Content marketing teams say they’re prioritizing audience engagement and conversational copywriting in their strategies, but the numbers don’t add up. If brands are truly engaging their audiences like they say they are, generating sales would naturally fall into place.
Marketing has evolved into a two-way conversation between brand publishers and prospective customers. Traditional practices of amplifying promotional messages to the masses in hopes of drawing in wider audiences no longer work in today’s digital age, leaving creative teams to come up with new strategies for lead generation and conversion. While web marketing may promise significant bottom-line benefits, arbitrary analytics tracking and inconsistent strategic visions threaten to derail top-tier
68 percent of respondents indicated that improved engagement metrics have become the top priority of their content and conversational copywriting programs. It’s important to reach and appeal to the right customers, but what constitutes quality interaction? Too many marketers depend on social shares and clicks as indicators of high-level engagement, when other insights may tell a more comprehensive story. It all comes back to having the right content analytics solutions, and knowing where to look for telltale signs of a job well down in original content creation.
Strategic Challenges in Conversational Copywriting
Conversational copywriting has come a long way in earning respect from brands across industries. 46 percent of companies now have content strategies in place, although 37 percent admit their programs are under developed. Even though 48 percent of respondents say they have dedicated content managers or full teams in place, 25 percent aren’t sure who manages their blogs or content creation efforts in house. This shows a lack of structure among organizations with active conversational copywriting strategies.
Brands may see the value of developing a constant stream of web articles, blog posts, long-form fliers, and visual media, but an equal percentage fail to connect the strategic dots. Engagement remains a top priority, but other factors that directly impact the level of interaction developed between publishers and their customers often go overlooked.
For example, goals like educating the market (32 percent of respondents), improving customer loyalty (29 percent), providing thought leadership (23 percent), and increasing web traffic (22 percent) were all behind results such as acquiring leads (38 percent) and driving sales (35 percent). Marketers may say their top goal is increased engagement, but they’re not focusing on the parts that work to achieve this gain—they’re eyeing their bottom lines. This misstep creates gaps in their content strategies, preventing their efforts from ever aligning and being effective. Conversational copywriting may result in new leads and additional sales, but brands that put those metrics above educating the market and improving brand affinity create shallow content that reads more like a disguised sales pitch than an informational piece of writing.
Marketers Struggle With Definition of Conversational Copywriting
Today’s always-on consumer expects more from brands. Buyers want to be engaged without the pressures of converting on the spot. When corporations humanize their digital marketing efforts to relate to their prospects, they often find their content takes on a different tone of voice. Through the measurement and evaluation of blog articles, combined with effective social listening strategies, marketers can begin to understand their
audiences’ pain points and obstacles. This will allow conversational copywriters to craft articles and thought-leadership media that speak to broader points, instead of focusing solely on product benefits.
The state of content marketing continues to change, but brands still have a lot to learn. Many survey respondents still hold increased sales above other crucial aspects of content marketing, neglecting the steps that lead to stronger engagement on the web.
Conversational Content Generates Leads
61 percent of marketers say generating high-quality leads is by far their biggest challenge. Forty-three percent say another top challenge is converting these high-quality leads to customers. According to this data, the most effective lead-generation tactic used by B2Bs is their company website. However, the greatest barrier to lead generation success is lack of resources—a scarcity that possibly contributes to chronically low conversion rates highlighted in the report. As the study noted, respondents said only 5 to 10 percent of leads were likely to convert.
Conversational content helps brands overcome these challenges by providing site visitors with a source of information and entertainment. Brands that produce short-form, snackable content based on audience analysis are more likely to see their audience fall in love with their campaigns, thus improving lead conversion metrics. Because of the low percentage of converted leads, 50 percent of B2B marketers say they are increasing their lead generation budgets.
This will create a greater opportunity to build out content strategies and map that content to the buyer’s journey. B2Bs are also having trouble measuring content ROI. The truth is, proving sales ROI doesn’t have to be challenging, it just needs consistent structure. The three most common metrics B2B marketers use to measure their sales ROI are cost per lead, lead
volume, and revenue. The next step is determining how conversational content contributes to each one of those metrics.
When companies increase the number of landing pages on their websites from 10 pages to 15 pages, they see a 55 percent increase in leads. Companies need to stop thinking of content as simple blog articles that live on some subdomain or hidden areas of their sites. Landing pages are essential, not only for increased visibility in search, but also for converting leads once they are on a brand’s website. These pages can be optimized for search, and they can include calls to action that prompt readers to download resources. They also acquire valuable lead information for outreach, and eventually they help close the sales cycle process.
Traffic is often used to help determine content’s ROI. HubSpot’s report found that companies that blog more than 15 times a month receive five times the amount of traffic to their sites. B2B companies that blog a few times a month generate 70 percent more leads than those that don’t. When B2Bs boost their blog posts to up to eight a month, they double their leads. These statistics show that finding a return on your conversational content is measurable and contributes to lead generation, as long as you provide clear conversion points on each page to track which one has contributed what.
What B2B Marketers Say about Conversational Content ROI
Additional research found that twice as many marketers say inbound marketing—such as content creation—delivers below-average costs per lead versus outbound strategies. Thirty-four percent of all leads generated in 2013 came from inbound marketing sources, data from the report showed, with inbound delivering 54 percent more leads into the marketing
funnel than outbound leads. Forty-one percent of marketers confirm inbound produces measurable sales ROI, while 82 percent of marketers who blog report positive content ROI.
Overall, these reports suggest content not only generates high quality leads to satisfy the main challenge of B2B marketers but also attracts leads that convert into customers. It is also possible to calculate the success of your content marketing strategy and how it contributes to your company’s revenue stream.