CEOs and marketing leaders often stand on opposite sides of a deep chasm in terms of their belief in the power of B2B content marketing. While marketers recognize that content marketing can boost ROI, many corporate leaders still live in a worldview where traditional direct marketing campaigns rule.
Such campaigns are familiar. They’re deliver results in a short period and are immediately measurable. And, sadly, they are not today’s most lucrative marketing investment.
But if you haven’t implemented content marketing in your organization, it’s difficult to convince your CEO that it offers higher value than its marketing forefathers.
How can you prove content marketing gets results unless you have a budget to put it to work?
And when you ask for budget dollars, you’re barraged with questions. Why would you give away information? Why should the company create content on anything but the business itself? And why should we wait so long for marketing results?
The answer is simple: because content marketing delivers a higher long-term ROI than traditional outbound marketing.
The Three Step Persuasion Plan
If you’re on a mission to convince upper management that content marketing is right for your company, take these steps.
- Use statistics to counter objections and gain approval for a content marketing pilot test. They prove other companies are delivering results and believe in content marketing.
- Set expectations. Content marketing is like crockpot-marketing. It takes time, but delivers, in the long term, a higher number of leads and sales opportunities. It’s the foundation for search engine optimization that helps to attract website visitors, the fodder for social media and lead nurturing, and the bait for lead conversion. Content marketing attracts, educates, builds your brand and softly sells. But it doesn’t do it overnight.
- Use best practices to implement the pilot test, ensuring optimum results.
Statistics that Prove the Power of B2B Content Marketing
It starts with a battle for budget dollars. You want to use the money for content marketing, but the corner-office executive claims that content marketing is too expensive.
It’s not. It’s an investment that pays off. Here are the stats to prove it.
1. Content Marketing Costs Less than Traditional Marketing
Inbound marketing uses content to earn prospect and customer attention, attracting the company’s target audience to their website and converting them. Organizations dominated by inbound marketing experience a cost per lead that’s between 40 and 68% lower than outbound marketing dominated organizations, depending on their size.
Source: Hubspot, State of Inbound 2014
2. Content Marketing Conquers the Buying Cycle
Upper management also often doesn’t have a clear picture of what content marketing can do for them. It can move buyers through the buying cycle, attracting web traffic, converting visitors into leads, and transforming leads into sales opportunities.
- Content Marketing Attracts Web Visitors
The year-over-year growth in unique site traffic is 7.8 times higher for content marketing leaders compared to followers (19.7% vs. 2.5%). (Kapost)
Companies that blog 15 or more times per month see 5 times more traffic than companies that don’t blog. (HubSpot)
- Content Marketing Boosts Conversion Rates
Website conversion rate is nearly six times higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters (2.9% vs. 0.5%). (Kapost)
3. Content Marketing Lowers Cost-Per-Lead
The cost-per-lead for companies using inbound dominated marketing is 60% less than those who favor outbound dominated marketing. (Hubspot)
Companies with over 200 blog articles have 5 times more leads than those with 10 or fewer. (Hubspot)
5. B2B Marketers Give Content Marketing the Vote of Approval
B2B marketers are devoting time and money to content marketing, showing they believe in its value.
- 83% of B2B marketers say content marketing is important or very important for lead generation. (CMI)
- 47% of B2B marketers have a dedicated content marketing group (Marketo), and 69% of the most effective B2B marketers have a dedicated content marketing group in their organization. (CMI)
- 65% of enterprise B2B marketers are creating more content than a year ago. (Marketo)
- B2B marketers on average spend 28% of their budgets on content marketing. (Marketo)
- The average company is spending $379,600 on content. (Marketo)
6. You Can Do Content Marketing Without a Fully Staffed Internal Team
Even if content marketing works, another fear prevails…that the company does not have the resources internally to implement content marketing.
- 62% of companies outsource content marketing. (Demand Metric)
Do Your Pilot Study Right
After you’ve used the statistics to convince upper management to give you a budget for content marketing, and set realistic expectations, you want to ensure you set your company up for a successful pilot study. Below are the steps you need to take.
Once you’ve convinced the powers that be that content marketing can help your business, you want to execute your pilot test correctly to ensure success. That means starting with a strategy.
“Content marketers who have a documented strategy are eight times more likely (60% vs. 7%) to rate themselves as being effective content marketers vs. those who have no strategy, written or otherwise.” MarketingProfs
The strategy begins with developing buyer personas that show how your customers move through the buying cycle, the questions they ask and the content they consume along the way. With this information, you can develop a strategy that tailors content to their needs. Bear in mind that according to research by Sirius Decisions, 60 to 70% of the content produced by B2B marketing organizations goes unused. That’s because many managers suffer from a false economy. They save the time and money by not investing in persona research and strategy creation. Instead, they waste millions on unread and unviewed content.
There’s no reason to risk creating a lot of marketing content that may or may not be relevant to prospects. You can simply do buyer persona research, create a strategy and then produce content for which your customers are looking.
Your content should answer prospect and buyer questions. As it does, it will build your credibility, shorten your sales cycle and increase conversions.
2. Map It
To ensure that your content leads your prospects through the buying cycle with ease, you need to map content to the questions buyers have in each step of the buying process: awareness, interest, decision and loyalty. You’ll need content to attract web visitors and convert leads. You’ll also require content to nurture leads and ensure loyalty. Email marketing is effective for this purpose.
3. Audit Your Content
You don’t have to start from scratch with content creation. You may already have articles, educational information and more on hand. So, take an inventory and decide what you can reuse or repurpose to meet your audience’s needs.
4. Generate an Editorial Calendar
There’s no need to create everything at once. Start at a measured but disciplined pace. Use an editorial calendar that charts out exactly what you need to create, repurpose, or pull from your existing content to do your pilot test. Include deadlines! You want to make sure that you feed the content beast on a consistent basis.
5. Produce a Promotional Plan
It’s dangerous to follow the belief “If we produce it, they will come.” Content distribution is an important part of success. You can distribute your content through many channels: social media, online display advertising, and content syndication. Also, you can attract traffic organically through search engine optimization that includes audience and link building through guest blogging.
6. Create Content
Now you’ve set the groundwork and can start to create your content. With all the upfront planning, you can feel confident of a much higher chance of success for your pilot test. After all, research shows that 62% of the most effective content marketers have a strategy and follow it closely.
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