My beloved New York Times left me bereft recently. I peeled away all the sections, looking for the meaty magazine and there it was, bigger and juicier than usual!
What could they possibly be writing about that didn't show up in digital format over the course of the day?
The answer was a 92-page insert of attorneys in our local area nestled inside 52 pages of journalism. Ninety-two pages of small-print listings and large photos of people in suits. Sigh...
What came to mind were the essential lessons of inbound marketing: What works is when you offer your prospect relevant content that he may not be able to find elsewhere, and align marketing messages to the prospects needs and buying process.
Based on this, who (other than the lawyers and their mothers) would be reading this special section?
Does a print ad—or any outbound marketing tactic—deliver the best ROI and leads?
I also wondered if I could get my hands on the rate card for that insert; what did it cost to put a five-partner firm's name and photo in this NY Times promotional section? How could that same cost be channeled to online information and relevant content that provides value for prospective clients?
I'm sure The Times has data on reach and perhaps some of the firms even clocked ROI in previous years.
But I felt bad and sad for this profession that already gets its share of knocks (like they say: some of my best friends are lawyers!).
This old fashioned, "if you spend it they will come" philosophy made me cringe.
Content Marketing: A Better Way to Spend Biz Dev Dollars
There are better ways to spend business development dollars that also develop your brand, distinguish you from the competition, allow your firm to get found, build referrals and create a healthy business development database.
The time tested tradition of referrals is simply an analog model of what inbound marketing does for businesses online.
A business generates its own meaningful referrals by offering prospects what they need, and nurturing them with—no, not information about themselves—but even more meaningful stuff that helps those prospects solve their problems. That's what keeps clients and customers coming back.
And with targeted content, attracting the right buyer with a strategic digital marketing program is easier than ever.
Why Content Marketing?
A telling statistic or two ...The statistic most quoted around here is: Over 60 percent of buyers do their own online research and contact you when they are good and ready. And only 3 percent of people who might show up on your website - or might find themselves looking at your solemn face in the Times insert - are willing and able to buy at that moment.
Sharing content using blogs, social networks, like-minded groups on LinkedIn, and forums in your area of expertise allows you to build business because it comes to you, interested and ready to work. Social networking allows firms to spend time and resources nurturing prospective clients with value, asking only for information on the prospect.
By the time they actually speak, the conversation was well under way.
Content Marketing Strategy: Converting Visits Into Customers
It's a beautiful thing when your content hits the mark and gets a website visit, but it's not enough. What if you could capture an email address in exchange for some valuable perspective? Well, then next month that person could receive another email from you, this time about a landmark case in his field or something else of true relevance.
Someday, after he's received several smart white papers from you, and a personalized email with an e-book attached....someday, when he needs a lawyer, a doctor, a baker or a candlestick maker...guess who he's going to think of?
Here's an example of a White Space client who did just that: MAZE Cord Blood Labs grew sales 118 percent with content marketing. Read the case study.
Instead of spending on outbound tactics that don't work...
Begin with a website content audit.
Then, develop a content marketing strategy and develop a plan for targeted content creation to fill the gaps. You'll be well on your way to a better marketing ROI.
Need help? We live and breathe B2B content marketing strategy! Schedule a free Whiteboard Consultation.