For most businesses, marketing is a key part of what they have to do in order to get clients and sell products.
However like all cost centres in a business, the return on the investment also needs to be considered.
Some of the more traditional or outbound marketing strategies that many businesses use have included;
- email campaigns
- tv campaigns
Amongst the list of drawbacks to these approaches, are the fact that they tend to be costly and are usually one off campaigns for a specific product or offer.
This article looks at the benefits to using a content marketing strategy rather than relying solely on an advertising based approach. The skills are different, but then so too are the costs.
Inbound Versus Outbound Marketing Strategies
Outbound marketing is the traditional approach to marketing. It tends to be costly because it involves targeting a large section of the population. Adverts or banners are distributed to people for a selected period of time. With outbound strategies it is a numbers game; the more people who read your advert, the more likely you will get clicks and sales.
The alternative to outbound marketing is to use inbound marketing strategies.
Inbound strategies focus on content production, usually through blogs or articles. This is then disseminated through social media and other digital marketing channels and people are encouraged to interact through comments or social media shares and feedback.
The audience is more targeted and the focus is on building a relationship with a smaller segment of the population, but one that has expressed interest in your area of expertise / knowledge or product.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a process that consists of creating a number of articles linked to a niche subject and/or product. The purpose of content marketing is to provide information to potential customers rather than sell a product directly.
Unlike traditional advertising the content is detailed and seeks to give potential customers answers to the questions they might have. These questions could be about the product or the company selling the product or service.
In order to disseminate the content many companies use a blogging platform, such as a blog site within their company website.
This means that frequent pieces of content can be uploaded onto a website and accessed by the main search engines to be included in search queries.
The Content Marketing Institute offer a number of case studies, which illustrate how effective content marketing strategies can be in promoting a message.
One example they use is of a software company that managed to capture 100,000 visitors to their site. The company has seen a 70% increase in new traffic and potential customers, since adopting a content marketing approach.
However as the quote above states, content marketing is a slower process and needs commitment to produce regular content. In addition the content produced needs to be done in a thought through and strategic manner, by developing a content strategy.
Return on Investment
As a business owner or marketing specialist one of the biggest questions to ask of any marketing strategy is -what is the return on investment or ROI?
The following graph shows the responses given in the Hubspot annual inbound marketing survey.
As can be seen from the survey results, most companies experienced a greater ROI than in previous years, which could be for a number of possible reasons.
- more experience and more effective content marketing approaches used
- dedicated use of the content approach
- customers are more familiar with content marketing and interact and share the content more
- increased exposure and longer time in the search engine, equals more views and higher rankings = more customers
SO if your business is interested in a content marketing approach how do they start?
How Does Content Marketing Work?
The first stage in the process is to develop a Blog Site. This can be done through a web developer, but most blog sites are done through blogging platforms.
Companies such as Site Rubix offer web site building, hosting and domain name registration services and for a minimal fee ($47 per month) a business can host multiple websites and have access to the sophisticated keyword research tool.
Once this website has been created, the next stage is to develop a content strategy. This will be created so that it links in with the promotion schedule of the company.
So for example if a certain product is to be launched in July, then the blog site would start writing related articles well in advance of the launch date.
Content marketing relies on articles getting ranked highly in search engines such as Google. This process uses skills of search engine optimisation or SEO. This means that customers who haven’t heard of the company before will find these pages when they are searching for information in Google.
There is obviously a lot of competition to get business websites ranked as highly as possible, since the higher the rank the quicker and easier clients will see your website.
This is one of the advantages of using a blog site for a business, because it keeps content fresh and updated, and search engines and the public see that the site is always relevant.
One of the main ways in which articles rank in the search engines, is through their keyword use. An important component in SEO is to source keywords that can rank highly and not face too much competition.
Most content writers use keyword tools such as Jaaxy to help them do this research. These tools identify the number of searches you can expect to have for each keyword, as well as the expected traffic and number of competition sites.
In business, content marketing is usually pressurised in order to ensure that there is a stream of good quality and potentially high ranking content being produced. Keyword tools such as these are invaluable for ensuring these targets can be met.
Digital marketing is the process of using sources of digital media to promote the content that has been written.
Once your content has been written you need to ensure that it is read by as many people as possible who might be interested in your products or services.
Digital media provides a great cost effective way to reach a dedicated target group, especially as recent research showed that nowadays a significant number of people have constant access to their phone and internet connection.
Using Content Rather Than Adverts – Summary
In summary there are a number of advantages to using content based marking rather than relying totally on advertising.
- It provides greater opportunities for customers to interact with the company and develop a relationship.
- A blog site means that content is updated regularly which is good for customers and search engines
- It is cheaper in cost although it still needs a commitment and time
- The skills can be learnt relatively quickly
- It suits the buying patterns of many customers who prefer to research their products before actually buying.
The next step in your content marketing journey really depends on where you are now.
- Do you have a website? – SiteRubix Free Website Builder and Hosting Platform provides all the information you need to get started.
- Do you need to learn about Digital Marketing? – you can read about an online resource that I am also involved in and which provides information on this – Digital Marketing at Wealthy Affiliate University
Below is a series of other posts on this site that you might find useful as a resource as you start your own content marketing research.
Other posts on this topic that might be of interest are.
- How to Use Keywords in Business Blogs
- What is Digital Marketing?
- The Benefit of Blogging in Business
If you have any further questions or queries please feel free to add them into the comments section below, and please share the article on your chosen social media channel.
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