When I joined the SMA Marketing team in 2016 I was clear I wanted to stay in my lane. I am a writer. I believe in the power of words for clear communication. More than that, I love to leverage the power of storytelling. The process of highlighting our client’s mission, values, strengths, services and products is new and different every time we begin creating an excellent piece of content marketing and I love it. Over time I’ve learned the value of analytics, but I’ll chose words over numbers any time I can.
So, you might imagine my disappointment when I finally admitted that in order to write this blog post I have to spend some time also talking about my least favorite part of digital marketing; analytics. Regardless, I’m choosing to see the positive side. Because the truth is, when done well content marketing requires both a time and financial investment. The fact that we can prove analytically the positive ROI of your investment in content is fantastic.
Here is How Content Marketing Works
Content marketing is inclusive of information you use to tell potential and current customers about your business at every stage of their buyer’s journey. This includes all items you develop to market your company such as blog articles, videos, infographics, white papers, slide decks, and brochures.
Behind the scenes from a technical perspective, content marketing adds layers of information to your website and social media pages that inform search engines about your website’s intent. When you incorporate SEO best practices your content adds context for search bots and helps Google connect your website with your ideal buyer.
High-Quality Content Marketing Will
Improve your website SEO
Attract the right prospects and customers
Increase customer retention
Build trust with visitors
Help you establish your voice as an industry expert
Help you fill your social media feed with a variety of quality content
Answer commonly asked questions at every step of your buyer’s journey
Expand your organic digital reach
Help you retain loyal customers
The question remains how does content marketing do all these amazing things?
In short, your content positions your website to help Google solve people’s problems and answer their questions.
When you have the best information to answer the right question, your website URL appears in search results. The higher you rank, the better your chances that someone will click on your URL and read your article or watch your video to find the solution to their problem. Even though someone was not necessarily looking for you or your company, they are now aware of both and have entered the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey.
With each layer of content you create, you add opportunities to answer questions for potential customers. Once a website searcher enters the awareness stage every piece of content is another opportunity to present who you are and why your products and services are amazing. As long as your website is visually appealing and easy to search you are likely to keep customers engaged with every question you answer.
Consider the Impact
Thanks to our friends at Bright Local we are able to track some very specific information regarding content. This client is a pool repair company in Central Florida which is a highly competitive market. As you can see when we look at the first 90 days of 2019 their website URLs appeared in over 4,000 searches.
Bright Local identifies the vast majority of these appearances as Discovery searches. Discovery searches are those where a customer finds a listing by searching for a category, product or service. Only 9% or 110 of the searches in these 90 days were people directly searching by name for our client.
We can also see that there were 256 direct actions taken in the first 90 days of 2019. Meaning that our pool company attracted an additional 146 customers to take a direct action to engage with Aquaman either by visiting their website, calling them, or asking for directions from Google.
Thanks to dozens of blog articles our pool company has multiple opportunities to rank in search results for various keywords. For example, let’s say a Florida home owner searches “do I have a pool leak”. They may not know our company’s name, but the company will pull up in search and Google will identify them as a business because we’ve set up their Google Business Page. The home owner will also have the choice to read several blog articles, call the company, watch a video, download an ebook, or send an email requesting to book an appointment.
Additional Benefits of Content
Besides more than doubling our pool repair company’s potential customer contacts, content marketing has additional benefits for this small business. In their busiest season, pool contractors are rarely in their offices. They are out on calls all day responding to emergencies. They don’t have a lot of time or bandwidth left to answer the same questions over and over.
By creating a library of blog articles and videos that specifically answer pool owners’ questions our client’s website helps their customers decide when to call for pool repair services. Their website offers excellent customer service that works for them 24/7/365.
Additionally, when situations happen such as a hurricane passing through, we are able to quickly send an email to our pool repair company’s customers with several links to past blog articles reminding them about how to care for their pool properly. Not only does this show that they are helpful, but also reminds customers they are available if a pool needs repairs after the hurricane.
With larger companies, content marketing often helps sales teams continue conversations with potential customers or upsell products and services.
The Desire for Content is Increasing
Consumers now research products, services, and people online multiple times before considering a purchase.
Check out these stats from v12Data.com:
81% of retail shoppers conduct online research before buying. The overwhelming majority of retail consumers start their journey with online research. (GE Capital Retail Bank)
When Econsultancy conducted their survey for Digital Marketing Trends, they asked companies to state the single most exciting opportunity for 2019. Customer experience came in first. (Econsultancy)
According to data compiled by Big Commerce, focusing on the US market, 30 percent of online shoppers would be likely to make a purchase through a social media network. Among millennials, this proportion increases to 51%. (Big Commerce)
90% of consumers say they use multiple devices to complete everyday tasks, while 40% say they use their mobile device to conduct research prior to making a purchase. (Google)
Not only are consumers starting purchasing decisions with online research, but they are also asking for referrals from friends and family.
The desire to buy from someone trustworthy is natural. With consistent content that is truthful, educational and helpful you will establish yourself as an expert in your industry and earn your customer’s trust whether someone they know has purchased your services or they are the first.
Are you ready to develop a content marketing strategy that will establish you as an industry expert and increase your digital reach? At SMA Marketing we create unique, analytics-backed content strategies for each of our clients while also incorporating SEO best practices into every step.