Content Marketing Works.

An effective Content Marketing Strategy, implemented well, delivers more quality leads, higher conversion rates, and better (lower) blended cost-per-lead than traditional means.

I see the metrics with every customer I work with, every Marketing Exec that I talk to at InfluenceHR, and with every vendor that gives me a briefing.

Before Marketing Automation.  Before the social web.  Before Infographics or eBooks were “the thing”.  Smart Human Capital vendors were marketing with content.  Anyone that knows the B2B HR Buyer, knows that they engage in value-based conversation and with value-packed content.

But, just because someone downloaded your infographic doesn’t mean they want to buy your product.

Effective content marketing – the kind that drives the conversions I mentioned – takes commitment.  Commitment to quality content.  Commitment to providing your customer and prospects with respect and engaging in a conversation via the content that is steeped in value.  We’re not talking about commitment for a quarter or two.  We’re talking about commitment that is driven by your deep understanding of who your buyer is, and your passion for doing right by them.  We’re talking about the long haul.

Even with all of our content marketing experience in the HCM Tech market, I still bump into vendors that do a great job developing and distributing quality content, to then just fall down when following up with folks that engage with it.  They view the download of content as a “lead”, when really it’s a touch-point, or conversion slightly up-stream from that.  Think of the relationship you’re developing with the prospect.  Like any good relationship, if you make it all about yourself you probably won’t get very far.  However, if you make it about them, you have a much better chance that they will appreciate you and want to spend more time with you.

So, don’t make your email or phone follow up to someone’s download a message that effectively says, “So, would you like a demo?”.  Be more thoughtful than that.  By downloading your well thought out content they have expressed interest in a topic, not in a product.  Your next move should be engaging the conversation that YOU STARTED with more content, or relevant dialogue.  If your product is relevant, you’ll get there.  You’ll find opportunities to talk about the business issues at hand and how you help.

I’ve seen well oiled content marketing machines deliver double digit conversion rates during the week after a campaign.  I’ve seen the conversion rates then increase by factors over the following 90 to 120 days, based on the kind of approach I’m talking about.

HR Buyers don’t respond to overt sales tactics like buyers in other market segments.  This is validated by ongoing research.

This approach requires commitment to fielding a sales team that is equipped to have these conversations. The people on your front lines need to be enabled with an understanding of the content, the business issues, your product or service’s real value to the buyer, a good understanding of the buyer and buyer personas, and a little personality never hurt.

The details of how you should follow up, how often, and via what media all depends on your budget, your resources, and the nuances of your niche.

Content Marketing works.  But, having good content doesn’t mean you won’t still have to work to earn your customer’s business.  You’ll just have an opportunity to be more effective and better differentiate yourself while doing it.