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MarketingProfs recently released findings from its business-to-consumer content marketing study. Content marketing continues to grow in terms of popularity. Similar to business-to-business content marketing trends, 90% of B2C marketers are using content marketing. Interestingly, most B2C marketers are also planning on increasing their content marketing activity. About 60% of B2C marketing survey respondents are planning to increase content marketing spend over the next 12 months.
I believe the findings’ biggest surprise is that 34% of B2C marketers consider themselves effective at content marketing. That translates to 2 out of 3 marketers stating that they are increasing spend against content marketing, but only 1 out of 3 marketers actually feel their content marketing activities are effective. That is a pretty astounding finding. It appears that many marketers are still finding ways to elevate their content marketing to a productive level.
I’d argue that many marketers are not treating content marketing as a response channel. There are a number of techniques that can be utilized to ensure content marketing is transformed into a vehicle that can generate leads and be leveraged to connect with prospects and customers in a more meaningful manner. It appears that one of the reasons marketers may be thinking that content marketing isn’t effective is because they aren’t employing mechanisms to capture data and leads and integrate these efforts into other parts of their marketing mix.
MarketingProfs also conducted a research study among B2B marketers several months back. Here is a list of 7 net takeaways from these two studies on content marketing and how to enhance your inbound marketing strategy based on these research findings.
1. Utilize landing pages to create an opt-in email list.
Ensure you are making the most out of the traffic to your website. Building a B2C opt-in email list is a tangible mechanism that can provide a sense of increased and measurable effectiveness. Leverage offers that provide reasons for prospects and website visitors to provide their information. Offers can be in the form of additional content, guides, checklists, how-to content, etc. Email marketing to cold lists almost always fails. Leveraging content marketing for building an email database is an effective and tangible method that can produce integration with outbound marketing communications streams. Data capture is a critical component of any inbound marketing strategy; it ensures the investment in content is working as hard as possible for your company.
2. Incorporate video downloads.
Both of the MarketingProfs B2C and B2B content marketing studies underscored the significance of leveraging videos as a fundamental component of an inbound marketing strategy. The B2C study ranked videos as one of the top 3 most effective forms of content marketing. These findings coincide with overall trends that reinforce YouTube’s growth.
Delivering content via videos requires discipline. The average length of a watched Internet video is 2.7 minutes.2 That means you have 162 seconds to communicate the most important and compelling content.
The best solution is to create multiple, highly focused videos. Start by compartmentalizing topics or features that can be covered in a few minutes. Do this exercise with your audience in mind. Look at the product from their perspective and ensure barriers to purchase are clearly addressed as well as any other frequently asked questions.
3. Leverage a number of different formats for delivering content.
People don’t all consume information in the same manner. A number of the content formats presented in the B2C MarketingProfs content marketing study had very similar ratings in terms of effectiveness. This demonstrates the need to try several things, as content marketing is still new. Marketers should try a number of different approaches and formats for content delivery to determine what is best for their audience.
Consider the use of checklists, infographics, short-form reports (5-10 pages), ebooks, flipbooks and other mechanisms that dish up content for consumption in differing manners. Testing can help you determine the optimal content delivery methods for your audience. Download Jacob & Clevenger’s handbook, 22 Great Types of Content Marketing, which showcases a number of examples of different formats for presenting content.
4. Leverage case studies as “downloads.”
The B2B study actually found case studies gaining popularity, versus the B2C study which indicated that case studies are losing effectiveness. So how can B2C marketers learn from B2B marketers?
B2C case studies should play off the human interest aspect, but be delivered in how-to content, demos and other ways of illustrating content in a less clinical format. Leverage human behavior that people like to learn from others’ successes and failures. Financial services, insurance, health care, investment, even retail are perfect industries to demonstrate how their products and services have helped real people. Use the term “case study” loosely in the B2C world, but consider how effective content marketing can be at providing people with examples, how-to information, product usage tips and even answering frequently asked questions. In our experience, case studies have proven to be one of the leading drivers of traffic for an inbound marketing strategy.
5. End each blog article with a call-to-action.
Incorporate a call-to-action that leads the reader to other relevant content. This is a critical way to migrate content marketing to a more response-oriented technique. Provide the reader with a mechanism to learn more about the topic with a drive to an ebook or other related blog articles. Consider how a user can learn more on any given topic. This could include a retail flipbook based on browsing history, an investment, health care, banking, insurance or energy efficiency how-to-guide. Every industry has an opportunity to help provide content that can transform a one-way content marketing strategy into a two-way dialogue.
6. Link relevant product pages to blog articles, and vice versa.
Website integration between blog articles and product, service, capability or other pages is essential to ensuring your content marketing efforts are working as hard as possible. It’s essential to have links on all core web pages that refer users to relevant blog articles and other related content. Consider how the entire user experience interrelates and how to best leverage well-trafficked pages to promote new content. This integration can deepen user engagement and serve as an opportunity to collect information for your email opt-in database.
7. Get an inbound marketing assessment.
If you’re one of the 2 in 3 marketers who are questioning whether your content marketing is effective, get a free assessment. J&C offers companies a free inbound marketing assessment. These sessions cover key stats demonstrating why so many marketers are adopting a content marketing strategy.
They are designed to help marketers audit their current content marketing strategy and identify areas for optimizing response, measurement and overall effectiveness. Plus, we’ll work with you to:
B2C content marketing is growing in popularity, but it appears many marketers are questioning if their strategy and tactical approach is really effective.
1. Source: MarketingProfs http://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2013/11873/2014-b2c-content-marketing-benchmarks-budgets-and-trends#ixzz2ikOLK6ty
2. The Associated Press
Topics: Inbound Marketing