Tomorrow is officially the first day of spring, even though it doesn’t feel like it for us at Grass Roots Marketing! We’ve experienced one of the worst winters we’ve had in a long time and it seems like warm weather is still miles away. This past winter has actually been so bad that I’m considering trading my newly purchased car for one equipped with 4WD so I’ll be able to battle upcoming snow and ice storms like a champ. Needless to say, we’re all over it… and we’re more than ready for April showers and May flowers.spring

The return of spring also means that it’s just about the beginning of the second quarter. How do you think your 2014 marketing efforts are going so far? Have you incorporated content marketing into your overall marketing strategy? If you haven’t yet, then now is the time!

According to Demand Metric, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads. As we all know, more leads = more sales. The importance of content marketing is clear, but it’s still a fairly new concept, so many business owners are still unsure of how they can use it to grow their sales. If you’re one of those businesses, check out these helpful tips to get on board:

1. Create downloadable content

Content marketing allows you to demonstrate your expertise to generate leads. You must identify what’s important to your audience, create content that will address their needs and then turn it into whitepapers, eBooks and checklists that they can download for free in exchange for their contact information (use a short form that will require their email address). This way, you are able to identify warmed-up leads that your sales team can nurture while your prospects can easily receive the content they want.

2. Update your blog on a consistent basis

Did you know that 33% of traffic from Google’s organic search results go to the 1st item listed? Of course, your website should have a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy, but consistent website content creation is also important for improving search engine rankings. In addition to increasing your chances that your audience will find your website before a competitor’s, blogging helps position your company as an industry expert.

3. Show off your case studies and testimonials

Your prospects are not going to buy anything from you if they don’t trust you. Showcasing positive reviews and results helps prove that your product/service works. Add a case studies page to your website, update it as much as possible and then connect your product and services pages with results. Then, share your testimonials through social media, email, your blog… and everywhere else you can!

4. Use email marketing to identify warmed-up leads

Email marketing is a great way to identify who’s interested in your message. The ability to view who’s opened your email, how many times they’ve viewed it and what they’ve clicked on is extremely helpful for future content creation and determining what stage of the sales cycle each prospect is in.

5. Use social media to maximize your audience

Once you have all of this remarkable content for your target audience, use the power of social media to create buzz about it. First locate your audience and then as long as you believe that your content is relevant and will be useful to them… share away! Be sure to check different relevant LinkedIn and Google+ groups and also research popular hash tags that could be associated with your content (as long as it’s relevant!). Never try to trick your audience!

Content marketing is the latest craze and it doesn’t seem like it’s going away any time soon. As long as we have the internet, we will continue to crave more information and as long as we crave information, the need for content will exist. If you’re ready to dive into content marketing or kick up your efforts a notch, Grass Roots Marketing can help. Check out some of our own content to get a feel for what we can do to help you!