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Content Marketing - How Content Converts to Revenue


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What every professional marketer should know about generating revenue with content marketing. Learn about the 7 pieces of the conversion puzzle.

Published in: Marketing, Technology, Business

Content Marketing - How Content Converts to Revenue

  1. 1. 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.
  2. 2. 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 revenue. 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. 3/31/2014Bruce E. McDuffee - 2
  3. 3. 1. Create Content &The Fundamentals 3/31/2014Bruce E. McDuffee - 3 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 work: 1. Website 2. MarketingAutomation Platform (MAP) 3. CRM integrated with the MAP 4. Alignment with sales around lead management, definitions and who does what when
  4. 4. 2. Distribution 3/31/2014Bruce E. McDuffee - 4 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%.
  5. 5. 3.The Call to Action 3/31/2014Bruce E. McDuffee - 5 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 effectiveness.
  6. 6. 4.The Conversion Point 3/31/2014Bruce E. McDuffee - 6 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 offering. • 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.
  7. 7. 5. Qualification 3/31/2014Bruce E. McDuffee - 7 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.
  8. 8. 6.The handoff to Sales 3/31/2014Bruce E. McDuffee - 8 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.
  9. 9. 7.The Purchase 3/31/2014Bruce E. McDuffee - 9 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.
  10. 10. Summary 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. 3/31/2014Bruce E. McDuffee - 10
  11. 11. “Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” - Albert Einstein 3/31/2014Bruce E. McDuffee - 11
  12. 12. 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. 3/31/2014Bruce E. McDuffee - 12 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
  13. 13. 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 call) • 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. 3/31/2014Bruce E. McDuffee - 13
  14. 14. Call me to discuss, brainstorm or chat about Modern Marketing 2.0. Mobile phone: 303-505-8009 feel free to call during normal business hours Email: Website: Knowledge Marketing for Industry Blog: GrowYour Business with Knowledge Marketing My LinkedIn Profile: 3/31/2014Bruce E. McDuffee - 14