The role of marketing (especially within SaaS) has stretched widely: from simply creating interest, to guiding customers much deeper into the funnel. – Tomasz Tugunz
Accordingly, the range of marketing activities has broadened significantly.
Here’s an effective illustration from Tomasz Tugunz, based on Bill Macaitis (former CMO of Zendesk) explanations of how Saas marketing teams should operate. – The 9 Marketing Disciplines Of Great SaaS Companies
Smaller companies will hardly manage to put together a team with such a wide range of competencies.
Accordingly, it is incumbent for companies to determine which of the disciplines is most important, given the goals and the stage of the business.
If you are looking for ways to scale up your business organically and don’t have much capital to invest (or you want to use it wisely) content marketing should definitely be one of your top choices, since:
- It has several benefits,
- It generates results that last,
- You can do it on a budget and
It’s never been easier for a buyer to research a product […] before ever speaking to a salesperson. […] Today, buyers are 60-70% through their decision-making process before engaging a salesperson. – The New Marketing & Sales Funnel, Steve Patrizi
If you are still undecided about investing in content marketing, this article will help you better understand the whys and hows, with examples and lessons learned from top marketers and entrepreneurs.
Content Marketing: Definition and Trends
According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI):
“content marketing is: the marketing technique of
- creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content
- to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience
- with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
Put simply, the idea is to provide your potential customers with enough information about your market and product to empower them into making conscious purchase decisions.
That has nothing to do with promotional content.
It is about granting quality content and information to help your users have a better online experience and make informed choices.
Also, with a good content strategy, it’s easier to position yourself as an expert of you field while staying on the top of your clients’ minds.
Some Stats: from the CMI’s 2016 B2B content marketing report,
- 88% of B2B marketers in North America use content marketing
- 51% of B2B marketers indicate that they will increase their content marketing spending in the next 12 months.
- 76% of B2B marketers will create more content in 2016 versus 2015.
[for more check the CMI’s 2106 B2B content marketing report]
The trend is clear, content marketing is at an all time high between B2B marketers, and it’ll keep gaining more space in 2016.
If you haven’t bought in yet, here 3 content marketing benefits that will make our case.
Content Marketing Benefit #1: It Generates Sales
The content you promote is an excellent tool to educate your prospects about their needs.
The right content will:
- Help them identify their problems and goals.
- Show them how they can reach what they want or what they need.
A great example of how content marketing can drive sales is Neil Patel’s KISSmetrics.
Neil is among the best content marketers around, and it’s worth taking a look at what he did.
You don’t have to trust us, just Kissmetrics blog performance from January 2015:
- 1 / 2 articles a day + infographic a month
- 727,984 visitors and 921,577 page views.
- 5,057 leads from the blog
- 83 demo requests from the blog
- 1,948 webinar leads (webinars promoted through the blog)
- 3,024 leads from free trial sign ups from banners on the blog
That means, and I quote Neil:
“The blog drove 62% of the leads for that month. Sometimes that percentage is a bit lower, and a few times I’ve seen it in the 80s.”
To reach such an impressive result, at Kissmetrics they invest around USD 5 to 6K / month to pay for infographics, content writers and part-time helper. Plus Sean Work (editor) salary (not disclosed).
Also, they invest 2K a month for Pardot, to send out an email blast when they release a new blog post and keep their readers engaged – they estimate that a reader can become a lead after reading at least 3 blog posts.
[Free tools such as Mailchimp can help you leverage email to keep your readers engaged at no cost]
Let’s look at their unit economics: for an average monthly content marketing investment ranging from USD 5 to 6K they convert leads that can generate up to 6 figures of new income each month.
Wise investment to say the least!
Of course it takes a while to create high quality content that resonates with your audience and distribution is a big part of the deal.
But it proves that, if done right, content marketing can be a strategy that brings in great profit.
[To know more about how Neil did it, check out How Does Content Marketing Actually Get You More Sales? – Neil Patel]
Content Marketing Benefit #2: It’s Cheaper Than Traditional Marketing
When on a budget (in case you don’t have $ 5K to spend monthly) content marketing is still the most affordable form of marketing you can invest in.
Content marketing costs, in fact, about 62% less than traditional marketing and, per dollar spent, generates approximately 3 times as many leads as traditional marketing.
To be more specific:
“The average cost to generate a lead through inbound marketing ($143) is about half the average for outbound marketing ($373).”(50 awesome content marketing stats from Salesforce)
How is that possible?
1. It can be done in-house: no one knows your business as you and your team do.
You and your team are the best people to write about your business.
You live it and breath it every day: successes and challenges.
You talk to customers every day. You know their names, struggles, needs, goals.
You know how they think, how they talk and what make them tickle.
The secret for writing content your readers will love, is knowing them inside out, and you should leverage this knowledge to turn your team into a content team.
Beside time and effort, producing content in-house will virtually cost nothing, and it’s will pay off big time in the medium-long term.
Wondering how you can turn yourself into a professional writer? Check out this post “How to do Content Marketing if You’re Dead Broke and Bad at Writing” from Neil Patel.
2. It boosts your SEO rankings.
There are two ways you can rank high on SERPs: paid ads and pushing out content your readers love, since that’s what search engines love too.
Well executed, paid acquisition strategies are great to scale fast, but the downside is that, as soon as you stop investing, they stop generating leads.
Content is the exact opposite: it takes time to take off, but once it does, it never stops.
The content you produce will always be online and available for old and new readers to find, and it will keep piling up with your new content improving the aggregate value of your content.
Also, the more a piece of content gets consumed the more its relevance increases: by producing evergreen content you are virtually granting yourself an infinite amount of leads.
Here two posts to help you figure out how to create evergreen content:
- 4 Practical Tips to Win With Evergreen Content – CMI
- What is Evergreen Content? Your Guide to Long-Lasting Content That Boosts SEO – Wordstream
3. It spreads by word of mouth
Instead of spending your whole budget on traditional advertisements, try focusing on providing your customers with a truly great online experience.
Use content to make it easier for them to find a solution to their problems.
Provide content that is so inspiring it creates a connection with them.
Turn your customer into promoters of your brand and benefit from the best word of mouth publicity you could ask for.
Content Marketing Benefit #3: It Makes You (More) Money
Producing great content for your readers positions you as an authority in your field, and in turn you make more money.
And I don’t mean selling more product. Nor do I mean lowering your sales and marketing costs. […] What I’m talking about is raising your prices. Inflation, my friend. You can’t avoid it, so you might as well just cause it. – Barry Feldman
How does that happen?
Barry asked the question to some of the best content marketing experts, here some of the best answers:
- Prospects coming from content are usually more educated and understand the value you bring to the table. They come to get the best service and pricing rarely becomes an obstacle – Joe Pulizzi founder of the CMI
- Producing high quality content proves your own expertise, increases your credibility and fosters trusts. Ultimately, it allows you to charge what to charge without apologising for it. – Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs
- Done properly, content marketing attracts more of the right kind of prospects, the ones who value you the most. You can leverage this in various ways: raise your prices, grow faster, select your customers more carefully and so on – Doug Kessler, co-founder of Velocity Partners.
[Check all the answers here The Biggest, Yet Never Mentioned, Benefit of Content Marketing – Barry Feldmann]
To sum up: produce high quality content, tailored to your audience, and good things will happen.
If you still need some extra reasons to believe that content marketing is a great investment, this very well-designed infographic will give 8 additional hard to ignore benefits. Check it out!
To recap, content marketing benefits are endless:
- It’s cheap
- It’s effective and
- and it’s benefits go way beyond lead generation and brand awareness
Do you believe in content marketing now?
If the answer is yes, it’s time to get started!
Rule #1 – the sooner you start producing content, the better.
Rule #2: never produce content for the sake of it, you need a strategy.
Check out this post “5 Essential Elements for a Great Content Strategy” to learn how develop a bulletproof strategy for your content marketing and start building your content machine.
Or try out the Saas Content Marketing Guide for a different and complementary approach on the topic.