How Content Marketing Can Spike Sales

If 2012 was about anything in the marketing world, it was about the surge of content marketing. Whether it is written, audio or video, brands have started to jump on the bandwagon to become like publishers, radio stations or TV networks. Whether you sell to consumers or other businesses, brands are waking up to the marketing magic called content marketing. 

What the heck is content marketing? 

What is content marketing? Two way communications.
Is this the special sauce for most brands trying to differentiate themselves and to increase revenue? Hardly, but it is a critically important aspect of a fully integrated approach to marketing. Using internet business marketing can help accelerate leads in your funnel and ultimately spike your sales. 

In simplest terms, content marketing is about creating your own story with words or pictures and using them to create an engaged community of like-minded people. At the essence is two-way communications. 

Content marketing efforts have existed forever
The old school version of content marketing was the boring sales brochure that nobody read, cost a ton of money to produce and was filled with corporate speak and dusty unturned pages. It was a one way communication and suffered from chronic dullness. Sure it was beautiful to look at but did anyone really read it? Doubtful.

Even a website can be an old school format when they are static and just an online version of the corporate brochure.  This type of marketing is often about promoting a category not promoting your distinctive brand promise. You may be educating people about dry cleaning in the 21st century but it’s not an effective way to get the shirt off my back.

Content marketing is like using a two-way walkie talkie
Walkie Talkie Marketing

What is different about content marketing today is that it can now be a two-way conversation. I can blog about my brand and in 20 minutes I can have 10 comments from readers who agree, disagree or just want to share their point of view. Whether it is on Facebook, Twitter or a blog on a corporate website, the world has changed because of the ability to engage, to connect and to build more holistic relationships with customers or clients. My posts to a Linkedin group about a topic where I have some expertise can be filled with engaging conversations and I get to share my knowledge. One of my own recent posts had 50 unique readers in less than 50 minutes.

Talking and Listening – Walkie Talkie Communications

Almost without exception, someone is interested in your niche. Whether you run an organic dry cleaners, a law firm for left handed clients or you sell lakeside property to professional bowlers, content marketing provides you the opportunity to do several important things:

STORY TELLING: Tell stories about your work and why you are different

ADVISOR: Give advice about your special knowledge or niche

SHARE: Share information that can be educational or quirky

ENRICHMENT: Enrich the personality of your brand by humanizing it

PASS AROUND: Provides an easy way for your brand to be distributed by your readers to their friends.

CONNECT A COMMUNITY: Sometimes finding like-minded individuals who share a niche interest, is the most compelling reason for content marketing activity.

How can content marketing spike sales?
The problem most companies have is that they don’t see how this work will translate into more business. How can there be a connection between words on page, conversations on a podcast or video hits on YouTube. I feel your pain.  
Spiked Marketing 

But how do you measure all of the current marketing activity you engage in? Where does your new business come from today and how do you maintain your current clients? Are you being honest with your current efforts and measuring everything you do? 

Did you measure your return on that ad you ran in the local paper?

Did you measure the benefit of your new phone system and its monthly fee?

Did you calculate the ROI of that trip to an industry trade conference?

A Simple Way To Think about Content Marketing

I think that content marketing requires a simple, singular clear goal that allows you to measure progress.

An Example: Perhaps everything you do with your marketing activities today is geared toward getting potential clients or customers to sign up for your Tip of the Week email. Today, you may have 50 people who receive your emails with 1 out of 50 calling once a month to get more information about something you mentioned.

What happens when your content marketing adds to that list and suddenly you have 250 or 500 people on that list? What happens when instead of 1 you are getting 10 calls per month for follow up information?

This is how marketing works when you have a clear sales path defined. So all of the blogging, the podcasting, the videos or the speaking engagements all help fill your pipeline with self-identified interested leads. 

Marketing requires investment and patience. But ultimately you must find a way to track results. If you aren't going to create a KPI (key performance indicator) of success, than don't bother with content marketing. If you measure results with in a simple way tied to lead generation and revenue, content marketing can help grow your business. 

So spike your sales- not your hair. 

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