With a Reputable Partner, Content Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult
A recent MarketingSherpa survey asked about 2,000 small business owners to rank lead generation tools according to their overall effectiveness and difficulty of implementation. Respondents listed a whole bunch of online lead generation tactics with varying degrees of cost-effectiveness:
- Mobile marketing
- Social media marketing
- PPC advertising
- Email marketing
It didn’t come as a shock that content marketing won the “frustrating” award: While it was ranked as one of the most effective lead generation tools, it also took top honors for difficulty of implementation.
Select survey respondents provided some illuminating feedback. Many business owners appreciate the relatively low cost of content marketing but express frustration with the amount of effort that it requires. WebMaxFormance owner Igor Mateski astutely noted that “…[C]ontent was labeled as ‘most difficult’…because business owners simply don’t have the resources or time to run a proper content marketing campaign.”
Whereas PPC advertising requires little more than a brief sketch and an open-ended financial commitment, content marketing seems to require inordinate investments of time, thought and manpower. Successful content marketing campaigns require well-chosen keywords for SEO purposes as well as unique pitches and areas of focus for readers at every level of the sales funnel. Since ideal Web copy is concise, easy-to-read and filled with aids like bullet lists, headers and deep links, content marketing campaigns also demand a steep learning curve for uninitiated business owners. It all sounds tough to keep straight.
Meltwater Group Digital Marketing Manager Jen Picard chimed in with a beautifully stated thesis that encapsulates the small business community’s need for flexible, comprehensive, ongoing content marketing strategies. While content marketing might seem overwhelming at first blush, it all boils down to “be[ing] the resource that [prospective customers] go to while researching solutions to their problems.”
In other words, effective content marketing isn’t really about writing catchy sales copy that makes a convincing but ultimately boring argument about the merits of a product or service. It’s actually about positioning your business as a purveyor of practical information that engages your target audience and encourages further action. It’s also about creating the perception that your organization is a thought leader in its field.
When you have a full – or maybe overflowing – plate, you can’t afford to micromanage an ongoing content marketing campaign that spans multiple channels. By delegating responsibility for content development to a trusted partner with years of online marketing and branding experience, you’ll eliminate your learning curve and free up time to focus on providing excellent service to new and existing customers.
Your decision to forge such a partnership will have short-term and long-term benefits. You’ll immediately free up creative resources to focus on sharpening your business approach and improving your relations with existing clients. You’ll also be able to devote more time and energy to preparing for new leads. Meanwhile, your new partner will work with you to craft a campaign that leverages the appropriate channels to provide informative, brand-consistent content. You’ll also learn how to analyze the effectiveness of each aspect of your marketing efforts and implement real-time changes that improve its overall impact.
In the long run, a content marketing partner can sustain a deep, broad campaign that keeps your business top-of-mind for an ever-widening audience. As your relationship develops, your partner will become attuned to your content-related needs and maintain vital brand consistency with less and less direct guidance. Ultimately, your long-term content marketing partnership will engender a virtuous cycle that combines increasingly sharp and engaging content with improved audience engagement, lead generation and conversion metrics.
Despite his concerns, Mr. Mateski ultimately agrees that content marketing is indispensable. Well-done content marketing accelerates the sales cycle by nudging customers “deeper into the conversion funnel…hardly any other is as effective of a convincer [sic] as content,” he argues. Whether you’re in charge of a B2C supply shop that caters to home-brewing enthusiasts or a B2B logistics firm that offers customized freight services, a content marketing partnership should constitute a big slice of your lead generation pie.