Looking for a new way to get more traffic to your website in the hopes they’ll enter your sales funnel? Read any blog post and they’ll tell you how important content marketing is.
That can be true.
High-quality content can help you to build relationships with your audience, improve your presence in organic search, and win-over your audience’s trust.
But you’ll have a tough job trying to make a content strategy alone pay off in 2019 without investing tons of time, effort and cash into every aspect.
Here’s why–and a strategy you should be thinking about instead.
The content marketing landscape in 2019
So, what’s making it so difficult to crack the content marketing code?
The short answer: The content marketing landscape is changing. It’s no longer possible (or extremely rare) for a single blog post to have the conversion rates you’ve been dreaming of, but why?
Let’s take a look at the facts.
Audiences are overwhelmed with so much content
Take a wild guess at how many blog posts are published every day.
Is your guess somewhere between “a few thousand” to a “couple of hundred thousand”? You’ll need to go even higher to get nearer to the truth.
Audiences have more content than ever to consume.
You’ll need to do something incredible to stand out and catch their attention.
Brands have enormous content budgets
According to research by Content Marketing Institute, 50% of B2B marketers plan to increase their content budgets in 2019–with spending on content creating increasing by 56%:
The real question is: How much are you willing to spend?
Your answer needs to be significant to see results from content marketing on a large scale–especially when the entire industry is worth $300 billion.
There’s a shift towards paid promotion
It’s not just content creation that you’ll potentially need to invest cash into.
Bloggers who report “strong” results also conduct influencer outreach and paid promotion to support their content.
Content add-ons like Facebook ads, sponsored posts in industry forums, and promotion tools like Quuu Promote are becoming the norm.
Financially, can you compete with big-name brands who’ve got thousands of dollars to dedicate to content promotion?
…Not to mention ever-changing SEO guidelines
Content that results in ROI also ranks well in Google. After all, the people visiting that specific piece of content are going out of their way to find it. They’re slightly further along the buying funnel than someone viewing a Facebook ad for the first time would be, for example.
But in 2017 alone, Moz recorded 13 Google algorithm changes.
Do you have time to stay up-to-date with the SEO industry, and be willing to invest so much into a content/SEO strategy that could all fall apart if Google’s algorithm changes significantly?
It takes more time than ever
The average blog post takes 3 hours and 28 minutes to write. That’s not to mention the research that goes beforehand, or the endless promotion that happens afterwards.
It’s no wonder content takes a long time to generate results, right?
Just take HubSpot, for example, whos content marketing strategy took 6 months to start seeing results from–despite their big budgets.
Do you have months (or years) to invest, getting minimal results in the meantime?
Ready to get started?
Start your free 14-day trial today to see how easy starting your own successful referral program can be:
A 5-step strategy alternative to content marketing
Unless you’ve got big budgets, out-of-the-box ideas or a couple of months to get the ball rolling, you might be waiting a while to see results from your content marketing strategy.
If you aren’t willing to wait, I don’t blame you–especially if you’re a new business that needs paying customers to survive the next few months.
Here’s a five-step strategy you should consider instead.
1. Get to know your current customers
Customers are what keeps businesses afloat, so it’s no wonder we should be putting our best efforts towards acquiring new ones. But don’t start your journey to more customers by assuming you know who they are.
Instead, take a look at your sales dashboard and grab the email addresses of people who’ve:
- Purchased one of your products or services, and
- Opted-in to hear from you
Send each person a quick, personalized email and ask if they’d be up for a chat. (You might need to give an incentive for them to do this, such as a discount code for future orders or a free Amazon gift card.)
Then, for each call slot you book, ask your customer key questions to get to know them. That might include:
- How did you find our company?
- What features do you like about our product/service?
- What was the one thing that made you purchase?
- Would you purchase from us again?
- What can we do to help you in the future, or improve our product/service?
Warning: The answers might be hard to swallow, but it’s better to fix them early on than constantly wonder why your conversion rates are struggling.
2. …Then go and find others who fit the mold
Once you’ve got the results from your customer feedback sessions, use it as ammunition to find other target customers who fit the mold.
For example: Did you see that 50% of your current customers found you through a mention in a specific Facebook Group? Join that same Group and start participating–it’s likely to have more of the same customers you’ve already successfully converted.
3. Optimize your messaging and implement a CRO plan
Unfortunately, not everyone who visits your website will turn into a paying customer.
On the average eCommerce website, just 2% of website traffic converts–but if you’re focusing on sending targeted traffic there (as opposed to any ol’ visitor to inflate your pageview metrics), there’s no reason why that couldn’t be increased.
Start by using basic conversion rate optimization (CRO) techniques to subconsciously push people towards hitting the “Purchase” button.
That could be improving overall page loading speeds across your entire website. Just a one-second delay in page loading times can cause a 7% reduction in conversions, so every little helps.
However, you could also take a look at:
- Using a tool like HotJar to determine which sections of a page most website visitors look at, and improving those sections.
- Split-testing the copy you’re using on call-to-action buttons.
- Reducing the number of fields on your website forms.
- Adding social proof, such as previous customer reviews, to your checkout page.
- Enabling guest checkout to reduce cart abandonments.
Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to CRO. What works for one audience might not work for another, but constantly running A/B tests will unlock the secret formula for your own.
4. Put your all into customer experience
By now, you should have a handful of customers who you’ve attracted elsewhere online, and convinced to purchase from you.
Once you get a new customer, spend time on them.
Send regular emails; respond to support tickets as quickly as possible; and be honest.
Your aim is to make sure everyone who purchases from your brand is wow-ed by you.
5. Invite happy customers to become Referrers
Congratulations! You’ve got a growing number of happy customers, a thriving business and a streamlined way to find (and successfully acquire) new customers.
There’s just one more thing you should do: Invite them to become
Referrers or affiliates to your business are your company’s raving fans. They love your products and/or services to the point they’re willing to recommend them to their own network, and you’re giving them an incentive to do so: Commission.
The commission rate you give affiliates could range anywhere between 5-30%. And if you run a subscription business like a SaaS application then it’s common to give recurring commissions on every month that new customers stick around.
Concerned about losing that much of your profit margin? Remember you’ll only spend that affiliate fee whenever you make a sale.
Unlike content marketing, where you’re spending cash with no short-term guarantee of customers, you’ll only spend money on marketing when you actually seal the deal.
Referral marketing may be the only guaranteed ROI you can find when it comes to bringing new customers to your business.
It’s no wonder 81% of brands have already adopted some form of affiliate marketing!
We’re not saying content marketing is totally useless, nor that you should write it off completely.
In fact we’re big fans of content marketing here at SalesCamp and plan on investing heavily in it as we continue to grow, but the fact is it takes time, can be tough to nail down the ROI of it, and can be very expensive if you outsource much of the workload.
It can be a fantastic, worthwhile strategy for gaining long-term results. But in 2019, where you’re competing with huge brands who’ve been churning out content since 2005, it’s really tough to compete.
Starting with your customers, and putting your all into their experience, is a better way to see ROI in the short-term–while also creating an army of loyal fans to take you into the future.