There are a lot of ways to reach potential customers, but often, it’s better to let the customer reach you. More and more marketers are turning to inbound marketing tactics, like content marketing to create websites and experiences that attract consumers and lead to conversions. This trend can be seen in business to business as well as business to consumer marketing. A recent study from the Content Marketing Institute finds that B2B and B2C marketers are using content marketing more often and consider it to be one of their most effective tactics.
A survey of B2C marketers found content marketing (via social media) to be the most commonly used tactic. A Content Marketing Institute report noted that nine out of ten (93%) North American business-to-consumer marketers use social media content marketing. The nearest runners up were eNewsletters (80%), articles on their websites (78%), photos (75%) and videos (73%).
The B2C portion of the report has some interesting information about the networks marketers use. As one would expect, Facebook is at the top and used by 94 percent of B2C marketers. The news is pretty good for the other major social platforms. Twitters is used by four out of five B2C marketers (84%). Three out of four use YouTube (76%). Though it’s not a “consumer” platform, 71 percent use LinkedIn in their content marketing campaigns. And for all the flack everyone gives Google+, two out of three (68%) B2C marketers use Google+ to distribute content.
Even with so many people using social media networks to distribute content, the majority of B2C marketers find the major platforms to be effective. According to the report, about three in five (58%) B2C marketers who use social media content consider Facebook effective. Similarly, about half said the same for Twitter (52%) and YouTube (49%).
The views of B2B marketers gives another perspective on the uses and effectiveness of content marketing. According to the Content Marketing Benchmark report, 71 percent of North American B2B technology marketers say converting more website visitors is a top priority. They considered bringing people to their site and compelling them to action was more important than better understanding the audience. Website conversion is the main goal and as the data will show, content marketing is one of the most popular ways to do accomplish this.
The effectiveness of content marketing is illustrated in the ways people measure success for such campaigns. According to the report, two thirds (66%) of North American B2B technology marketers use website traffic as a metric content marketing success. Three out of five (62%) measure content marketing for the sales lead quality the generate. About the same amount (61%) looked for increased conversion rates, and more than half (54%) expect successful content marketing to lead in an increased number of sales leads. The fact that content marketing can be expected to have a direct result on these major goals of business means these marketers see tremendous value in their content marketing programs.
That’s not to say that content marketing is easy. Content marketing requires a steady stream of original, engaging content. This gets harder with time. The researchers at the Content Marketing Institute noted that 63 percent of North American B2B technology marketers reported creating engaging content as their biggest challenge. Nearly three out of four (73%) said they are working on creating more engaging content.
The Content Marketing Institute report shows that both B2C and B2B marketers are using their content to attract consumers to their site and get them to convert. The biggest challenges are creating the content and getting it out there, but the report shows that social media is a good way to find and reach the target audience. Content marketing can be challenging and it does take resources (someone has to make all that content), but the data shows it’s worth the effort when done right.
For more information that can help marketers create better content, read this article on an IBM study which explains why consumers feel retailers don’t understand them.