Corporate Eye

Content Marketing Really Can Drive Leads

keyboard content marketingIn a survey of U.S. marketing agencies conducted by RSW/US, content in various forms ranked as the most effective tactic to drive new leads. In fact, the ranking of marketing tactics based on their lead generation success among agencies is very different from how the list may have looked just five years ago.

The shift from traditional marketing tactics to new media marketing tactics such as social media and content marketing is significant even though many corporate executives continue to undervalue these newer, digital marketing opportunities. However, agencies not only understand the potential of new media marketing, but also, they understand that new media marketing can drive real leads. That’s a bridge most other corporate executives have yet to cross because tracking the return on investment of new media marketing tactics is still far from perfect.

With that said, take a look at the ranking of marketing tactics from agency respondents to the survey, which were published by eMarketer. Notice that the first six tactics on the list include some form of long-form or short-form content creation, publishing, and distribution:

  1. Client case studies = 62.6%
  2. Content marketing through agency website = 62.6%
  3. Agency blog = 58.2%
  4. Social media such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. = 57.1%
  5. Press releases and publicity = 50.6%
  6. Targeted direct mail to qualified list = 41.8%
  7. Community and civic work = 33.0%
  8. Referrals program = 30.8%
  9. Email lead capture program = 29.7%
  10. Advertising = 19.8%

Marketing agencies are business-to-business organizations serving companies in every industry. Therefore, it stands to reason that the tactics ranked above can work equally well for other business-to-business companies.

It’s not surprising that agencies ranked LinkedIn (a social network for professionals) as the best social network for lead generation. However, an even more interesting finding in the study shows that more agencies believe that online video is the most effective marketing tactic for lead generation. Agencies ranked Vimeo (23%) and YouTube (20%) as the most effective sites for generating new business—above social media standards like LinkedIn (19%), Facebook (19%), Twitter (17%), and Google+ (19%). Clearly, online video represents a potential opportunity for agencies and business-to-business companies overall.

Furthermore, Google+ is underutilized by agencies with just 8% of agencies using it for lead generation, which is significantly fewer than the the number of agencies using LinkedIn (21%), Facebook (21%), and Twitter (20%). With its importance to search and its growing user audience, Google+ presents another big opportunity for agencies and business-to-business companies.

Image: Jeff Hire

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as MSNBC.com, BusinessWeek.com, TodayShow.com, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.
 
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