In 2018, digital content marketing was adopted by more than slightly more than 87% of American businesses.
If your business is engaged in content marketing, you’re probably familiar with the usual metrics. Website traffic, conversion rates, leads, and social media engagement are all important measurements of the effectiveness of your content.
But a more significant metric is revenue. If your content marketing isn’t contributing to your bottom line, by definition, it’s going to be difficult for you to prove it’s giving you a significant return on investment (ROI) .
Most businesses think of content marketing as a top-of-the-funnel enterprise, but content can also be used at the sales level to close deals more efficiently and even boost revenue.
38% of B2B buyers visit at least four sites to do research before making a first-time purchase. If you want to generate new revenue and upsell existing customers, you need to earn their trust with a full spectrum of content across their buying cycle.
Keep reading to learn how content impacts your bottom line.
Driving Revenue with Content Marketing
When an individual or business becomes your customer, they’ve likely gone down a long road to get there. They may have found one of your blog posts online when they were researching how to solve a problem. Then, they may have downloaded one of your high-value content offers in search of more answers.
Later, when searching for a solution to purchase, they may have shortlisted you, contacted you to ask questions, and then gone through the sales process with one of your representatives before finally making a decision. At some point, you may have sent them a nurturing email with links to additional resources, connected with them on LinkedIn, messaged them on social media, or even linked them to an instructional video.
It can be difficult to trace how all the content you’ve created contributes directly to your revenue. But the answer is in your analytics.
Each piece of content represents a touchpoint in the buyer’s journey. Sure, content requires an initial investment, but the longer it stays published and relevant, the more it will pay dividends.
For example, that blog post you paid a few hundred dollars for could be a starting point for tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of revenue – if it’s good enough.
If you can measure how each piece of content contributes to your revenue, then cross-reference that with the amount of money you spent on each piece of content (including overhead), you can determine which types of content are most effective from a revenue perspective.
Focus on those. If there’s a specific piece of content that has brought you substantial revenue, update it regularly to keep it relevant. Share it on social media again and promote it on your customers’ channels.
Just keep in mind that you need content that addresses your audience’s pain points at every level of the buyer’s journey.
90% of the most successful content marketers prioritize educating their audience over promoting their company’s sales message. There is a time for a sales pitch, but content can often do a better job of nurturing your prospects than a pitch ever will – for that, you need sales content.
The Difference Between Sales and Marketing Content
In the simplest terms, marketing content addresses questions, challenges, and pain points. It rarely mentions your product or service. Marketing content is meant to be helpful informative, so people see your website and your brand as a trusted resource.
By contrast, most sales content relates directly to your product or service, but without losing sight of those pain points.
A few different types of sales content include:
- Persona cheat sheets
- Competitive research and analysis
- Sales scripts
- Product and pricing sheets
- Case studies
- Sales-centric blog posts
- White papers and industry research
- Presentations and slide decks
- Sales email templates
Sales content gives you an opportunity to tell your prospects about features and services they may not be aware of. However, not all your sales content needs to be customer-facing. Your sales team can use cheat sheets, scripts, and other assets to get a leg up in sales conversations and make critical upsells.
If your team isn’t used to using content in their sales conversations, it may take some time for them to adjust. But once they do, they’ll wonder how they lived without it. After all, 44% of B2B salespeople think marketers can help them create better messaging, and 37% believe marketers can help them win more deals with better marketing materials.
Creating Sales Content
So, you want to create sales content.
If you’re worried because you didn’t hire your sales team for their creative skills, don’t sweat it. If your marketing team is gifted at creating marketing content, they can switch gears to create sales content as well.
All they need to do is adjust their targeting parameters.
Instead of targeting visitors, they’re targeting prospects – individuals who’ve shown a genuine interest in your products and services who are close to making a buying decision.
They can throw the same creative energy they use to make infographics into making sales sheets, product guides, and other hand-outs. They can use the same great writing skills they use to create blog posts to write sales scripts and warm email templates.
Whether you outsource your marketing or keep in in-house, a good practice is to embed sales content into your content marketing schedule. Even if you must forgo other less critical projects, the results of your efforts may be worth it, especially if your salespeople aren’t currently using content.
Lower Costs and Larger Benefits
Content is a long-term strategy. Most businesses don’t have enough resources to create all the content they want in the amount of time they’d like. But by arming your salespeople with relevant content for their prospects and helpful scripts for their sales conversations, you’ll have a better chance of increasing your revenue.
Content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing and generates three times as many leads. It’s an investment, but when executed correctly, it can make a serious impact on your bottom line.