In today’s world, people are inundated with advertising and marketing messages, so much so that they make it a point to avoid them whenever possible. Email, TV, and radio constantly target consumers and all too often, the messages are irrelevant and misdirected.
This is why content marketing has become so popular for brands - it’s marketing without marketing, and it seeks to provide people with relevant and valuable information they want - or especially, information they are actively looking for.
Certainly, content marketing is nothing new; John Deere can be said to have originated the practice in the late 1800s when it began publishing a free newsletter for customers. But in recent years content has become a much bigger part of a marketer’s budgets and plans. Financial firms as varied as Santander, Liberty Mutual or Goldman Sachs have used content marketing to drive leads, increase sales and create greater brand awareness.
Consumers today are much more likely to purchase a product from a company they trust, and that they feel provides them with useful information. When it comes to B2B selling, the same rules still apply. The same type of relevant content your customers want to read in their day-to-day life they also want in their professional life. They are researching and seeking answers to business problems they have: whether that's making operations more efficient, automating more tasks, seeking greater insight out of their data, or any number of things. Whether your customers are individual consumers or businesses, they are seeking relevant information for answers to their problems, and are far more likely to do business with a company that provides them exactly that. It’s about relationship building, and not focusing on your brand but making the customer the hero.
The statistics bear this out: according to a DemandGen survey, roughly 75 percent of B2B buyers said that the content of potential vendors had a “significant impact” on which one they eventually chose to work with. Additionally, 89 percent of respondents stated that winning vendors “provided content that made it easier to show return on investment (ROI) and/or build a business case for the purchase.”
Content is also effective for increasing search engine optimization (SEO). One study found that websites with blog content had 434 percent more search engine-indexed pages than other business sites without content.
While statistics show that content is an effective marketing tool, it’s not enough to just write a blog or develop an article - it’s critical to create material that is relevant, useful and informative to your audience - not only to educate prospective clients about your business, but to position yourself and your company as a thought leader and a ‘go to’ expert source that stays on top of industry trends. Whether you are a startup fintech, established asset manager, insurer, hedge fund or broker, your clients want engaging content.
Some businesses have started down the content path, perhaps with a blog, but many still don’t get nearly the maximum potential out of what they are creating. They can fall into common traps such as not producing enough material, producing content at irregular intervals, creating content that is not relevant, or publishing something without substance.
Leading Benefits of Content Marketing
Providing your clients and potential customers with informative and relevant content, you’ll be top of mind when they consider purchasing decisions.
Powerful content marketing can help you:
Establish your company as an industry expert: Be seen as a “thought leader” in your industry that others will come to for advice and information on the latest trends
Build your pipeline: Attract prospects willing to provide their contact information in exchange for access to a whitepaper, webinar or other piece of content
Grow your business: Drive quality leads to your sales team, who will already be familiar with your company’s value proposition through content
Increase brand awareness: Your company will gain wider recognition as a leader in your industry.
Many financial and technology firms are already doing this to great effect. Take digital investment adviser Betterment, which has a robust resources section on its website. This page offers links to many valuable pieces of content with advice on investing and other financial education, without necessarily advertising Betterment’s products. The result is that retail investors are likely to see the company as a trusted information provider, and more likely to do business with them.
A high quality content plan is integral to reach today’s customers, and establishes your company as a thought leader in your industry. Doing so will allow your message and your brand to reach an exponentially wider audience.