I read an article titled Why I turned to Outbound Marketing Again. It was one of the best articles I have ever read on outbound marketing, and I must commend the effort the author put into it.
I understand exactly how he must have felt when his content marketing campaigns seemed not to be yielding the much-expected results, as I have experienced it too. Honestly, I don’t think there is anything more frustrating than doing something and not getting the expected results.
This made me to ask some very critical questions. Does content marketing really work? Are there benefits of inbound marketing for my startup? Or should I dump it for outbound marketing? The answers I got convinced me that they are very effective.
Some were even humorous. For instance, someone said,
“You have a better chance of surviving an airplane accident than having someone convert on a banner ad”
Personally, content marketing has been my preference for some time now, and I have seen it convert for me. Has the results been very overwhelming? No, but it has quite been satisfying.
So if it has not been very effective for you, you are either doing something wrong or maybe you are not doing enough of what is right.
I have tried to highlight five major reasons content marketing has not been very effective for a lot of marketers. And on the good side, I will equally add what we can all do to make it work.
1. An effective content marketing campaign requires homework and you don’t do yours
It is not enough to write and share blog posts, you must be sure that what you are about to do is bound to generate the results you desire.
What kind of customers are you targeting? What are they interested in? Where can they be found? And most importantly, what problems can your product solve for them?
James Agate advocates for this in one of his articles on how to determine viability before investing in content. According to him, “You will have intimate knowledge of the problems your customers are facing and if you lift your head up from the day to day grind you’ll likely be able to identify numerous informational content opportunities…”
Similarly, the place of effective keyword analysis and other SEO “best practices” cannot be overemphasized. For instance, you need to build links around the terms that your prospective customers are searching for.
2. You don’t Produce Epic Content
Whether you are blogging, guest-posting, using social media, videos, webinars, public speaking, whitepapers, or eBooks, if your content is not epic, your campaign won’t be effective.
To make your campaign effective, create dangerously good content that provides the exact solution your target audience needs.
You should then use stories to draw them in. One major thing that made Jesus’ messages so powerful and effective was the use of parables (stories). Guess what, that strategy still works.
In his article about using stories to draw people into your world, Mr Ijidola stated the obvious bitter truth that “…no one cares about your product. They only care about what really works for them…This is where storytelling shows up. When you tell stories (i.e. write case studies), you’re literally showing prospects how your product can work for them just like it does for you or your clients.”
3. You don’t prepare adequately for conversion
A farmer that doesn’t prepare for harvest is bound to have very poor returns. So it is not enough to launch powerful inbound marketing campaigns. You must prepare for the result.
First of all, how good is your Call to Action (CTAs)? Without an effective CTA, a prospect will probably thank you for the valuable content you provided and go to the next thing that attracts him/her. You must design your CTAs to be as enticing and irresistible as possible. This is your chance of closing the sale, and you shouldn’t joke with it.
Once you have refined your CTAs, the next thing is to find a way to get your visitors’ emails. Let your CTAs lead your visitors to filling a form that will give you their contact.
This way, even if they don’t buy what you are selling immediately, you will have another opportunity to reach them through your newsletters.
4. You don’t close the sale
With my little experience as an Insurance salesman, the most effective way to shoot yourself in the leg is by not asking for the sale. No matter how good your marketing is, you must take a step further and close the sale. It is not enough to get your visitor’s details, you must maximize them.
This means that you should not just send general emails informing them of a new product. Rather you should send targeted emails tailored to meet their needs based on the information they provided on their forms.
Make sure this email answers the following questions going on in the mind of your prospect:
- Can my problem be solved/ can I get better?
- How can your product solve it/ how can your product get me better?
- What else will I gain even after the product solves my problem/ how better can your product get me?
By sending a couple of emails based on content that a prospect finds useful and relevant, you are building trust and getting them readier to buy.
5. You are not ready for the long Haul
Most sales are made based on emotions and sentiments. And one major sentiment to help you make your sales is trust. However, trust is not built in a day.
Content marketing works the same way. The prospect becomes a customer when he/she gets convinced that you can be trusted. But it takes a little time for that to happen.
I originally published this on Customerthink. This is a revised and updated version.