We have mentioned the connection between content marketing and online marketing on several occasions throughout this ebook, and now it is time to explore this connection in details.
Online marketing, also called internet or digital marketing, is the method of advertising products or services using online tools, strategies and methods. Unlike with traditional marketing, online marketing is completely oriented towards the internet and reaching the users online. Content marketing, as the method of using content for online promotion, is a part of online marketing. Just like search engine marketing, email marketing, and social media marketing, content marketing is one segment of online marketing that is focused on one particular aspect, in this case, content. Each of these segments is connected, and together they contribute to online marketing.
In fact, as you will see later on, content marketing can be seen as a base for all other parts of online marketing. It is a core of every online promotion, and it is where every campaign, paid or free, starts.
Content generates traffic. It is as simple as that. Many businesses have traffic generation as one of their primary goals when starting content creation. The reason why traffic is important is the fact that increases exposure and influence of your brand. It helps with expanding the reach which often results in gaining new leads or customers. Search engine optimization is focused on organic, also called free, promotion, which means your goal, in this case, is to reach users through search results pages and by naturally gaining links from other blogs or websites.
These are the primary goals of SEO, and content marketing provides a sort of foundation to achieve them. In both cases, with SERP or backlinks, you need the reason for your website to be shown or linked to. You need to provide some quality that will help you differentiate, that will provide the answer to the user query. You achieve this by creating content.
Even though SEO is a part of SEM, in this section, the focus is on paid advertising of search engine marketing, and how content marketing influences this part of your business. SEM includes promotion through search engines ads. Through this promotion, there is a tendency to directly advertise products or services and thus make them easily accessible to the online users. This is a very productive sort of promotion, as it gives you full control over the campaign costs and allows you to monitor the ROI.
However, due to a large number of ads displayed every day, some companies are deciding to resort to a subtle kind of advertising and this is where content marketing comes into play. So, instead of directly advertising your product or services, you advertise content.
In order for this strategy to be a success, several criteria need to be fulfilled. Firstly, you will need truly extraordinary content. It has to be engaging, interesting, appealing and well-targeted. It has to be worthy of promoting it. You will also need a clearly visible CTA in the content, which directly leads to a conversion page where you get the opportunity to convert the visitors. Even though this is a subtle approach, and you do not want to be too promotional, this is essential to help you boost your profit and actually make this campaign pays off.
To be active on social media, you will need to post regularly. Sometimes you might share content published by different websites and blogs, but to make sure that you gain authority and build your reputation, you will absolutely need your own content. The format of such content can vary, but the main point is that there is uniqueness and originality to it. Of course, high quality is another characteristic crucial for building a reputation on social networks.
In that sense, content marketing provides the material to be shared on social media. Content marketing is simply a method used to achieve these goals you have defined within social media marketing strategy. Content enables you to engage the social media followers, to get them to comment, like or share, to provide feedback, to visit your website, to register for an event, etc. This means that content marketing provides the basis for developing social media marketing presence, regardless if you use status updates, images, videos or blog posts to achieve this.
Email marketing represents the online promotion of products or services through an email campaign. It is the way of communicating with the subscribers through email messages in order to establish and improve the relationship with them. This communication has to encourage users to interact and take action, and for this to happen, for this communication to be successful, you will need content.
Content can be an actual part of the email campaign, where you share the snippets or key findings in the email message. It can also be linked to, in which case the email message is simply an invitation for the subscribers to access the content which is linked to. This form of content distribution is particularly effective due to a high performance of the email marketing. It is also easily trackable, which helps you analyze the efficiency of such content promotion.
The connection of content marketing and lead generation is actually directly related to email marketing. Lead generation is the process of collecting email addresses of online users who are considered potential sales contacts. This means that leads are contacts that are more likely to become your customers in comparison to other subscribers. You then contact leads through an email campaign in the effort to convert them. In this sense, leads are more valuable contacts, and lead generation often requires more effort than simply having a signup button on the website.
This is where content marketing comes into play. One of the most common strategies for lead generation you will encounter nowadays involves offering free content in exchange for an email address. Besides an email address, there might be a short form to fill in, which usually contains the fields that might be relevant for the website owner in terms of learning more about the audience, as well as for mailing list segmentation. The form can include subscriber’s age, location, the size of the company, the role in the company, etc.
For this strategy to be effective, to make sure you attract only the quality leads, the content used in the process needs to meet certain standards:
- High-quality content – This is essential for any content marketing strategy. High-quality content is generally a content that performs better, which also helps with lead generation process.
- Designed for the target group – The content you share with your leads should be designed specifically for them. This ensures they will be interested in such content.
- Available – Make your content available to all the potential leads by featuring it on your website. The best place is near the top of the page, or even as a pop-up window.
- Easily accessible – You should not make it too complicated to access the content. Online users are impatient and when they need information, they want to find it fast. Supply a form to fill if necessary, and leave only the most essential fields to be mandatory when accessing the content. Also, have in mind the mobile users and make the content easily accessible to them as well.
Benefits of content marketing are numerous because this strategy, directly and indirectly, affects many aspects of business running, including other parts of online marketing. Some of the most commonly defined benefits obtained through content marketing include:
This is the first part of getting people to know about your business. Content essentially helps you meet the new online users and if content provides value and sparks interest, it will be enough to attract the attention of the users and encourage them to learn more about your business. Regardless if the content is distributed through social media, email marketing or paid ads, gaining attention is the first step in achieving your ultimate goal, i.e. getting new customers.
While gaining attention is beneficial when it comes to attracting new visitors, content marketing has a more profound role. Through consistent content marketing strategy that is focused on providing quality content, relevant to your target group, you get a certain reputation. If you are constantly providing quality and useful information to your followers, you will become influential in your niche, thus you will gain respect from your followers. This can all help with promoting your brand and ensuring a certain level of loyalty in the long run.
Another, perhaps the major benefit for companies is lead generation through content marketing. Content is consistently one of the most used techniques for lead generation, which means content marketing has a huge impact on the initial process of acquiring new customers. At this point, the leads are only potential sales contact, but the successful communication will help you deepen this relationship.
Here is another email marketing method which is essentially used to establish and maintain a good relationship with your leads. The purpose of this method is to convert the leads into customers or to keep the existing customers loyal to your brand. This is another aspect where content marketing comes into play as the opportunity to share custom content designed for lead nurturing. By giving them exclusive access to such content, you establish communication and engage the recipients.
The sales cycle starts with the interest in your brand and it ends with the actual sales. Through this cycle, a customer goes through a couple of phases, where content has a crucial role. Content enables you to position your company in the search engine results pages, to gain reputation and to provide true value to your followers. It helps you engage them, and keep them loyal. All of this combined is going to boost the sales and affect your business in a positive way. Content indirectly leads you to increase profit you generate through sales.
In essence, content marketing can be regarded as a foundation of all your business efforts and strategies online. It is a starting point when first designing a website and it assists you until the sale is realized. Different types of content and different content strategies are used along the way, but ultimately, it is all done with one idea in mind – content marketing assists with overall online marketing efforts providing much-needed value to distinguish your business from many others on the market. Finally, the content becomes a sort of a connection between you and online users, becoming essential in the process of converting the online users, using all online marketing strategies that are available to you.