27 Dec 5 Ways to Drive Sales With Content
In a previous post we gave you a brief overview of 5 Ways To Drive Content to increase business sales. Today, we combine a little refresher of that post with some deeper insight into how it’s done and what success looks like. We will give you metrics from campaigns by other brands, examples of resources out there to improve your use of these tools, as well as, delve into some of the trends in the digital and content marketing space.
Nothing gets people pumped up about a product, brand or service more than an engaging story told by a master storyteller.
As we know from our earlier discussion stories need a conduit through which to travel. The below 5-categories are examples of such vehicles. Once a method of content creation and distribution has been identified, it’s important to be able to measure it and understand the best practices.
Blogging is at the very foundation of all content marketing. Like the foundation of a house, blogs are the sticks on which all other forms of digital content advertising is based on. If you get an email newsletter for example, the contents of that newsletter if taken outside of that specific enclosure would be? Yup, a blog!
Case Study in Blogging Success:
While it is widely accepted today that blogging consistently with purpose is a great tool for a business to use in its sales and marketing efforts, its acceptance on such a scale is fairly new. As recently as five years ago, there was great debate over the merits of blogging. While some saw its benefits early on, many viewed it as risky.
How could you justify giving away valuable information for free if you’re a consulting firm? How can you possibly post a 5-step guide to selling your home if you’re a real estate company? The thought was you would be enabling people to do your job without you.
This fear actually proved to be unfounded, as blogging has become an integral part to the marketing plans of countless companies.
An example of blogging success during the heyday of the yay/nay debate mentioned above is Steve Spangler. Direct Marketing News (DMN) ran a great story in 2007 about Spangler, a science teacher from Englewood Colorado who created the Mentos-Diet Coke geyser experiment that went viral in 2006.
After years of promoting his science experiment products on television, Mr. Spangler launched a science toy catalog to further market his products. His first venture into the digital space occurred with the launch of his e-commerce site in 2003, eight years after the catalog debuted.
After a time of skepticism about blogging, the budding entrepreneur would come to appreciate its value in the summer of 2004 after a post about his instant snow product created an incredible spike in sales. As of the publishing of the 2007 article Spangler had amassed 2,600 backlinks to his blog, including many journalists.
“Journalists would never link to the site if it was too heavily branded,” Spangler said in an interview for the piece. “You have to have dedication.”
2. Email Marketing
Email marketing when done well is one of the best ways to develop long-lasting relationships with customers. All newsletters require an ‘opt-in’ and clearly mark an ‘opt-out’ button in each issue; so ideally, the only people receiving them are those who wish to. However, that is not always the case. Many email campaigns despite recipients opting-in often never get off the ground. This is where working with a professional marketing organization can be so key.
Case Study in Email-Marketing Success:
The American Political Science Association (APSA) hired a professional email marketing firm in 2012 in order to spruce up its marketing effectiveness prior to its annual teaching and learning conference with the hope of ramping up attendance. Here are the numbers achieved after hiring the outside firm:
- 33 percent increase in conference attendance
- 17 percent increase in email open rates
- 63 percent increase in click-thru rate
- 51 percent gain in first-time attendance
- 48 percent rise in community college participation
Joe Tyler, CEO of Informz, the consulting firm utilized by APSA for the campaign said,
“This case study is a great example for other associations to understand the importance of customized email messaging and how it can affects an organization’s bottom line.”
Indeed robust data and membership demographic information was key to results of this email campaign.
3. White Papers
Traditionally used for more technical applications like web coding and technology, these distinctive pieces of content have now begun to gain a foothold in less ‘techy’ applications. Still these are often less about ideas and stories and more about objective application and implementation of a specific product or skill.
Sources for More Information
A great source for learning the in’s and out’s of creating excellent white papers is one of America’s foremost experts on copywriting, New Jersey writer, Bob Bly. In his long career, Bly is closing in on 100 books written and countless other helpful e-blasts, newsletters and other materials, as well as, the content for his clients. One of Bob’s many books is “The White Paper Marketing Handbook,” released in 2006. Expect easy to follow steps and historical context to support the points he makes.
Unlike their hardcover counterparts, e-books are generally, shorter; designed normally as a point of entry with a new potential customer. Companies will also often use e-books to funnel customers to their email marketing lists.
Case Study in E-book Sales Growth:
Spurred on by mobile technology, e-book sales in recent years have become drivers of revenue growth for the publishing industry. According to a 2013 survey produced by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the Book Industry Study Group (BISG), Bookstalls (the name of the survey) found a treasure trove of data showing the prodigious growth in ebook sales.
A few to marinate on:
- 21 percent growth in online sales.
- E-books make up one-fifth of the trade publications market which at the time of the study had seen steady growth for two years running. The study found that trade ebook sales grew by 44 percent to $ 3 billion in net revenue.
- Growth was driven by adult fiction which accounted for almost half of that revenue with $1.3 billion in sales.
E-books fit nicely in our digital age, with people often accessing them on the go through devices like, smartphones and tablets.
In India, mobile technology has helped build the fortunes of major publishers and individual authors. Ash Banker a famous author in India sold over two million books and as of this 2014 story in the Times of India newspaper 180,000, or about nine percent of those sales were e-books.
Meanwhile Flipkart, India’s largest bookseller have seen eight times the growth in e-book sales since launching their e-commerce site in 2012. Senior director of retail at Flipkart, Nipun Mehra, points to the development and launch of mobile applications as the key driver in that growth.
“Since the launch of our apps we have seen a five fold increase in orders and new customers,” Mehra said. “ More than 60 percent of readers use smartphones to access ebooks.”
The apps referenced by Mehra assist customers in accessing sections of their ebook instantly, as well as, bookmark pages and high text.
5. Social Media
Perhaps the biggest buzz phrase in all of marketing, social media is a puzzle that many businesses have yet to solve. And with good reason. Up until very recently due to how new it is as a field, there were no best practices, or blueprints for how to use this new tool for marketing. Now after over a decade of tinkering, we are finally beginning to see its best attribute, establishing trust and connection with clients and potential clients; not sales.
While all current generations are well represented on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, millennials consumers are normally the top target of marketers who are looking to ramp up their social presence. And with good reason. According to a 2013 report from the US Census Bureau, millennials will make up one-third of homeowners by 2030. Lawn product engine manufacturer and seller Briggs & Stratton (B&S) is a great study in how to use social media properly.
Case Study in Proper Use of Social Media:
B&S has successfully used three key tactics which when properly executed almost always result in significant growth of a brand’s social media presence. First, they follow a regular posting schedule. Second they use content that their social followers share with them. Regularly sharing user contributed photos which often consist of older B&S engines that long-time customers have kept in great shape for many years. Third and perhaps most importantly, B&S regularly responds and engages with its followers. Once a post is put out and fans interact with it, many brands will basically fall asleep at the wheel and not engage their audience; that is a grave mistake.
Here are a few statistical facts courtesy of B&S research:
- Facebook posts with a photo generate 120 percent more engagement than those with one.
- Posts shorter than 250 characters have 60 percent more engagement than longer ones.
- Posts that are made with a question have double the engagement of statements
- Social media is to engage your followers so make sure you respond to them.
Still have questions about how to use these and other digital content marketing tools to drive sales for your business? Contact 3Degreez today to find out more.