Content Marketing - How Content Converts to Revenue
What every professional marketer should know about generating
revenue with content marketing.
How Content Converts to Revenue
This information was first published on the Content Marketing Institute Blog
on December 5 2013.
The 7 Pieces of the Content Conversion Machine.
How does content convert to revenue? This is a common question among B2B companies,
especially those firms with a sales-centric and product marketing culture.
Before embarking on a content marketing program, it is critical to answer this question.
How will our investment in people and resources to create content help us accomplish our
revenue goals? After all, if any marketing activity does not contribute to revenue, it is a
waste of time and money.
This presentation discusses the 7 pieces of the machine that converts your content to
1) Create content. Content should be educational, helpful or entertaining. Content at the
top is designed to engage and feed the top of the funnel. Additionally, good marketing
fundamentals must be in place.
2) Distribution. Content is pushed out via outbound channels and made available via PPC
and SEO via inbound tactics.
3) TheCall toAction. Of critical importance to conversion is ensuring a strong and simple
call to action is available to the visitor.
4) The conversion point. This is typically a landing page.
5) Qualification. What happens after they perform the call to action step.
6) The handoff to Sales. Some sort of sales function will ultimately get the order.
7) The purchase. This is where the person exchanges their currency for the thing being
sold. The ‘revenue’ piece.
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1. Create Content &The Fundamentals
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This won’t work without effective content, an effective creation
process or having the tools necessary for distribution and
measurement.The first fundamental is creating effective content. It’s
not all that easy as we see with the ‘9% very effective’ CMI survey
result. Those companies who excel at content marketing that
generates revenue have worked hard to gain executive sponsorship, a
‘content’ based culture in the sales and marketing organizations, and
resources supporting a content marketing strategy. One critical
fundamental that must be in place before this process is effective is
your marketing plan. Make sure you have written a proper marketing
plan for your business before proceeding. Every step in this process
requires that you have a thorough understanding of your business and
the target market. There is a lot of information available about how to
create effective content and the associated supporting environment
all over the place including the CMI website. For now, let's assume you
have achieved a solid foundation and you are creating some effective
content. Now you and are ready to move on to the next piece. You
will also need to have the following tools in place for this process to
2. MarketingAutomation Platform (MAP)
3. CRM integrated with the MAP
4. Alignment with sales around lead management, definitions and
who does what when
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Content will not significantly drive revenue by just sitting on your
website. I suspect many of those companies who deem their content
marketing efforts less than very effective are creating good content,
but only parking it on their website hoping for improved SEO. Don’t
get me wrong, good content parked on the website will improve SEO,
but it is not enough by itself to measurably affect revenue.
Content distribution must be integral to your marketing strategy and
tactics. The content you create must be used extensively with both
outbound and inbound tactics. Your outbound ads must promote the
content and your inbound tactics like pay per click (ppc) must promote
the content. Stop promoting your products! Instead, promote your
content! Promoting content is a far better way to engage with your
target audience than telling them about your commoditized product or
service. Sorry, but it’s true, your audience perceives your product or
service as a commodity. The sooner you embrace that idea, the sooner
you can start generating 20% and 30% growth rates. Offer your
content via all outbound channels where your target audience
congregates; emails, print ads, email ads, digital ads, direct mail, social
media, etc. Inbound SEM ads should the content. This idea is
sometimes hard for the organization to understand. This is where you
must have strong executive support and a culture in place. Otherwise,
your product managers and sales people will freak out and possibly
hinder your content marketing strategy. They may even force you back
to a product bases strategy and back to those dismal growth numbers
of 1% to 5%.
3.The Call to Action
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Although the CTA is integrated to Piece 3, it is important
enough to merit its own section. This is where the quality of
your content matters. If you have created something that is of
interest to your target audience, they will take an action to
learn more. You have to tell them what you want them to do!! In
the digital realm, it usually involves a click. Again, you have to
tell them to "click here to get the paper" or "Register here" for
example. Don't leave it up to the reader to figure out what
they're supposed to do. If it isn't really easy, you might lose
them. On the print side, I've seen great success with PURLs
(personalized URLs). If you don’t make it clear about what you
are offering and how to get it, you’ll lose a great deal of
4.The Conversion Point
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It is imperative that all outbound and inbound activities drive them to a custom landing page. DO NOT
send them to a regular web page! Even more importantly, DO NOT send them to your home page! Once
they take the action step, they go to a custom designed landing page. The page must be designed
specifically around the offer of the content. If you send them to one of your regular web pages, you
lose, especially if you send them to a product page. The PURLs work great because you can deliver custom
content based on their profile information. The more relevant you can make the landing page, the better
chance you will have at earning engagement.
You’ll have to make some decisions about how they get the content from the landing page. Will you gate it
or offer it with just a click? The harder it is to get the content, they higher your abandonment rate will be and
the easier it is, the more broad your reach. I love to give away content for free without any strings attached
because it gets wider exposure and still builds awareness and credibility within your target audience. The
three components of your landing page are:
• Offer the asset. This should be perceived as the main function of the landing page.
• Tell them about your value proposition or what you do. In spite of the fact that we want to offer content
that helps them out, we want the visitor to connect the goodwill generated by the asset to the brand
• Make it easy for them to find out more about the company who is offering this great information or
instantly reach out if they happen to have an immediate need.
Remember, you outbound ads and your ppc ads should both drive to the landing page. Do not fill the landing
page with product based information. The last thing you want is for your visitor to feel like it was a bait and
switch tactic tricking them into looking at product information instead of offering valuable content.
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At this point, a person from your target audience has clicked or responded to the CTA in
your ad, arrived at your custom landing page, has been delighted to easily obtain this
useful and helpful piece of content, put your brand top of their mind, and associated
your company with a particular offering. Additionally, they may have explored your
website, shared the content via their social media channels, forwarded the email or
even called your sales team. At this point, it is important to decide what happens next.
Are they a marketing qualified lead (MQL) that is sent over to the sales team for direct
action? Are they sent to a nurturing program? Are they left alone until they see your
next great piece of content? Each of these choices are valid actions and will depend on
your particular business practices.
Regardless of your business practice, you must consciously decide what happens next.
Your work as a modern marketer is not over at the point of click or the download.
Assuming you are fishing in the pond where your target audience resides, I suggest only
two options: pass them to sales as a MQL or send them to a nurturing program. This is
where your marketing automation platform is a critical component of the content to
conversion process. Throughout the nurturing process, your contacts will be receiving
more great useful information (content) and getting to know your company and the
associated offering through regular website visits. As they visit and interact with the
content, you should be measuring that activity ideally with some type of lead scoring
program. Each interaction is re-evaluated with the qualification step where a portion
will regularly convert to MQLs.
Success of the qualification step depends on close alignment with the sales team. You
should have an agreement in place specifying the point at which any of these contacts
should be considered ready for a call. Your decision may be to just let the contacts
decide for themselves when to proactively reach out to your sales team.
6.The handoff to Sales
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If you're content is educational and you've done all the best practices
with the offers, ppc, landing page, etc., you'll be flooding the sales
team with leads and filling the nurturing funnel with tons of future
buyers. I would like to re-emphasize the importance of
collaborating with sales on each campaign. They need to
understand what's happening and why it's happening when the
leads start flowing into their in boxes. Those contacts that do not
pass the evaluation are sent to nurturing. While in the nurturing
program (where you offer them even more great content you've
created) they are engaging more deeply with your company and its
value proposition. As they engage, they are re-evaluated on a
regular basis and many will eventually qualify as interested
prospects ready to engage with a sales person.
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The final step is, of course, the purchase and, hopefully, many
future purchases. After the contact is passed along to the
sales funnel, content can be used to move them along in their
decision process towards a positive outcome for your
firm. Sales people should be trained how to use your 'later
funnel stage' content to help close more deals.
Keep in mind these seven pieces of the puzzle for each and every piece of
content you create. Effective content marketing is heavily interwoven
between the marketing strategy and tactics as well as the sales process.
It’s all about engagement with your carefully defined target audience. You
want them to place your brand and associated offering top of mind and
with a great deal of credibility so that when the day comes around and
they are ready to purchase the thing you are offering, your firm gets the
call. Competitors who are not using this model may get a call, but they will
have minimal credibility and only be used for a price comparison.
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“Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and
over again and expecting different results”
- Albert Einstein
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Who am I and why did I write this Manifesto?
Hello, my name is Bruce McDuffee. I help industrial companies increase their organic growth rates by creating
and implementing a marketing strategy built around the Knowledge Marketing framework.
I'm passionate about Knowledge Marketing simply because I know it works. It's an amazing way to go to
market and I want to share my expertise and knowledge with your team.
How do I know it works? As the Marketing Director of a global electronics manufacturing company, I
increased the AMER growth rate from 4% to 20% with this Knowledge Marketing framework. I was able to
work out most of the kinks, problems and issues in this test bed. Now I'm ready to help you realize
extraordinary growth in your manufacturing business. Are you ready?
At this point, you are either actively thinking WIIFM [what’s in it for me?]
Well, here’s what’s in it for you:
Rapid revenue growth rate – potentially tripling your recent growth rate.
Take market share from your laggardly competitors.
Convert your marketing team from a utilitarian cost center to a revenue engine for rapid growth.
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For more about me and
what I can do for you:
• FAQs about Bruce
• Visit the web site
• Send me an email
• Fill out a form
Ready to add 10%, 20% or 30% to your revenue?
If you answered 'yes', then let's get started:
• Step 1: Send me an email, fill out the contact form or call me at (303) 505-8009
and we'll schedule a 30 to 60 minute discovery call. (no charge for the discovery
• Step 2: If you like what we discuss and if you think your organization is ready to
increase growth and embrace the marketing function as a revenue engine. I'll
prepare a custom proposal for your review.
• Step 3: If you accept the proposal, we get to work. We agree on schedules and
resources. We dig into your current marketing plan, strategy, messaging, etc.
• Step 4: We set a plan of action and milestones (POA&M) and commence
building your plan based on the 3 step framework.
• Step 5: Watch your top line grow and reap the rewards.
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Call me to discuss, brainstorm or chat about Modern
Mobile phone: 303-505-8009 feel free to call during normal business hours
Website: Knowledge Marketing for Industry http://knowledgemktg.com/home.html
Blog: GrowYour Business with Knowledge Marketing http://knowledgemktg.com/blogs/
My LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/brucemcduffee/
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