What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing means using anything from spec sheets to white papers to case studies, Webinars or podcasts to keep prospects interested. Sure, people have been doing “content marketing” since the first salesman left the first brochure on the first customer’s desk. What’s new is that the content is distributed over the Internet, and we can track which prospects downloaded or clicked through to which content.
That readership history helps identify where each prospect is in the purchase cycle, what follow-on information or offers we should send them, and who are the most attractive prospects. By focusing your expensive sales efforts on the right prospects at the right time, we boost your revenue while reducing your costs.
The content can be anything from your existing product briefs and price sheets to custom-written white papers and “e-books” that demonstrate your “thought leadership.” You’ll also need a way to distribute your content, which can be anything from free blogging software to more expensive marketing automation systems that automatically score leads and send them to your CRM system.
The most critical steps, though, are getting marketing and sales to agree on how to score leads and setting up new workflows so marketing has a better idea of which leads to send to sales, and which leads it should instead keep and “nurture” with more content till they’re ready for a sales call.
The more complex your “sell” and the longer the sales cycle, the more content marketing can help you. Read on to learn how content marketing is helping IT vendors, and the four easy steps to getting started with content marketing.