Content Marketing agencies like ours exist for one simple reason: to attract potential customers. Content marketing does this by creating the content your audience wants, using the keywords they use.
So if you are looking to grow your business, increase website traffic, rank for important keywords, improve your SEO, or deliver revenue or qualified leads, then you need a documented strategy which follows all the latest content marketing trends.
Every business—especially those just starting out—need both website traffic and qualified leads. Let’s face it. If you’re not dominating the local market with your web presence, the competition will swallow you up.
In fact, according to a July 2017 article from a group of the nation’s top business leaders on the Forbes Agency Council, getting enough traffic and high-quality leads are the top marketing challenges that face over 60% of the nation’s companies.
Unfortunately, website traffic and qualified leads won’t spring up from the ground like magic. Those key ingredients for business success come from one source, say these industry leaders: great content.
- Time, money, and lack of knowledge are huge hurdles for most businesses in creating quality content.
- You should let your content drive your sales, not the other way round.
- Content that solves your customers’ problems consistently drives more traffic and leads.
- Content that increases your brand’s credibility and trustworthiness will be key to long-term growth and success.
Time Is a Limiting Factor for Most Businesses
Most businesses don’t have the time to do what the Forbes Agency Council recommends:
- Research the demographics and characteristics of target customers
- Discover the pain points—the critical challenges—their typical customers face
- Create compelling content that solves these challenges
- Research the words these customers and potential customers will use to search for solutions
If you’re a pharmacy, you’re too busy finding, sorting, and researching the best medications to help your customers. If you’re a horse trainer, you’re up at 6:00 a.m. and going all day long breaking colts and getting them ready for the show ring or the racetrack. If you’re a bathtub manufacturer, you spend all your time finding quality raw materials and equipment, overseeing production, and checking the final products for defects.
No business owner—unless their primary business is producing web content—has the time to do that.
Even though you’re an expert in your field, you don’t have a second to spare to sit down and write about how you can help your customers solve their problems. You certainly don’t have time to create videos that show potential customers how you can help them, for example:
- Deal with their chronic arthritis
- Have a shot at winning the Derby
- Find a bathtub that will last beyond a lifetime
- Or whatever they want most for their business or their personal life
Resources, Too, Are a Limiting Factor
In today’s lean production economy, who has the resources to hire even a house copywriter, let alone a video producer? Not when you have to compete with offshore companies whose labor force costs pennies on the dollar.
You need to put your company’s money into hiring people that can help you produce your product or service. You need to buy world class raw materials and equipment to help you do your job better than anyone else in your industry.
The Forbes Agency’s Diana Wolff may have her heart in the right place when she tells business owners, “Give them a compelling call to action. There’s no magic; do the work and you’ll reap the benefits,” but unfortunately, she doesn’t know much about your schedule—or your budget.
Carving out the time or the resources to create great content that ends with a stirring call to action might as well be magic for thousands of businesses around the world.
Limited Knowledge Limits Many Businesses from Producing Content
You know your own business better than you know the back of your hand. That’s not the kind of knowledge we’re talking about.
For example, you may be a master chef, but you don’t know squat about how to design infographics, create a compelling article or video, let alone design a dazzling graphic that shows how your new tasty diet menu can help your overweight customers lose weight while still enjoying every meal.
Customer Research, Too, Presents a Challenge for Most Businesses
For that matter, how do you know if your target customers even want to lose weight? Do you have the time, the resources, or the knowledge to research your customer base?
Unless you’re a multi-national corporation with a stellar data analysis team, you probably don’t. Without knowing who to target with your content, you might as well be shooting an arrow in the dark.
Part of effective content production is finding the right people to target with your message. As the Forbes Council’s Kelli Corney puts it, you need to “filter out the wrong kind of people.”
You can only do that when you have the time to interact with your customers, analyze their demographics and needs, and create a plan to meet those needs with content aimed straight at their pain points.
“Why Should I Bother with Content When I Have a Great Sales Team?” You Say
Let’s look at what your sales team does. They chase down leads. Beg people to become your customers—even if they don’t need your stuff. They rack up the sales.
But what if those sales aren’t connecting with the right people? What if they don’t really need what you’re selling?
Do you think they’ll recommend your products and services to their colleagues and friends? Probably not. Your sales team probably has about as great a reputation as the sleazy used car dealer in town—if all they’re focused on is making more sales.
Don’t take our word for it, though. Take it from Entrepreneur’s Scott Oldford.
He points out that when you focus on making sales, you’re probably down the wrong path.
What you want are brand evangelists. People who love your stuff so much that they’ll tell the world about it.
That’s why you need to shy away from the usual marketing tricks and sales strategies. Today’s customer has seen it all—from slick Madison Avenue ads to your sales force’s trademark spiel.
What they want is a business they can trust. In Oldford’s words, “the real deal.”
That’s why you need to feed your target customers content. Content they can eat up. Content they can apply to improve their business or their home life.
Content that’s not the same old same-old. Fresh, frequent content they can’t wait to see in their inbox. Content they can hardly wait to read, watch, or hear.
Content that squares with the truth.
That kind of content doesn’t come from “standard online marketing tricks,” says Oldford.
We agree. Your helpful advice should pop up wherever they hang out online or off. In their home mailbox. In their Facebook feed. In their inbox. When they reach out for a lifeline to help them solve a challenge that threatens to undo them, you should be there.
That’s not all. Not only will you become a trusted source of advice, but something else will happen.
You’ll save money. Feed the right customers the right information at the right time, and they’ll come to you. You’ll not have to spend tons of money sending your top sales executives across the country with an expense account half the size of the nation’s budget.
With the right content marketing agency, you can do just that.
- You’ll have access to cutting-edge analytics that help you understand who your customers are.
- You’ll feed those customers relevant content they need to solve their problems at just the right time.
- You’ll keep that content coming often enough to keep them satisfied.
- You’ll discover that these happy customers will tell other like-minded people about your business.
- You’ll have more website traffic, leading to more revenue with fewer costs.
- Your revenue will continue to grow as your customers multiply organically.
- You’ll build a reputation as the trusted authority in your field, putting you at the forefront of potential customers’ minds.
Let Your Content Drive Your Sales Force
When you switch your focus to a customer-focused content strategy, your salespeople will never have to make cold calls again, according to sales strategist Matt Sunshine in his May 2018 Entrepreneur article.
In fact, when they read—and internalize—the content your company posts, they will have extra leverage to point out benefits potential customers may not even realize exist. When you create content your customers need—and do so frequently—your salespeople will find their job easier.
Frequent, Quality, Targeted Content Builds Traffic and Qualified Leads
Not only will sales come more easily, but so will website traffic. As Sunshine points out, businesses who post helpful content 16 times a month will see traffic triple, on average. Triple the traffic means more qualified customers—particularly if you’ve created content that benefits your target customers.
Here’s where a good content marketing agency comes in. Quality content marketing agencies have the time and the knowledge to create the content you haven’t the time to produce.
Furthermore, they have the tools to do all the background research into your target customer base, dive into the data, and come up with content that solves your customers’ challenges. Not only that, but they have the writing, design, and production chops to create world-class content that will set you and your business apart as a leader in your field.
Sharing your expertise won’t make you expendable. It will make you indispensable. Your customers will come to lean on you for an ongoing stream of information to help their business and personal lives to go more smoothly. Your customers will come to see you as a partner in their success.
A Quality Content Marketing Agency Makes You a Partner in Your Customers’ Success
Having a content marketing agency can take your knowledge, package it in professional content that your customers will understand, and position you as a thought leader in your field. When they need what you sell, you’ll be the first person they come to.
Your content marketing agency should also measure results. You don’t have the time to—but content marketing agencies do. Content marketing agencies have the tools to measure key performance indicators (KPIs) that show you exactly which content brings in the most traffic—and which traffic brings in the most revenue.
A Content Marketing Agency That Focuses on Your Target Customer
But you have to be careful when you go on the hunt for an agency. As Bryan Sutter, writing in Forbes, puts it, “Nobody wants to fail. And yet, it happens all the time. Especially in content marketing.”
Some content marketing agencies, unfortunately, resort to shortcuts. Look for marketing agencies that take a holistic, customer-centered approach that backs up their strategy with proven research.
Sutter points out that nearly a third of content marketers, when questioned, couldn’t state what defined marketing success. When you interview a potential content marketing agency, ask them what standards they use to measure marketing success.
If building more traffic and increasing qualified leads—with the numbers to prove it—aren’t among those standards—move on. You can do better.
A Content Marketing Agency that Gives You Measurable Success
Measurable results are the only way to track marketing success, both online and off. It doesn’t matter how many keywords an SEO agency can toss into an article if the article doesn’t solve a problem for your target customers. Solving problems yields measurable results—results you can take to the bank.
It’s not all about turning casual lookers into sales right away. If an agency increases a website’s traffic and leads at all phases of the customer’s journey, that customer is more likely to trust that company. Much more so than a company whose content marketing agency goes for the hard sell right away.
Long-term trust, in turn, yields long-term sales. It also turns customers into the kind of brand evangelists that will do half your sales team’s work for them through referrals.
In any business, referrals are gold. Only quality, actionable content that creates long-term trust will yield quality referrals.
Make sure that the content marketing agency you hire does just that, through:
- Discovering who your target customers are through demographics and localization
- Thorough research to determine your target customers’ challenges
- Giving your customers’ challenges, not your company’s brag sheet, top priority in content selection
- Creating top-quality content to solve these customers’ challenges at every phase of the buying cycle
- Publishing content often enough to build trust
- Measuring the traffic and leads that your content brings in
When you find a content marketing agency that puts your customer first, creates content that helps that customer solve problems, and demonstrates that they’ve helped you build traffic and leads with quality content, you’ve found a valuable resource.
Now that’s a content marketing strategy that can go the distance.