Are you wondering if content marketing will work for your business? Do people in your industry read blogs? Do they engage in social media?
In 2013, HubSpot surveyed just over 3,300 marketers from around the world to gain valuable insights into the inbound marketing (another name for content marketing) landscape.
Over the past ﬁve years, we’ve witnessed a tectonic shift in how people work and live, and marketers have started to adapt. Engaging consumers is no longer about pushing out interruptive messages. It’s about connecting with people in the places and on the devices they prefer. It’s about integrating content and context for a richer, relevant, and personalized experience, from the time someone ﬁrst hears about your brand to the point they’re buying your product and telling their friends about it. It’s about creating marketing people love: inbound marketing. Mike Volpe, CMO, HubSpot @mvolpe
Before we get into the findings, let’s first quickly review the content marketing methodology.
Content Marketing Methodology
- Content marketing is not a tactic, channel, or technology. It’s a way to approach your marketing to capitalize on the way consumers make buying decisions today.
- Content marketers understand that people value personalized and relevant content and connections — not interruptive messages — at every stage of the marketing funnel.
- Content allows you to attract visitors, convert leads, close customers, and delight them into promoting your business to others.
Now that we have set the stage for what content marketing is, let’s have a look at some of the findings of the report.
Top 10 Content Marketing Insights
Insight #1: Content Marketing is Global
Not only do 60% of marketers use content marketing, I have personal success using it. I am the first to admit that just because everyone is doing something, is by no means a guarantee that it will work. With that said, I can speak from first hand experience, as content marketing has worked very well for me.
I have used it to build a very popular blog and an audience of just over 10,000 people, plus, I have interviewed well over 100 other entrepreneurs on my podcast that have used content marketing to achieve their success.
Insight #2: Stronger ROI Than Traditional
Twice as many marketers find that content marketing delivers a below-average cost per lead. If you knew that there was a way to get a stronger return on investment, why wouldn’t you take it? Even though channels like email, blogging, social media and more do require more of your time to successfully implement, the results are still more than worth that additional effort.
Insight #3: Traditional Marketing Is Fading
Inbound marketing grew around 50% for the third straight year. Part of this growth is because inbound marketing helps you create an organic relationship with your target audience. That relationship can then effectively grow over time, creating a customer who is fiercely loyal and leading to long-term sales.
Inbound marketing is no longer a convenient add-on or experimental area for companies. It is a required method of doing business in today’s more consumer-focused world… Inbound is often more cost eﬃcient than old-school, outbound marketing. Inbound is often better at building long-term customers rather than short-term sales … Understanding how and why companies are using inbound vs. outbound marketing is critical to building these more eﬀective approaches for your own business.
Jason Falls, Founder, Social Media Explorer @jasonfalls
Insight #4: Some Marketers Still Struggle With Defining and Analyzing Inbound
People who are having a hard time defining and analyzing the results that inbound marketing has to offer are trying to cram a new approach into the “old school” way of doing things. Content marketing allows you to attract visitors in new and interesting ways (e.g. social sharing of your content), close customers, convert leads and more.
Insight #5: Inbound Cuts Through the Cluttered Internet to Reach Consumers at Every Stage of Their Buying Decisions
How do you reach a difficult audience? If individuals are looking to blogs for more information about a product they’re thinking about buying, you can be there. If customers are turning to social media for more data about a service they’re thinking about signing up for, you can be there to guide them.
You can make sure that you have a solid presence on a variety of channels, therefore, allowing customers to find the content you want them to see more easily.
Insight #6: Automation of Certain Tactics Allows Marketers to Focus on Newer Tasks Like Blogging
Studies have shown that blogging in particular is one of the most popular inbound strategies to show positive cost per lead versus effort. Respondents to a survey conducted by HubSpot said that, while they spent upwards of 10% of their time focused on blogging, a significant percentage still said that the effort was worth it by generating a bellow-average cost per lead.
Insight #7: Inbound Means Marketing
Successful marketers grasp that inbound is not a channel or technology but a strategy. What’s the difference?
- Technology: sending mobile advertisements directly to a user’s cell phone while they’re trying to buy movie tickets.
- Channel: spending huge amounts of money to purchase a giant billboard in New York City.
- Strategy: establishing a presence on the Internet in a way that allows you to be genuinely helpful and influential to customers throughout all parts of the buying process.
Insight #8: Content Marketing Creates Marketing People Love Because it Adds Value at Every Stage.
Customers in the modern landscape are savvier than ever. They’re responding less and less to traditional advertisements. Millennials don’t want to be told what products to buy – they want to discover things for themselves. By adding value at every stage of the buying process, you can capitalize on the way these people are making buying decisions through relevant content that they find helpful and not intrusive.
Insight #9: Marketers Win With Content Marketing
No longer cost centers to companies or nuisances to consumers, marketers are more lovable (and important) than ever. In decades past, marketers were seen as “those people who call your home while you’re trying to eat dinner.” In short, they were annoying and obtrusive.
If you use content marketing to provide helpful content that users genuinely enjoy reading, not only will you have a more powerful voice in the buying decisions that they make but they’ll also gladly spread your word for you. If people like the content you’re putting out into the world, they’re more likely to blog about it or share it on sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Insight #10: You Need Both Content And Context
Content is just part of the equation. Context systems like CRMs (customer relationship management systems) are still needed to personalize the buyer journey and drive real ROI.
Content will help you get customer eyes on the product or service that you’re trying to sell. If you don’t then capitalize on that organic response to your material and focus on customer relationship management, the customer will leave and never return. You need to cater to the buyer and make them feel like they’re an important part of your business to drive real ROI – because they are an important part.
Content marketing for business is great in part because it can benefit your organization hugely, regardless of what it is that you do. If you want to find out more information about online marketing, download the free report called “8 Ways to Leverage New Online Marketing to Attract Customers.”
What is your experience with content marketing? Have you been getting the results that you want? Add your comments to the box below to sound off.
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