ROI Differences Between Content & Traditional Marketing
Content marketing has been around for years, but only recently have people started recognizing what it is and how powerful it can be for brands. At its core, content marketing is about offering valuable content – like blog posts or videos that educate, entertain, or engage an audience – in a way that drives key performance indicators like web traffic and sales. It makes perfect sense why content marketing is on the rise, but how ready are you to take full advantage of the benefits?
ROI is a performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment calculated by dividing the benefit of the investment by the cost of it. In the past, ROI was simply the amount of money you ended up with after an ad campaign, but content marketing has re-framed ROI and made it possible to see returns long after the initial investment. For example, traditional campaigns are like renting a home; they only do you any good when you’re actively paying for them, and when you stop paying, the benefits come to an end. Content marketing, on the other hand, is like owning property. You pay for real assets that can grow in value long after they’ve been paid for. This means that content marketing not only has a better ROI up-front than traditional marketing, but the ROI also continues to grow over time.
Traditional marketing pushes a message in front of a mass people, regardless of whether or not they are interested in it. Content marketing is designed to attract an audience organically. For example, say you own a garden centre in Toronto, and you keep hearing your customers asking how to care for fiddle leaf figs. Content marketing is simply posting a blog post to your website all about caring for fiddle leaf figs in Toronto. Chances are, wannabe fiddle leaf fig owners in Toronto are likely to find your post on Google, leading them to your website, and ultimately into your store.
A billboard is viewed by mass amounts of people, and you as a consumer are subjected to it whether it interests you or not. Billboards are classified as “outdoor advertising”, which follows the traditional marketing mindset of plastering (literally!) your message wherever people can see it and hoping people will follow up. The downside is that billboards are far more expensive than blog posts, infographics, or e-mail newsletters, and they offer no real value to consumers, leading to a low ROI. When was the last time a billboard helped YOU make a purchase decision?
According to an article published in Forbes, content marketing is 62 percent more cost-effective than traditional marketing and delivers three times as many leads. Not to mention that traditional campaigns have an end date – the billboard comes down or the flyers stop getting printed, and the results come to a halt. “Evergreen” content (content that never loses relevancy, like an e-book titled ‘A Complete Guide to Growing Hydrangeas’) has the potential to continue to generate leads for years after it’s been published.
The more indexed pages your website has, the more Google increases your page rank, making your business easier to find online! Google’s objective is to connect people with content that answers their questions, and publishing content is how brands can answer those questions. If someone needs to Google “garden centre Toronto” to find you, you’re limited to users who search only those keywords, and you compete with every other Toronto garden centre. (And if they have an active blog, you’re in trouble!) If you publish content regularly to answer questions like “how to overwinter annuals in Toronto”, “how to prune apple trees in Toronto”, and “what is the plant hardiness zone in Toronto”, you expand your opportunities for Google to point users in your direction.
Bloggers who keep their posts current are 74% more likely to get strong results. If your popular posts starts losing its ranking, refreshing it can increase traffic once more. For example, “Christmas Tree Trends 2015” are pretty stale right now, but a little research, some editing, and a headline switch to “Christmas Tree Trends 2018” is bound to win back those hits.
In the long run, engagement is more valuable for your business because it guarantees a loyal customer who keeps coming back! At the end of the day, content marketing is about providing value for the audience you want. Engagements, such as comments on your blog or shares of your Facebook post, are clear signs that your content is doing its job.
This study shows blogging at 65% and social media use at 64% when it comes to most successful marketing tactics. They work harmoniously in tandem, because blogs are destinations and social media is about distribution. Social media is where your customers hang out, looking for interesting things to browse. If you want to accelerate traffic to your website, sharing a blog post link on social media helps to funnel traffic to your website while keeping followers engaged with your account.
Infographics are liked and shared on social media three times more than any other type of content. Infographics are a content marketing “holy grail”; they’re visually interesting, they teach people something cool, and they’re easy to digest quickly and re-share. Consider re-purposing your best-performing blog content into infographics for your best shot at “going viral”!
People are sick of ads, and most people deal with these intrusive tactics by using an ad blocker or the “Skip Ad” button. Content marketing bypasses this by providing information that is valuable. Let’s use YouTube as an example. You search “how to force paperwhites to bloom” and find a video made by a garden centre. A 15-second pre-roll ad plays. Even though both the 15-second ad and the paperwhite video are both promoting something, you’ve likely skipped the ad to watch the garden centre video.
With long-form content performing better than short-form, piling content onto your internal team might be too much. Google values consistency, and a busy week or month that throws off your posting schedule will impact the value of your content strategy. Outsourcing your blog posts to a writing team offers multiple benefits: your team can focus on running the garden centre, your content will be produced consistently regardless of store traffic, and the content itself will be produced by professionals who care about delivering quality content for your audience.
Six times the power for converting leads and leads into customers! It may require more patience and time, but it pays off in the long run.