For any business, relevant content is one of the most valuable assets – whether your brand is B2C, B2B, small business, big enterprise, profit or non-profit.
Content marketing encompasses all digital marketing forms (emails, social media, videos, webinars, eBooks, white papers and mobile) used to create and share content to attract, engage and drive a profitable customer action. When it’s done well, it not only acquires but retains customers creating brand loyalty and building trust.
What makes it work? Content marketing works by offering help rather than selling; by telling stories and teaching something new instead of self-promoting; by giving shout outs and thank yous to others as opposed to talking about yourself.
Need proof it delivers results? Here are 11 case studies that prove content marketing ROI (return on investment).
- AMERICAN EXPRESS: Openforum.com is an online community for business owners, connecting them with insights, advice, and tools to help them manage and grow their companies. It features two main elements: Ideahub, a blog driven by user-generated content, guest bloggers and leaders of the industry, and Connectodex, a private social network for Amex user entrepreneurs. It is an impressive example of what happens when you combine great content and great people. Openforum hit 1 million unique visitors back in 2010 beating its projection not only on reader but revenue goals for new credit card clients.
- ARIBA: Is a software and information technology services company. It used the SlideShare Enterprise Channel to create a custom brand channel to share Ariba’s conference content with its customers. The result was over 40,000 contents views that generated over 400 leads.
- CLEVELAND CLINIC: Heavily regulated category like healthcare usually shy away from content marketing but not the Cleveland Clinic. By structuring a cross-functional team to enable education, collaboration, and smart governance, the Cleveland Clinic deepened engagement with its consumers around the globe – both providers and patients. They used Facebook and Twitter for daily wellness tips; LinkedIn for professional recruitment and YouTube for content on diseases and patient stories. They saw increased website traffic, attendance at health lectures go and, most importantly, new and existing patients making and keeping more appointments.
- DAVID R. REATH M.D.: Runs a family medical practice. His wife, Lisa, used content marketing to help the family business. First, on their Facebook page, the created a quiz, Truth-O-Meter. It ran every Tuesday. She and her husband also started several blogs and published a 33-page interactive eBook. The purpose of all was to offer help and, in the process, establish the practice as a medical authority. The eBook alone generated enough new patients to more than return the investment on the resources and time involved for the entire effort.
- DISTRIBION: Is a marketing automation company that serves a very specific marketplace. Its customers are all in highly regulated industries, such as healthcare, insurance, financial services and casino gaming. Its product allows the sales channel to access corporate-approved marketing materials to send to prospects. Distribion used a best practices blog to drive brand awareness, a revamped whitepaper and webinar program, and tips on utilizing strategic partners to increase the volume of content. The effort increased blog traffic by 2,000% and boosted company revenue 40% in the first year of the program.
- ELOGUA: is a B2B marketing automation company that increases revenue performance by delivering more qualified marketing leads. They started an Infographic and eBook campaign to get noticed by marketers who also could be converted into customers. Eloqua developed $2.5M in revenue from the effort, a huge ROI .
- GOOD GREENS BARS: is a fruit and nutrition bar made outside Cleveland with ingredients like dark chocolate, wheatgrass juice, green tea extract, acai berry and taste kind of like mini berry brownies. They developed relationships with local bloggers to increase the number of mentions, reviews, and search engine results pages for Good Greens. They watched their sales average jump over 50% in 4 months. They now do consistently over $50,000.00 in sales per month.
- HUBSPOT: Is an all-in-one marketing software platform for small and medium-sized businesses. 4,000+ companies use HubSpot to generate over 500,000 leads per month. They produce case studies, videos, podcasts, webinars, and ebooks for their audience, educating them about their industry. All of these educational tools help HubSpot customers use the platform more effectively. Last year, HubSpot revenues grew +81%, year over year, to $29 million. The company reported it gained 2,000 new customers. The company’s “service marketplace” partners generated an average of $75,000 in revenue, each, using HubSpot’s platform.
- KISSMETRICS: Is a marketing intelligence company that tracks every single interaction a person has with your business. The KISSmetrics blog received over 1 million unique visitors in 10 months without paid traffic. How did they do it? Each blog post taught its typical user (entrepreneurs, marketing managers in small businesses) how to overcome the problems their experiencing. Their content was always very visual (infographics) and well researched. With this they built a huge amount of trust and sales that justified content marketing as their primary means of securing new revenue.
- MINT: is an online property whose vision was to be market leader in personal finance. Its strategy focused on tips posts, link roundups, slideshows, videos and (most famously) infographics. Mint,com was the first company to really push infographics and experience great success. Three years after launch, the company was sold to Intuit for $170 million.
- MONETATE: is a young technology company in Conshohocken, Pa. They hired a 3-person content team but their content doesn’t talk about Monetate. Rather, the content team mines information Monetate collects in order to create compelling content about trends in the industry, giving their “subscribers” – customers and prospects – news they can use. Visits to the website increased 255% and unique visits jumped 353%. Best of all, sales doubled over this time frame as a result of this effort.
There are big and small companies on this list – B2B and B2C. The common thread is, when content marketing is used to have a dialogue, not a monologue, with customers, it delivers results and ROI.
If you need to see more proof of the principles behind content marketing, you can also download, 166 Case Studies Prove Social Media Marketing ROI, on the sidebar.
Do these case studies prove the ROI of content marketing to you?