A gentleman who I shall call Bob (to protect the innocent), runs a successful technology company and he’s been reading our blog for a few years now. We have had the pleasure of speaking several times a year about marketing. He is insightful, an experienced business leader and a phenomenal subject matter expert.
But he hasn’t bought into digital and content marketing for his business.
In a recent conversation, Bob asked me this…
- Does content marketing work?
- Does it only work for big companies?
- Is digital marketing legitimate?
- Why does it not work for some people?
Your business might look something like Bob’s. Today, 85% of his leads are coming through referrals. His business has limited results with cold calling. He calls it, “soul destroying” because people don’t want to discuss their technology until it’s broken. He does a lot of speaking engagements which generate leads but this is time consuming and hard to scale.
Bob admits, like a lot of business leaders I speak with, that they have lots of marketing collateral but he does not feel that the messaging is right. Their marketing process is not tightly defined. They know who their buyer is and when they get the right person on the phone and they address the right trigger, they have a very high close rate. But this is hard to get right and scale.
At one time they were spending tens of thousands of dollars on marketing. It was a lot of guessing and opinion and designing stuff to see if it would stick. The traditional form of marketing, as Bob called it, yielded few results.
Does content marketing yield results?
Of course I immediately want to tell Bob YES, YES, a thousand times yes. But for an experienced business leader who has grown up in the trenches, he’s just not a believer.
So to help Bob with this question, I turn some questions back to him. If you believe Forrester Research to be true, 60% of the buying process is taking place online before you ever hear from the prospect, so what I want to know is…
- Who is coming to your website today?
- What do they do when they get there?
- How do you know if they are a prospect?
- If they are not ready to call you or buy, what do they do next?
Now to be fair, Bob is not using a marketing automation tool and he is not tracking what is happening on his website other than the data he can pull from Google Analytics. He is not alone in this lack of data visibility. Many companies don’t know what is happening on their site, how people got there and who they are.
Here’s when content marketing does not work…
- When you use opinion and not data to decide what to execute.
- When you have a copywriter and not a subject matter expert involved in developing content – meaning the content doesn’t ring true for your audience.
- When you don’t have a plan or consistency about what and when you are going to send content.
- When you don’t track or measure what is actually happening on your website with the content and no process or plan to test the next steps in the buying process.
So what should Bob do next?
- First, Bob needs to fix the message on his home page and create an active inbound marketing strategy for his website. He has done well with in-house resources updating content on the site but he needs a trained set of eyes to review his Google Analytics and understand if the current site is performing and how the value proposition and conversion could be strengthened based on the ideal customer profile.
- Next, he needs to do formal keyword research based on customer-centric ideas and themes (not product-based keywords) and identify buyer personas for the content categories. Instead of guessing at blog posts, a business analyst can use data to drive a more targeted content plan. Bob does not have a researched keyword strategy right now.
- Then, Bob needs a consistent process for pushing out content and tracking it in order to understand what is performing and what is not. Content marketing is a journey based on consistent and constant testing. It is not campaigning (once and done mentality) but rather an evolution of what works and what doesn’t over time. Your audience is ever changing and growing so one size doe not fit all.
- Lastly, Bob needs professional advice. He has gone as far as he can with a Do-It-Yourself approach to marketing. He needs the right resources and budget to grow his program and start seeing results.
Are you a Bob? We have you covered. Download this helpful guide we wrote a couple of years back on determining the gap in your content in order to test where you are in using inbound marketing to generate better leads and sales for your business. Content marketing works!