The Benefits of Content Marketing
Earlier this month I shared “5 Tips for Finding Fresh Blog Topics.” I often urge small business owners to create new content on their websites. I do this because new website pages are proven to drive high quality visitors at a very low cost.
Simply put, the process of creating and optimizing new pages of website content — which is often referred to as content marketing — is the most cost effective way to promote your small business online.
Why Content Marketing Works
Before I show you the data, let me explain the fundamental reason why content marketing works better for businesses: It works for prospective customers.
The best promotional content for your business is content that provides concise and complete answers to your prospective customers’ most common questions. Every day your target customers ask questions in social networks and search engines, which lead them to your content where they find the answers they need.
Compare this to traditional online advertising methods like banner advertisements, pop-ups, and video pre-rolls, which interrupt users when they’re searching for answers. Put yourself in the shoes of your prospective customers. When you’re online trying to find an answer to a problem, do you want quick, concise help, or do you want a sales pitch?
5 Data Points for Content Marketing
1. Paying for website traffic is expensive. According to VentureBeat, the average cost for many industries to purchasing a single website visitor is between $1.00 and $3.50.
Paid online advertising is not only less efficient, it’s expensive too. If you’re a locksmith with a citywide service area, paying $3.50 per website visitor is crazy. For the highly performing small business, 100 website visitors purchased for $350 turns into 20 sales leads, which turns into five booked appointments. That’s a $70 advertising cost per new customer. For a locksmith who has an average service call revenue of $100, he’s already given away all of his profit before he even arrives at the customer’s door.
With content marketing that same locksmith could have gotten those same five sales leads, or more, for significantly less cost per lead.
2. Generate more leads. According to HubSpot, small businesses that use content marketing generate 55 percent more website leads at a cost that is 62 percent less than leads acquired through paid advertisements.
This is more leads at less than half the cost.
Here you see the fundamental advantage of content marketing — that I described above — at work in the numbers. Let’s continue our example from point 1 to consider the impact.
Using paid cost-per-click advertisements to get 20 sales leads from your website cost you $350. Based on point 2 you could have instead gotten 33 sales leads for a cost of $133 had you been doing content marketing.
Amazingly, this data assumes that you’re paying someone to write content for your website. If you found time to write new website articles on your own, or using time from existing team members, your 33 new sales leads would actually cost you nothing.
3. Much less expensive. A press release by Eden Platform, a business I used to own, shows adding one new piece of content to a small business website each week for one year produces search engine traffic equal to that from a $90,000 paid advertising campaign.
Unlike paid advertisements that are only displayed in the search engines while your credit card is being actively billed, new content on your website lives on and can continue to attract thousands of prospective customers every year.
This study shows that each new page of content on a small business website receives an average of 55 new visitors each month — that’s 660 visitors each year. The effort to create a new piece of website content is made once, and the benefit continues for free forever.
Create enough content on your website and you can put your company’s entire paid advertising budget in your pocket — assuming you own the company — as plenty of free leads roll in every day.
4. The more content, the better. According to HubSpot, businesses with websites with 401 to 1000 pages get 600 percent more leads than those with 51 to 100 pages.
Each piece of helpful content on your website acts like a fishing line getting pulled behind a fishing boat. The more lines you have in the water, the more fish you can catch.
The search engines care about the scale and freshness of your content. Larger and more recently updated websites achieve higher authority and the search engines deliver more visitors to these websites.
If you have five pages on your website right now, the best way to get to 401 is to start creating one or two new pages of content each week. Large sites don’t get built overnight, but once your website reaches a nice size you’ll have a valuable marketing asset that will catapult you ahead of your competitors online.
So, what do your competitors plan to do with content marketing this year?
5. Content marketing is growing. This eMarketer article shows that content marketing is growing. Three out of four small businesses plan to increase their content marketing efforts in 2013.
The reality is, if you’re not creating new content on your website each week, you’re getting left behind. You should expect your traffic to shrink and to get fewer website leads in six months than you got last month.
But there is good news too. Based on point 5, chances are, one of your four most annoying competitors isn’t going to be doing content marketing this year. Who’s going to get their sales leads as they slip behind? Launch your content marketing strategy soon and their sales leads could be your new sales leads in 2013.
Content marketing is better because your prospects prefer it; it costs you less money; it produces more sales leads and customers; it helps you beat your larger competitors; and the marketing results you begin generating today will last forever.
The easiest way to start creating new content for your website is to launch a blog. Your first ten blog posts should be answers to the questions you most commonly hear from your prospective customers.