As content marketers, we at Biznet Digital have long advocated the role high-quality content plays in lead generation, lead nurturing, and the overall sales process. A new study confirms our belief. The report’s bottom-line conclusion: quality educational content helps close deals.
Titled “The Power of Content: How Content Marketing Impacts Purchase Decisions, Brand Affinity, and Trust,” the report documents the importance content plays when it comes to influencing consumers and increasing sales.
More Likely to Buy, More Likely to Trust
Three key findings from the report are:
- Immediately after reading a piece of content, consumers are 131 percent more likely to buy from that brand
- 65 percent of consumers feel a brand is trustworthy/positive immediately after they read a piece of educational content from that brand
- When deciding between different brands, 83.6 percent of consumers chose the brand whose content they had read
If those stats aren’t eye-catching enough, here’s the bottom-line conclusion of the study:
“Early-stage content has a powerful impact on a consumer’s likelihood to purchase. Educational content also has a powerful, positive impact on consumers’ feelings about that brand, dramatically increasing brand affinity and trust. These findings strongly support the importance of customer-first marketing: when brands create valuable content that educates consumers, both brands and consumers win.”
Content Helps B2B Buyers, Too
The study was performed with B2C consumers, but the conclusions of the study apply to B2B purchasers, too. Most of us go online to research purchases, whether we are seeking out a single pair of tennis shoes for ourselves or a million-dollar supply of brake shoes for our company.
The study focused on educational content. For consumers who are in the early awareness or interest stages of the sales funnel, educational content is key. Whether prospects have had their need thrust upon them (“These shoes of mine are killing my feet. I need to find a new pair!”) or they’ve long recognized their need and are just now acting upon it (“That last batch of brake shoes from my supplier failed again. I am done with them. I need to find a new supplier.”), educational content has a lasting effect on influencing these purchasers.
Types of Educational Content
What is educational content?
In the study, participants were exposed to “How To” and “What You Need to Know” articles. These are among the best kinds of educational content a company can provide. From an online perspective, these articles catch people who Google phrases like “how do I…. [your topic here.]” But there are many other types of educational content. Your company has probably been using and sharing many of these for years.
- User Guides and Instruction Manuals
- Maintenance/Repair Tips
- Best Practices
- Lessons Learned
- Product Comparisons
- Product Reviews
- Use Cases
- Expert Interviews
- Research and Original Data
- White Papers
- Recordings of Seminars and Webinars
You’ll notice that the intent of all of these content types isn’t to sell; it is to provide information. The soft-sell of these pieces occurs when you gain the trust of the reader. Educational content is great for showing prospects what they are missing and how your product or service fills that need without the hard sell. Consumers look for market leaders to inform and educate them about topics they are interested in. Brand-building isn’t about making a buck. It’s about establishing a bond. Prospects who read your educational content begin to view you as a reliable resource and market leader. The begin to connect with your brand.
In basic terms: they learn to recognize, know, like and trust you.
Experts and Novices Seek Educational Content
Think of your own experiences conducting research that led to a purchase. You seek out educational information, even if you are an expert in the field. It’s a natural part of the decision-making process to see what information a company provides, how informative it is, and how professional it is.
If you are a newcomer to the brand or product or field, the content helps educate you. If you are an expert, you assess the accuracy of the content against what you already know to give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down about the provider.
A thumbs-up up means you follow-up with the company’s sales team. A thumbs-down means you click away and move on. Either way, the content becomes a part of the overall impression you form about the company.
Don’t be thumbed down. At Biznet, we are experts at developing educational content as well as content for all stages of the funnel. Check out our Marketing Services page or give us a call at 877-966-5416.