How to Use Content Marketing to Attract Clients

By | January 14, 2014
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Trent DyrsmidBelow is a guest post from Trent Dyrsmid (@trentdyrsmid), founder of and the host of the popular BrightIdeas podcast. He has interviewed more than 100 successful entrepreneurs to get them to share the exact steps that they used to achieve their results. Trent is also the founder of Groove Digital Marketing, a digital agency focused on helping clients to implement Infusionsoft. 

Note: Portions of this post were originally published on the blog

Back in 2001 when I started Dyrand, the business landscape was radically different than today. Building a website wasn’t easy, there was no social media, and email marketing was barely getting started.

By 2007, when cold calling stopped working for me, social media had taken off in a big way. So had WordPress and email marketing. Plus, mobile was also starting to gain in popularity as well. What did all this mean? It meant that getting people’s attention was becoming increasingly difficult, and as a result, traditional outbound marketing was starting to lose its effectiveness.

Fast forward to 2014 and, for traditional outbound marketers, things have become even more difficult.

Potential Buyers Are Now Invisible

Now, potential buyers remain invisible and nearly impossible to reach until they want to be found. I say they are invisible because, prior to contacting you, they are stealthily performing all sorts of research using Google, review websites and social media. You cannot reach them at any point during this phase, unless of course, they happen to find your blog or one of your social profiles along the way. What does this mean for marketers?

Content is Now Your Most Valuable Asset

It means that content has become your most important asset. Blog posts, videos, white papers, free reports, podcasts, etc. are now the way that you are going to attract prospects.

Why? Simple. People are using Google to search for answers to their questions, and if you create a lot of high quality content, people will share it on their social profiles too. Each time they do, Google is going to bump your content up just a little higher in the search results. Each time you rise in the search results, you get more traffic, more shares and better rankings. The cycle simply repeats itself.

Outbound vs. Inbound

To really drive this point home, let’s use an example with two marketing agencies looking to attract new clients. The first agency still has a team of salespeople who are charged with finding new clients. They are cold calling and attending local networking events. For simplicity, we’ll call this firm Outbound Marketing.

The other firm, is called Inbound Marketing. Unlike Outbound, they do not have a dedicated outside/outbound sales team. Instead, they have chosen to create compelling content that answers potential buyers’ questions, and publicly displays their work with clients.

As you might guess, Inbound Marketing is getting much better results than the other firm. This is because they are getting plenty of traffic to their blog. Many of those visitors are becoming subscribers, and those subscribers are finding their way through Inbound Marketing’s well-crafted sales funnel.

Their funnel allows their prospects to segment themselves based upon what they are interested in and what phase of the buying cycle they are in. This is pretty easy to do because Inbound is using powerful marketing automation software.

This process is working so incredibly well, in fact, that Inbound Marketing doesn’t ever call their prospects. Instead, prospects actually call Inbound once they have consumed enough content to be pre-sold on working with them.

I don’t know about you, but to me, that sounds like it would be a pretty nice place to work.

How To Do It the Wrong Way

In stark contrast to this, the other firm, Outbound Marketing, is dealing with a completely different set of challenges.

Instead of spending all their time creating and promoting valuable content that will attract their target market, they are spending significant amounts of time and energy trying to attract, train and retain an (expensive) outbound sales force.

Because the primary method of reaching new prospects for their sales force is cold calling, which none of the sales reps enjoy, their success rate is very low and their staff turnover is very high. On the few occasions when one of their sales reps does manage to get through to the potential prospect, significant time needs to be invested long before the sale is ever made.

As I’ve just described above, outbound marketing, consisting of cold calls, advertising, and direct mail is not nearly as effective as it once was. So if outbound is all you are doing now, you are going to need to begin a transition to inbound marketing, combined with marketing automation as quickly as possible.

For tips on how to make this transition, check out my new Digital Marketing Handbook.