How Content Marketing Drives Sales: A Comprehensive Guide
Updated: Aug 11
It is true that everything you do as a business can be copied by a competitor. Make a cool product? Some factory in China will reverse engineer it and reproduce it for a fraction of the cost. In his book “Integrated Marketing Communications”, Don Schultz suggests that the only thing that can’t be copied is the way we communicate.
Back in “The Day,” there were only a handful of ways for a company to communicate with customers. Television, radio, billboards, and print to name a few. Now, we have hundreds of ways to communicate with those same customers.
With so many options, how do we stand out and actually connect with our customers? This is where a healthy content marketing strategy comes into play.
Understanding Content Marketing
The goal of any content marketing strategy is to become the brand that your target audience trusts above all others. To do that we have to focus on creating highly valued content. The goal of that content is to attract and engage our target audience. What’s the result of that? More profitable customer interactions.
Content marketing will help your company increase its revenues. It isn’t focused on pitching your products or services. Instead, you want to focus on creating useful content that helps your target audience solve their problems or improve their lives.
The Role of Content Marketing in Driving Sales
So, how does providing useful content lead to sales? Well, consider this: Gordon Ramsay sells 2,000 beef wellingtons a day in Las Vegas alone. I’ve had the dish. It’s amazing. That isn’t the only reason he sells 2,000 of these things a day. He’s spent more than a decade and thousands of hours in front of TV camera talking about it. Not selling it but telling stories about it and making it a character in his different shows.
Side note: I’m always shocked at how many people go on Hell’s Kitchen without knowing how to cook this signature dish.
The same principle applies to your content marketing strategy. When you provide high-value content via podcasts, YouTube videos, blogs, or social media posts, you are building both trust and authority with your audience.
Over time, they start viewing your brand as a go-to source for information or solutions in your industry. Then, when their need arises, leads to them purchasing what you have to offer.
Why Is Content Marketing Important for Sales?
I would like for you to take a minute and imagine a person who fits your target audience criteria. Then, above their head, imagine a little number. That number is either going up or down based on the most recent interaction with your business. That number represents the relationship your business has with that person.
Every time you make a new piece of content that adds value to their life that balance goes up. Each time you run an ad and ask them to buy something it goes down.
Each piece of content is a different-sized deposit into the brand bank account that person keeps with your business. The size of that deposit depends on how much that piece of content resonates with that consumer. After enough deposits are made you start to earn loyalty interest. In that person's mind, the mystique of who your business is to them becomes a part of their personality.
Don’t believe me? I recommend you check out the book "Buyology" by Martin Lindstrom.
Many brands hurt their content marketing efforts by trying to make a withdrawal from this consumer bank account before the balance is high enough. In fact, most advertisers are overdrawn with their target audience because of how poor their overall marketing strategy is.
How Does Content Lead to Sales?
Content marketing is crucial for sales because it establishes your brand as an authority in your industry. By consistently delivering valuable content, you build trust with your audience (aka build your relationship bank account with them), and over time, they become more likely to choose your product or service over your competitors. This trust leads to more conversions and increased sales.
Does Content Directly Increase Sales?
Short answer: No.
Sure. Some people will purchase your products or services because of a piece of content you produced. That is the exception, not the rule when it comes to content marketing. I want you to always remember that content marketing isn’t a direct sales strategy. For that, you want to reach out to us for help running direct digital advertising campaigns.
Content marketing does play a major part in the sales process by indirectly building brand awareness and loyalty. Instead of pushing for a sale right away, content marketing nurtures leads by providing them with valuable information. That valuable information builds trust and guides them through the buyer's journey. Over time, the relationship you’ve built leads to higher conversion rates and increased sales.
We do like to point out that content marketing in combination with paid digital advertising is a great way to increase sales. Reach out if your business needs help with its paid advertising strategy.
How Does Content Marketing Attract Customers?
I can hear you now . . . “This all sounds great in theory but how does content marketing actually attract customers to my business?” That is a fair question. Here are the nuts and bolts depending on the content marketing strategy you choose.
Google Search and YouTube
If you choose search then your efforts will be focused primarily on Google search and YouTube (which is owned by Alphabet, Google’s parent company). Google’s search engine crawls websites for specific keywords, site relevance, and site authority looking for an answer to your search query. It also crawls through relevant YouTube videos to find an answer to your question. If you don’t create blogs or YouTube videos that answer your target audience’s questions then someone else will. This blog is a part of High Beam Marketing’s actual content marketing plan.
Social Media Marketing
Social media algorithms used to be based on who you followed, who your friends followed, and who shared something. That used the be the secret for going viral. You would make a piece of content that resonated with your audience so much that they shared it with their audience and so on until we all argued about whether the dress was black and blue or white and gold.
*The answer is white and gold. Don’t even try to @ me with black-and-blue nonsense.
TikTok changed everything in the spring of 2020. TikTok’s algorithm (and 70% of the views on YouTube) are created from an interest-based algorithm.
Think of someone who loves dogs. Your TikTok feed is filled with dogs because you’ve liked or watched a bunch of dog videos in the past. Now, one day, a cat video comes by on accident and you like that one too. Now TikTok thinks you are both a dog and cat person. Now your feed will be filled with both. Then imagine a video about a current world crisis comes across your timeline and you watch the whole thing. Now your feed is filled with dogs, cats, and world crises. Your feed is literally raining cats and dogs. TikTok and YouTube’s algorithms are so successful at keeping people engaged that every other social media platform has adopted its own version of an interest-based algorithm.
This means that you now have an incredible opportunity for organic reach on social media. In order to get that reach you'll have to create content your customers are interested in. Does this mean your brand should use puppies or current events in your content marketing efforts? Probably not but maybe . . .
You want to find the intersection between what is relevant to your audience and what your business is actually qualified to speak about.
Strategies to Use Content Marketing for Boosting Sales
Remember, content marketing isn’t an overnight success. It requires patience and continuous improvement. But when done right, it can significantly boost your sales and brand reputation. Ready to propel your sales to new heights? Here are some strategies you can use to boost sales with your content marketing plan.
Understanding Your Audience
A content marketing strategy must start with a thorough understanding of your target audience. Who are they? What are their needs? What problems are they trying to solve?
A sporadic blog post or video won't cut it. Consistency in producing and sharing content is key to staying in your audience's minds and building that trust.
Content Type Focus
Too many people struggle to get traction with any content marketing because they spread themselves too thin to begin with. We recommend choosing one platform that your target audience uses and that you have the greatest strength in.
Diversify Your Content
Once you’ve built sustaining momentum on one platform, engage your audience with a mix of content types. For example, podcasts can reach people during their commute, while an informative YouTube video or blog post can provide in-depth knowledge.
Idea creation can be difficult. Utilize an AI platform like ChatGPT to help ideate blog posts, podcast topics, or social media content.
Embrace Short-Form Videos
TikTok forced short-form videos into the social media landscape. More time is spent on TikTok than any other social media site today. If you want to resonate on that platform you have to focus on short, vertical videos.
Blogging & Email Marketing
The old head in the world of content marketing has to be blogs and emails. Because they’ve been around so long, people want to push them to the side and focus on the new shiny thing. Terrible plan. SEO-focused blogs and emails still have so much potential to help you build trust with content marketing and ultimately grow your revenue.
Four Common Mistakes Hindering Sales in Content Marketing
Identifying obstacles is the first step to growth. Are you making these common mistakes in your content marketing strategy that could be hindering your sales? Don't let these mistakes keep you from achieving your sales goals. Take a step back, evaluate your strategy, and make the necessary adjustments. Remember, content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. These are the four big mistakes to avoid if you want to run a successful content marketing plan.
1. No Plan
I’ve consulted with dozens of companies at this point. Almost all of them have struggled with establishing a plan. Usually, they have read a book or heard a podcast that suggested they start blogging or start posting on social media and they’re frustrated that it isn’t working. At High Beam Marketing, we call this Random Acts of Marketing.
2. Lack of time to produce content.
For example, this blog alone took 4 hours to write, edit, copyedit, design, and publish. We post one blog a week on this site. That is 10% of a 40-hour work week dedicated to just one content marketing platform. That is a significant investment of time upfront for something that could take up to 18 months to return any sort of investment on.
3. Insufficient budget.
Again, let’s use this blog as an example. We will have spent close to $1,000 just to produce this one piece of content. Salaries, consultants, and hosting fees add up quickly. Can you do this cheaper? Yes. Can it be done more expensively? Again, yes. It all depends on where your business is. Designate an appropriate amount of money to execute your content marketing plan or it will never get off the ground.
In his book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Stephen Covey says that successful people begin with the end in mind. Before you begin your content marketing plan, ask your team why you’re doing it in the first place. Do you actually believe that it will result in you building a bigger brand that will result in you driving more sales? If the answer is yes then commit to the schedule you’ve laid out. For example, High Beam Marketing has committed to one blog a week. Rain or shine a blog will be coming out next week.
Content marketing Isn't Just About Creating Content
Content marketing is all about creating value. That value drives our relationship bank accounts with our customers through the roof so that they tell their friends about us and they in turn tell more people.
When you enrich people’s lives for free you trigger something in their psyche that best-selling author Robert Cialdini calls Reciprocity. We have this compulsive desire to get even with people who have given us something. That is what makes content marketing so helpful in driving sales. Your customers will feel like they have to buy from you simply because they owe you such a debt of gratitude for all you’ve given them.
Ready to Supercharge Your Sales with Content Marketing?
We've shown you the roadmap to driving sales through powerful, strategic content marketing. Now it's your turn to embark on this journey. But you don't have to do it alone.
Together, we can unlock the full potential of content marketing for your business and take your sales to new heights. Contact us now and schedule your discovery call.