explains. It doesn’t shout or cajole. Consistently providing customers and prospects with helpful information helps keep you top-of-mind when they’re ready to buy.
Rapport. Listen carefully to your customers’ and prospects’ questions and objections and note what sparks an emotional reaction. Pay attention, and your customers will always tell you what content they’ll respond to. Provide it clearly and simply, in a conversational fashion, and you’ll develop a strong bond with your customers and prospects.
Trust. Present the facts and don’t overpromise. Find soft-sell ways to include elements that help build your credibility –such as testimonials and industry awards.
Benefits. Even though content marketing is soft-selling, it’s selling nonetheless. In the process of educating customers, be sure they know whythey should buy your products, why they should buy them from you, and why they should buy them from you now.
Call to Action. While content marketing should not include a blatant sales pitch, you still need to invite your prospects to take the next step. Whether that’s to sign up for an enewsletter, visit your website or buy a particular product, make sure your prospects know exactly what you’d like them to do, and how to do it.
Search Engine Friendliness. Part of what’s so powerful with content marketing is the boost it can give your search engine rankings. Help it do so by developing a steady stream of new content on tightly focused subjects. Be sure to include keyword-rich headlines and tags to help the search engines find your content.
A solid content marketing program is one of the best investments you can make. While emails vanish with a click, and direct mail is typically opened over the trash can, good content keeps working for you for years to come. For help developing content for your business, call Val at 203-226-7338.