Last updated: No content? No sales: Revenue growth requires marketing, full stop

No content? No sales: Revenue growth requires marketing, full stop


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Since the pandemic started, every so often I realize something that I miss. One was being “waited on” – walking into my favorite department store to buy a dress for a special occasion and having the sales associate ask how they can help. I miss them suggesting options, finding me a fitting room, and offering a glass of sparkling wine or water in between wardrobe changes.

Since early 2020, nearly 100% of my family’s purchases have moved online and of those, probably 90% of those are ones where I know what I’m looking for. I do a search, find the product, buy it, and move on – all highly transactional and little “experience.” It’s efficient and THANK GOD for the internet, otherwise we might all starve to death.

But this got me thinking about that coveted experience with the sales associate and what that means in a digital world. The sales associate creates an experience by establishing a rapport, offering expertise, and helping find what buyers need.

As a marketer, I often find myself in conversations around the value of content creation and content marketing ROI. Can content be connected to outcomes and driving more revenue?

My department store experience made me realize how content IS the sales associate in an online world. The store front is the rack. But content is what gives the merchandise life.

It’s what connects the merchandise to the shopper in a meaningful way. Content is the nice window display that moves someone from “window shopping” to browsing about the shop—giving the sales associate the opportunity to engage.

Content marketing ROI: Building trust & loyalty

Just as a good department store sales associate can turn my dress purchase into a dress, shoe, jewelry and handbag purchase, a bad one could see me leave the store empty-handed or worse yet, not wanting to return.

Content marketing has the same impact. Good content can help build the relationships and create connections; it educates and inspires your customers to want to learn more, make a purchase, and return for more. Bad content or a lack of valuable content can send them elsewhere and forget you even exist.

Good content builds trust and authority, which in turn creates loyalty. A recent study reported that consumers are 131% more likely to buy from brands who take the time to educate them.

Consider that in 2020 alone, the consumption of global online content doubled.

Content done right is a pull strategy. It’s designed to pull your audience and prospective customers in by engaging in a conversation that’s relevant to them. From an ROI perspective, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates three times as many leads.

Whether your business is B2C or B2B, content forms the foundation of a solid SEO strategy, which also is key to ensuring your business gets found when your customers are looking for what you sell. When you consider that 81% of consumers research products or services online before purchasing, getting found is what can make the difference between getting the sale or giving it away to your competition before you even have the chance to engage.

Content that sells: 3 winning traits

So, what makes content good content marketing? What makes content that sells?

Of course, not all content is created equal. If you’re struggling to see the impact of your content marketing, maybe it’s time to take a hard look at the quality of your content.

Let’s explore three time-tested qualities of content that sells:

  1. Tailored to a target audience/buyer 
  2. Adds value, is educational
  3. Measurable

Tailored to your audience

Are you meeting your audience where they are? Step into their shoes and design content they would want—not just what you want to push. This requires a deep understanding (and empathy) of your target audience’s desires, behaviors and buying patterns.

Use data, insights and primary research to get the full picture and create your ideal customer profile. But don’t just stop at data. Remember your buyers are humans. Give them names, personalities, and personas they can relate to. This will help your content be human-centric.

Adds value, is educational

Take the opportunity with your content to teach your audience something. Maybe it’s how to use your products or something more tangential/peripheral. Help them visualize themselves in an aspirational scenario—don’t just showcase drawer organizers for example; showcase the feeling of a super-organized life.

And to really resonate, tap into a problem they’re eager to solve and show them how to solve it.


You need to be able to measure the impact your content is making. Otherwise, how will you know what’s working? Set a baseline with clear targets and goals. What outcome or behavior are you looking to drive with the content? Measure that.

Set short and long-term KPIS and don’t be afraid to pivot when something isn’t working.

Not long ago, my team launched a campaign that after a week showed CPLs that were through the roof. We were prepared to act fast with the quick insight that something wasn’t working. We immediately stopped the campaign and pivoted. Sometimes things just don’t land. Don’t be afraid to admit it and don’t throw good money after bad.

Effective content, more sales: The ROI of content marketing

Content is THE marketing work-horse. Done right, it’s your low-cost salesperson that works around the clock and can have a reasonably long tenure. As more and more people flock online to search for everything from home goods to industry events, it’s even more important to give your customers content that resonates with them and builds trust.

Executed effectively, your content can feed into your many channels, regions, and campaigns—so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every quarter. The right content can drive consistency in your brand messaging across all of your marketing efforts.

This is also why we’re seeing so many brands move to direct-to-consumer strategies – it’s easier to directly message and engage customers with the right content.

Great content may never replace the real-life sales experience – like the kind at my favorite department store – but it can certainly shift ordinary shopping online from purely transactional to experiential – and in the process, drive more revenue for your brand.

More options. More conditions. More stakeholders. More circling-back.
Modern selling is anything but simple.
Intelligent sales enablement starts HERE.

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