Why this article is named as INBOUND through content marketing? 2 things are happening in the digital world now.
- A set of people are suffocated by paid ads.
- A set of people who are stepping into the digital world.
Your average customer is 112.50 times more likely to complete US navy seal training than click on a banner ad”
Source: Virgin startup
The above stat is from the USA but we can safely assume that the attitude remains more or less the same or it is going to be the same across the globe for the first set of audience. Whatever the clicks you might get through paid ads and the return on investments may be due to the second set of audience, that is also only till they get digital literacy.
The paid ads which bring results are by established brands in the FMCG/CPG vertical, often they use remarketing effectively. The paid ads are generally more successful in this vertical and are quite understandable.
This leads to the question – How do I reach my target audience when people don’t like to see my (read it as hate) banner ads?
There are few answers to this question
- Reach your target audience through targeted, well-made video ads, where your prospects get a glimpse of what your service/product is all about.
- When there is a need, people go and search on Google. Be available there.
- Build a community on social media by providing value to your followers through interesting content (awareness/education), who can be your brand ambassadors.
Let’s break down answer No. 1
If we take the stats here, video ads have an edge over banner ads. Videos bring better results and increase your brand value. What also matters is the user experience on your website – how easily and intuitively a user gets navigated through the website by design and speed for the intended task, which is often a sale. All these play a crucial role.
Answer No. 2
To be available when there is a need, your blog posts, videos, and other forms of content should be SEO optimized, and available for the user when they search.
Answer No. 3
This can be done by sharing valuable content and distributing it on your personal and your employees’ social media profiles, and building a following around your brand on social media.
No.1 is straight forward: pay and let your audience know about your product/service. This requires a certain brand value in the first place to bring good results. Paid ads can help you amplify your business growth only when used well.
No.2 demands a lot of quality content which are based on keyword research that matches up with your nature of business. So that your content shows up in front of your audience on Google when they search for it.
No.3 has a connection with No.2 – both deal with content. A lot of original, quality content. Both may demand a slightly different type of content depending on the objective, audience engagement, and response to the search query. Also, primary SEO optimized content can be repurposed and shared on social media pages.
When I say established brands, these brands have built their reputation by giving importance to their first set of customers. The first set of customers are crucial to make the brand valuable.
When you get your customers through paid ads, the stakes are even higher. They decide to take their time off and give their attention to your web page. You must provide a good user experience throughout. Also, after-sales customer care needs to be top-notch.
When you do this, your campaign brings more quality leads from paid ads because you did the right thing to the first set of customers. Words go out, reviews will be shared, people get to know eventually. Trust gets built.
Relying on paid ads is not a bad thing either, remarketing works. Remember amazon?
“Paid Ads work on certain categories”
How does content marketing work?
When you create good quality content in volumes, you effectively stay at the top of your audience’s mind. You create a loyal following, you also appear in searches. You build a loosely spread community by having a “social following” for your brand. Eventually, you drive traffic to your website.
When you get inbound quality leads through Google search and from social media purely through your content, its content marketing and it’s what this article is all about.
“Organic growth, inbound lead generation using content”
Naturally, people ask for your service/product through quality content which bridges your prospects’ queries and your business.
There are 2 parts to this,
1 – SEO – Search Engine Optimization
2 – Content
1 – SEO
SEO is a wide part and a big industry in itself. Every single query happens on Google and the results it brings have a connection with SEO. Many free & paid platforms provide solutions in these areas primarily on keyword search and on website audit. The 63000 queries per second happen through texts, aka Keywords and that is how your prospects have a chance to find you and you have an opportunity to meet your customer.
The users search and your web page show up – this bridging part is done by SEO optimized content. This is where companies like,
and many more provide solutions in this area.
Above websites provide key information to make your web page show up on Google’s search results.
Google has 100s of metrics to decide which web page to be shown first and which one will come second and so on. Google does measure the quality of your content based on so many performances to decide where to position your web page on the user’s search results.
This is only the tip of the iceberg called SEO – Search Engine Optimization.
2 – Content marketing
The bottom line of your content is to connect with your audience and to show up on search results. This leaves a clue; the most important objective of your content can be either to entertain or educate your target audience. The easiest way is to educate, often entertainment is not easy from a B2B standpoint, but some brands give this a shot. Let’s assume that this standpoint is getting dissolved.
To educate your audience, these are all the major forms of content you can create.
- Blog posts
- White paper
In terms of content consumption, the world is moving towards audio-visual form of content from text-based. Your prospects would most likely consider looking at your content if it’s audio-visual than text-based content like blog posts.
Here is a video where I explain the way we all consume content based on Content Preferences Report.
The best way is to connect all the forms of content together as much as possible. In fact, the ideal way becomes, you guide your target audience from your social posts to sales.
Social post → Website → Sale/Nurture
Essentially the idea is to let them know your presence by a helpful piece of content so that he/she talks about your brand when the need comes in their social circle.
How to create content?
The goal of your content is ideally, educating your audience in a place where your audience and your product/service can meet.
First, create one pillar form of content like a blog post or a video or a white paper, from that think of deriving other forms of contents mentioned above, and a lot of short posts from the pillar content in many forms. So that you can distribute it on your platforms strategically with the intent of bringing your audience and prospects to your website.
The other way is to master one form of content like videos, playbooks or white paper, and be known for that. For instance, you can build a fan following for your videos on your YouTube channel and it can be a great source of inbound queries to your website where you can start nurturing them.
From there on you can publish snippets of the core form of content and drive traffic to the primary platform. In this case, publish the pillar video on YouTube and post snippet videos on other platforms like Instagram, Twitter and attract users to your YouTube channel.
This is typically called ‘Top of the Funnel’ content and taking the leads further to the next level in the funnel.
Not every growing company is equipped to create a lot of content. But they should focus on one form of educational content so that they can hire an agency to create other forms of content from the pillar content.
Paid Ads is a billion-dollar market. The “Ads don’t work” statements are too generic and turn out to be true to some extent. The fact is ads do work for some business categories. Finding out how these ads work will help you plan our campaigns accordingly.
Once we keep aside the branding/visibility part in paid ads, things become clearer and easy to see.
> If your target audience can come and make a purchase on your web page smoothly.
> If your target audience can come and share their contact in return of anything worthwhile to him/her i.e. a not so easily available research report or a free audit for him/her or a sort of free first-time offer of consultation or anything of value exchange.
> If your target audience can sign up for your product happily for a trial.
> If your target audience can come and initiate a chat communication at the least.
If you can meet any one of the above criteria, it is fine to run paid ads.
Bottom line is – there should be an exchange that benefits both parties.
Regardless of whether you are in B2B or B2C or D2C or B2B2C, if you find a way to fulfil the above statement, you can go ahead with paid ads. To make the campaign an outstanding one give more than what you receive from your audience.
The way we all consume content has changed drastically, recently. Probably because of content fatigue and blog posts that are almost similar on every company’s website.
The data is such that, which makes us concerned
- 91% of all pages in their index get ZERO traffic from Google.
- 5% of them get ten visits per month or less.
There are 2 ways to mitigate this
> Make it Audio-visual
> Make it Interactive
Create blog posts as usual but present it differently. Condense text to visuals, convert into audio form. If your existing website supports an interesting way of displaying your content in an interactive way, go ahead and do it.
We can definitely do the former easily by following few things,
> Make your blog, whitepaper into an animated video.
> Extract the audio from it and publish it as a podcast show.
> Make your blog post into a slideshow.
Frequency of Content
The frequency of content leads to quality of content.
There is a general rule that exists almost in anything which gets into the connection of quality or quantity.
“More the quantity less the quality
More the quality less the quantity”
We all live in a time where quality and quantity both make equal sense. If you still prefer to go with priorities, quality first and the quantity next.
When you make good helpful content for your audience, eventually you build your follower base on social media platforms and a certain percentage of them will land up on your website and some will further end up as your customer.
Social media platforms demand content in different forms. The purpose of your social media content is to immediately or later make your prospect think of your brand. The best way is to educate them and that is the content which is in demand. This channel is called the awareness channel.
The moment your prospect thinks about your brand, they will ideally visit your site when there is a need. The content needs to be different here. This channel is called the Intend channel.
The sales process can happen from thereon.