Content marketing is in many cases replacing advertising. However, content marketing must follow the example of advertising and provide a clear call to action to customers and clients.
While advertising tries to reach customers by sheer repetition of a simple message, content marketing seeks to convince by the reliable presence of valuable information. Websites and social media become information portals where customers can find tips and advice they trust.
But content marketing cannot slip into the role of librarian or simply serve as a magazine rack. The point of content marketing is to draw customers toward your product and service. Content marketers must integrate calls to action in the information they provide — and make it easy for customers to try out or purchase their products and services.
This can range from easy-to-find phone numbers to offers of free products or consultations. You can invite website viewers to watch a video demo and promote it on your Facebook page. You can feature a trial version of a product or showcase a how-to guide. You can couple a white paper with a coupon.
As the name implies, content marketing means selling your product through content. To be effective, you need both the content and the sales pitch. This demands intelligent website design. Content must be prominently displayed. So must your call to action.
Studies indicate many business fumble the ball by not providing quality, original content and, when they do, failing to combine it with effective calls to action. They have static websites. Valuable content, if available, is buried. Calls to action are either invisible or overdone.
Advertising and content marketing both take aim at target audiences. The key difference is that content marketing centers on giving customers something of value to attract their interest. When you go to the trouble to provide useful information that attracts your target customer, why waste the opportunity? Show them how they can take advantage of your product or your expertise.
Give your customers what they want — content with a purpose.
Need more reasons to undertake content marketing? Look at these stats compiled by Stephanie Frasco for the Convert with Content blog:
• 70 percent of consumers prefer to get to know a company via content marketing rather than advertising.
• 61 percent of customers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content and are more likely to buy that company's products.
• 78 percent of people believe organizations providing custom content are interested in building good relationships.
• 73 percent of people prefer to get information about an organization in a collection of articles rather than in a tradition advertisement.
• Blogs on company sites result in 55 percent more visitors.
• Clicks from shared content are five times more likely to result in a purchase.