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Yo, home skillet! Are you thinking of investing in content marketing for your business, but want to know if it’s actually going to work first?

Silly question – of course you do. And we don’t blame you – after all, it’s usually a big decision!

Obviously, we’d love to say: “YES! Content marketing works for everyone, come on down to the party!” But that’s simply not true.

There are no guarantees in life – in fact, if anyone tells you that content marketing will definitely work for you, and will even give you X results in X amount of time? They’re lying.

And if they tell you that without first even taking the time to understand you and your business? Run for the hills.

So, if you can’t be 100% certain content marketing will work for you, what can you do? Well, luckily there are a few good key indicators can follow to tell if it could work for you.

Content marketing SHOULD work for you if:

(In our experience, these are the biggies to consider)

1. Your buyer’s journey is longer than 1 – 2 weeks

In other words, how long on average is your sales cycle? If your clients typically take around half an hour (or even less) to decide on your products or services, then content marketing probably isn’t right for you.

However, if people take a couple of weeks – or even months – to decide whether your solution is right for them or not, it’d suggest that they need a lot of information to make a decision.

By nurturing them and ensuring they have access to the right information at the right time, you can help guide them into becoming fully-fledged clients. It can even help significantly shorten your sales cycle over time.

2. Your clients do a lot of research online

This is connected to point 1. The reason for this is that buyer behaviour has changed over time, and nowadays people tend to do a lot more research – whether they’re investing in the latest software solution, or a new, state-of-the-art vacuum cleaner!

Just some of the things your clients may want to know include:

  • How much your products or services cost
  • The types of features that are right for them
  • Online comparisons and customer reviews
  • The alternatives available to them

In fact, you may already have noticed that your clients are getting more and more clued up about your products and services by the time you come to talk with them.

If so, that’s a good sign. But if you’re the one providing the information they need to know, they’ll be more likely to come back to you when it’s time to invest!

3. You know your buyer personas inside-out

This part is absolutely essential. If you’ve been dealing with your clients for a while now, and you know their problems, challenges, concerns and questions relating to your product and service, then there’s a very good chance you know the types of things they’ll be typing into Google.

In fact, just by sitting down and writing out all the questions your best clients ask you on a regular basis, you can probably come up with six months to a year’s worth of strategy right there!

It’s when a company doesn’t know their best customers, that things can start to get a bit iffy. That’s why content marketing isn’t always the best idea for start-ups or new businesses – unless they do a lot of market research first! (Even then, it’s better to have solid data)

Pro tip: It’s not essential, but if you know your ideal clients are active on social media (and which channels), this can also help with your content marketing campaigns.

4. Your clients’ lifetime value is over £750

This is another very important one. Imagine you’re spending just over £2,000 per month on content marketing, and within the first three months, you get an extra three, four or five new clients. That would be incredible, right?

Well, actually, not if your clients’ lifetime sale value is only £150. It just wouldn’t be worth it. I mean, sure, your content marketing results would increase and you’d start getting more clients as time went on, but your ROI would still be very poor.

In fact, we’d probably start getting into Donald Trump territory (*cough* bankruptcy *cough*).

That’s one of the reasons we need to ask you scary questions about your revenue and lifetime customer value; we won’t want to sell you something that just isn’t going to work.

5. You’re prepared to invest wholeheartedly in your strategy

For content marketing to really work, you need to be prepared to invest wholeheartedly in what an agency is going to do for you (or in some cases, what you’re going to do for yourself).

After all, it takes commitment and hard work to get the best results from producing quality content every month. If you don’t have the time to communicate and work alongside your agency for the best results, don’t bother signing up. It won’t end well!

The main aspect of content marketing? Being helpful. Your focus should be on helping your best clients at every stage of their journey, and providing them with the information they need – not sales spiel.

Once you understand how content marketing works, and the secret ingredient behind producing the best quality content, you’ll want to stick to it.

6. You have the time to dedicate to regular content

Similar to point 5, the best content marketing strategies need to have you at the heart of it. Okay, some agencies might just help you come up with a list of titles, and then go away and write your content from whatever they can find on the internet – but that’s not how it should be.

Think about it; who else knows your business better than you? There’s no-one more qualified to write about your industry, your clients, and your products/services.

Of course, we don’t suggest you sit down and write the content yourself – that’s what you pay an agency for. But you should be at the heart of everything they do, and you should be prepared to work with your agency via telephone or written interviews to produce content that is unique, personal and authoritative.

It should be written from your voice, and talk about your experiences and opinions, but also contain helpful, practical advice WITHOUT being salesy.

One last thing…

If content marketing is going to work for your business, it has to be done right. In other words, it needs to be holistic. A holistic content marketing strategy should include all aspects you’d find in an inbound or digital marketing campaign (they’re all the same thing – or should be!).

Your content marketing should include blogging, premium content, calls-to-actions, landing pages, SEO, email marketing, conversion optimisation, social media, marketing automation software, and more.

So, check to make sure a content marketing agency will do all of this for you, before you sign up. It won’t work if you only have one piece of the puzzle.

Skip to the end… (key takeaways)

Want to know if content marketing is right for you? Well, we hope the advice in this blog can help you get an early indication of whether or not it’s the right time to invest.

If the above points sound like you, then you could be onto a very good thing. However, the best course of action is to contact a few different agencies, and see what they’ll do to help you get results for your business.

Trust your gut, and go with an agency that listens to your needs, rather than just quoting numbers or treating you like you’re just another number in their sales funnel.

What are you most concerned about when thinking of investing in content marketing? Drop us a comment below.

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