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It’s easy to attribute increased web traffic or social shares to content marketing. The tricky part is connecting cold, hard sales with a blog post or e-book.

It’s a common misconception that content marketing is only good for brand awareness or boosting traffic, but it can also have a powerful effect on the bottom line.

Here are three ways that content marketing can generate more sales:

Attracts a very specific, qualified prospect

Different types of content attract different kinds of leads. For example, you could argue that a company blog is kind of a free-for-all. You may have a very focused blog (let’s say it’s about B2B public relations), but readers are finding the posts via organic search or social media. You could be attracting anyone from a high school student searching for PR as a major to a job hunter to your ideal customer (a B2B tech firm looking to hire a new PR agency). There’s nothing wrong with this; in fact, that is the whole point of a blog. You want to create blog posts to reach far and wide to generate awareness and increase traffic.

You can also create content to accomplish the opposite goals — to attract a very specific type of person. This is where content marketing excels in the lead generation arena. Instead of publishing blog posts and hoping your ideal customer stumbles upon them, you can work backward and create something specifically designed to attract that ideal customer.

The more targeted and narrow your content is, the more qualified leads you’ll generate. For example, using the B2B public relations topic, you could create an e-book about the 15 must-have characteristics of a B2B PR firm or the 20 warning signs that you chose the wrong PR firm. Both these pieces of content speak to a specific step in the buyer journey (the discovery/research phase), making it much more likely that you’ll attract companies looking to hire a new firm.

Nurtures potential customers who have already shown interest

How many names and email addresses do you have of people who are kind of interested in your product or service? And when is the last time you reached out to these people? The hard part is already done; these users have given you permission to contact them again. Now, you just need to keep the momentum going.

Content marketing automates the relationship-building process and ensures that these interested parties continue to hear from you. You could add these people to a email campaign where you send everyone your most popular blog post of the week. Or, add them to your monthly newsletter or your webinar invite list. Then, after a couple months of providing helpful, valuable content, you could send an email designed to convert. Ask them if they’d like to speak to a sales person, restart a trial, or give them a discount for their first purchase. They’ll be more likely to take action after the relationship has already been established.

Frees up your sales team to go after bigger fish

How much time does your sales team spend answering the same questions? It’s only normal that consumers want as much information as possible before making a purchase, but the burden often falls to your salespeople to provide these answers.

Free up their bandwidth by creating content that answers the most common buyer questions. Even better, use content marketing to answer every question in the buyer journey to help expedite the final sale.

For example, using the same example of a B2B public relations agency, you could create a series of webinars explaining the problems of B2B marketing and PR (establishing the need for a good PR firm). You could draft a blog post with everything someone would need to know about XYZ PR firm, including pricing, services, team bios, experience, case studies, and testimonials. Then, you could create a visual chart comparing XYZ PR firm to its competitors.

By openly giving all the necessary information to potential customers, you’re enhancing the customer experience and letting your sales team go after bigger accounts or do more proactive outreach. And the sales content will continue to work on its own in the background, so when someone does reach out to a sales person, they’ll be more informed and easier to convert.

 

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