How to Link Content Marketing and Sales

How to Link Content Marketing and Sales image Gleanster x1 250x141How to Link Content Marketing and SalesWhen it comes to content marketing, should your business be creating and sharing more? Can you map content to sales results? Does your customer “bait” stand out from your competitors’?

In a recent webinar, Ian Michiels, principal and managing director at Gleanster Research, dissected and discussed the value of inbound marketing and its synergy with sales. Michiels identified productive content strategies you can employ, and introduced ways to measure and justify the investments. You can watch the full webinar here: The Revenue Connection: Linking Content Marketing to Sales Results.

Reduce the noise

It’s important to create content for your company without becoming a part of the noise. The volume of content is overwhelming. Every minute:

  • 684,487 pieces of content are shared on Facebook
  • 100,000 tweets are sent via Twitter
  • WordPress users publish 347 new blogs
  • 571 new websites are created
  • 204,166,667 email messages are sent

Make sure your content is compelling enough to break through the noise. One effective strategy is to become a part of the solution for a targeted subset of individuals.

Inbound marketing vs outbound marketing

The search terms “content marketing” and “inbound marketing” have been on the rise since 2011. Content marketing is a subdivision within inbound marketing, but the terms are often used interchangeably.

How to Link Content Marketing and Sales image Gleanster x2How to Link Content Marketing and Sales

Since we’re discussing inbound and outbound marketing, let’s define what both of these mean.

  • Outbound marketing is the traditional form of advertising communications, designed to promote and sell products and services to customers.
  • Inbound marketing is more like bait – it uses marketing strategy and tactics that help businesses get found by potential customers through creation of value-added content. The main goals of inbound marketing are to attract relevant prospects, convert them into customers, and measure whether or not your strategy works.

Inbound marketing statistics

According to a recent Gleanster survey, 34 percent of top performers say it took their company over 12 months to see a return on investment using inbound marketing; only 4 percent saw a return on investment in just one month. The survey also revealed the four top reasons organizations implement inbound marketing:

  1. Increase sales to target segments
  2. Increase revenue
  3. Increase sales to customers
  4. Competitive differentiation

Even top performers face challenges when implementing inbound marketing strategies, such as content production, identifying ROI, multi-channel strategies, budget, resources, and executive support. Despite such challenges, results should still typically be seen within the first year.

Let’s talk measurement

Michiels provides a handful of inbound marketing ideas. All of the strategies listed below are for use on digital channels; this means the results are measurable, even if the revenue may not always be.

How to Link Content Marketing and Sales image Gleanster x3How to Link Content Marketing and Sales

There are multiple ways to measure the performance of your inbound marketing programs, including assessing your website analytics, social media engagement, blog activity, webinar attendance, and revenue. The key to measuring inbound marketing is through use of a marketing automation platform, which allows you to attribute engagement across channels so you can link to sales performance. With marketing automation, all of your campaigns are going through one system, so you can see engagement from all of your sources, pinpoint the lead, and eventually link to CRM. All of this will allow you to see what you’re spending on inbound marketing – and the money that’s coming back into the organization.

How to Link Content Marketing and Sales image Gleanster x4How to Link Content Marketing and Sales

There are multiple ways to measure the performance of your inbound marketing programs, including assessing your website analytics, social media engagement, blog activity, webinar attendance, and revenue. The key to measuring inbound marketing is through use of a marketing automation platform, which allows you to attribute engagement across channels so you can link to sales performance. With marketing automation, all of your campaigns are going through one system, so you can see engagement from all of your sources, pinpoint the lead, and eventually link to CRM. All of this will allow you to see what you’re spending on inbound marketing – and the money that’s coming back into the organization.

How have you integrated your content marketing strategy with your sales efforts? Has it resulted in sales performance? Leave us a message below!

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