Suppose you are a potential customer but have lots of questions about the process of your services. What would you find most helpful and effective in leading you to reach your goals?
An immediate call or in-person meeting with a sales person where they tell you just about their own financial solutions?
Or where you can do your own research online and find relevant resources and articles that address your questions exactly?
The answer is a no-brainer and is precisely why the purpose of content marketing is being tapped into and used by hundreds of businesses today. Firms are now realizing that customers don’t like to be poked and prodded into a one-size-fits-all solution , but instead are real people with varying problems, who are now preferring to opt for the Internet as the first step in their research and buying process.
Rather than presenting only one solution (your solution that is), customers respond much better to a wider-scope approach where you provide helpful, relevant content to address their problems and challenges, naturally moving them forward in the sales process.
Here are 4 points that will highlight the purpose of content marketing.
1. It Attract Visitors
What makes Inbound Marketing so effective is that instead of mindlessly searching and chasing after people to listen to your solutions, you are able to write valuable content that will naturally appeal to potential customers and attract them to read and respond to it. But you don’t want to write just any content, you want to produce the right content for the right people. And in order to do that, you need to keep in mind your firm’s buyer persona and buyer’s journey.
In order to attract customers to your firm’s brand, you need to create content that cater towards the specific characteristics and preferences of your ideal buyer who is in the Awareness stage of the buyer’s journey at this point. Because of this, your content - whether it be blog articles, podcasts, or videos - should address your prospect’s initial pain-points and any questions they may have when they’re starting out on their own research online.
Once you’ve written valuable content, how can you increase its exposure so that it can attract prospects to your firm? Take advantage of search engine optimization (SEO) and social media.
For example, if you’ve written a great blog article on the 5 Questions to Ask Yourself when Considering Financial Investments, optimize important keywords so that a prospect who is looking to get into financial investments may type in a similar query into a search engine and may stumble upon your blog article. In a similar fashion, sharing your blog article through your firm’s social media opens up the opportunity for it to be shared around your network and potentially being read by a prospect.
2. It Helps with Lead GenerationYou’ve attracted considerable visitors to your firm’s brand, now what? It’s not enough to just bring in high traffic to your website, but you need these prospects converting to leads in order to create a sales opportunity.
What differentiates a lead from just any other prospect is that they decide to take an intentional action, moving them forward in the sales process. The most common way to convert leads is to use a “Contact Us” form on a company’s website, but not all prospects are ready to speak with a sales person just yet, even after reading a blog article or two of yours. Your prospects are very likely at different points in their buyer’s journey and need additional content and information from you in order to take action and fill out a form. Put yourself in your prospects’ shoes and think about what kind of deeper content would be useful and make sense to have after they’ve initially gone through a blog article, podcast, or video.
For example, if a prospect read through your blog article about the 5 Questions to Ask Yourself when Considering Financial Investments, why not include an eBook or extended guide on the different kinds of financial investment solutions available to an investor, which people can download by filling out a form?
Or if you’ve noticed a prospect has gone through a few of your videos on alternative investments, it may be a good idea to create a webinar people could register online on for where they can ask any questions they may have specifically on challenges to alternative investments.
3. It Nurture Leads
Once you’ve successfully generated a lead, this is the starting point of a relationship. Note the key word, “relationship”, and not the words transaction or sales deal. Your leads are people first and foremost, and have a problem that they need help with. As a firm, taking on a posture of help and understanding is the best way to show your lead that you care about their goals and challenges and that you recognize them as a unique individual.
When planning your marketing efforts, remember that the buying behaviour of potential investors is not merely a 2 step process where they become a lead and are then immediately ready to purchase. Because leads have been independently doing their own research up to this point, they want to continue gathering as much information and answers as possible to their problem before taking any major step forward in the sales process. In this way, Inbound Marketing facilitates this organic process by providing valuable content in the right context to nurture each lead until they’re ready to buy.
One of the best ways to nurture leads with content is through email. Because email is highly customizable, you can include specialized content and resources in the email that resonate closely with a lead and where they are at in the buyer’s journey. Here are 3 key pillars to writing an effective, engaging email:
- Determine the goal of the email.
Before you even start writing, ask yourself, what are you trying to achieve through this email? Are you trying to build trust, prompt them to click on a CTA, educate them further on a topic they’re interested in? Define a goal that is specific and clear.
- Review the lead’s past activity and interest.
Look at at your lead’s past engagement with your firm’s website and social media and assess what topics and content types they were interested in as a gauge for what kind of content to send them through email. For example, you may find that a particular lead is greatly interested in alternative investments and has listened to several podcasts about this topic.
- Make your emails client-driven.
As stated previously, the tell-tale sign of a good email is when it serves both the customer and the firm well. Writing a point-blank email asking a lead to consider your firm’s own solution really only helps you in the end. However, taking the time to focus on your lead and thoughtfully include an eBook, or podcast or blog article link that you think they may find helpful makes all the difference between a mediocre and great email.
4. It Helps Collect Data as Marketing Intelligence in order to better sellContent Marketing is a continual process and doesn’t stop once you’ve sent out some emails to your leads. While producing good content is crucial to building a relationship with your leads, you want to make sure the content is actually good and is allowing your firm to help your investors to the best of your ability.
Collecting data on how well your firm’s marketing tactics are performing will not only help you recognize if there’s anything that needs to be improved on, but will additionally help you gain further knowledge and intelligence on each of your leads. Some important metrics to keep track of are which emails and links have been opened and at what times, which pages are most visited on your website, and form submissions that were filled out.
So then, what is the purpose of content marketing?
It's to educate your ideal buyers on how to solve problems that they have. By doing so, you will attract them to your website, have the opportunity to generate leads and nurturing them, while helping you better understand what their needs are before you speak with them.