You’ve probably stumbled across the following statistics about how persistence leads to more closed sales. I’ve seen this data attributed to Dartnell Corp., although I haven’t been able to track down a link to the actual study.
- 48 percent of salespeople never follow up with a prospect.
- 25 percent stop after the second contact.
- 12 percent stop after the third contact.
- 10 percent make more than three contacts.
This explains why the vast majority of sales go to such a small percentage of salespeople. Just 10 percent of sales are made on those first three contacts, and another 10 percent are made on the fourth contact.
80 percent of sales are made after five to 12 contacts.
How Does This Relate to Content Marketing?
After all, content marketing isn’t a sales pitch. At least it shouldn’t be.
The goal of content marketing is to motivate people to buy or refer you to others who need your product or service. But with content marketing, you accomplish this by consistently sharing valuable, relevant content that helps you earn people’s trust and position your company as a solution to a problem.
The point I’m trying to make is that content marketing requires just as much persistence as a successful salesperson, if not more. In sales, at least you have that direct contact with the prospect that you can leverage to build a relationship. With content marketing, you’re relying on your content to do the work.
That requires persistence and patience.
It takes more than a handful of blog posts. More than one email per month for three months. More than five videos or infographics shared randomly on LinkedIn.
Content Marketing Takes Time
Is it possible that someone will want to buy from you after seeing your content for the first time because they have an immediate need for what you offer? Absolutely.
Is it more likely that someone will see your content for many months, possibly years, before they buy from you or refer you? Definitely.
That’s why I wince when, after discussing content marketing with a prospect, they say, “Let’s try it for a while and see if it works.”
Which is code for, “If my phone isn’t ringing off the hook after a month, you can tag the toe and shut the door on my foray into content marketing.”
Of course, you also have to be strategic with your content marketing. You have to present information in a way that’s interesting and easy to understand.
You have to know your target audience and their pain points so you can provide content that helps them. And you have to respect them enough to not feed them shameless self-promotion or sales pitches dressed up as “helpful information.”
But if you really want content marketing to work, you have to give it time.
More Numbers that Prove the Need for Content Marketing Persistence
Consider these statistics taken from the HubSpot article, “107 Mind-Blowing Sales Statistics That Will Help You Sell Smarter.”
At any given time, only 3 percent of your market is actively buying. 56 percent are not ready, and 40 percent are poised to begin. (Vorsight)
Takeaway: Even with precise, data-based targeting, a large portion of your audience won’t be ready to make a purchase. You have to keep delivering quality content so you’re still top-of-mind when they are ready.
63 percent of people requesting information on your company today will not purchase for at least three months. 20 percent will take more than 12 months to buy. (Marketing Donut)
Takeaway: People who are interested in what you’re selling aren’t inclined to act immediately. But you can bring them one step closer to the sale with every piece of content you share. Meanwhile, every piece of content will be capable of producing search traffic and leads for months or even years.
95 percent of buyers chose a solution provider that “provided them with ample content to help navigate through each stage of the buying process.” (DemandGen Report)
Takeaway: Never assume a prospect has everything they need to make a decision. Content marketing can guide them along their purchasing journey. It also allows you to have a say in what the final destination will be.
Content marketing, like sales, is not a one-and-done proposition. It’s about earning trust, building credibility, establishing expertise, and staying top-of-mind.
It’s not about instant gratification. It’s about getting the sale or referral when the need for your product or service presents itself.
Bail too quickly and you’ll waste your money. Give it time and your persistence will be rewarded.