There was a time when businesses could simply cobble together a few web pages and boast of building an online presence.

Those times were so simple.

However, Internet has grown tremendously and become so competitive that mere presence on the web is not sufficient to increase business anymore.

You need to market your business, so you can serve prospects & customers better.

Content marketing is the key to online marketing success.

If you still have any doubts, here are 11 compelling reasons why you need content marketing.

1. Build Your Brand

Some businesses still don’t understand the value of investing in their own brand. The business landscape is so competitive that businesses cannot survive by competing on price alone. You need to focus on building your brand to succeed online.

Content marketing allows you to give your company a voice. Content can be in any form. It can be in the form of white papers, e-books, blog posts, infographics and videos among other things. The goal is to let the consumers see your business through the content present online.

2. Free Search Engine Traffic

Search engines love fresh content and when you are going to give them highly useful content on a regular basis, they are going to send loads of traffic your way. However, it is important that the content is of good quality and that the content and keyword themes are relevant, well researched and timely.

Half baked content can potentially harm your brand and your website. Another important thing to note is high quality content will continue to deliver high quality traffic for years to come. This is the magic of “ever-green” content.

3. Get More Customers

Research studies have reported that content marketing can greatly influence decision-making and purchase intent of consumers. In other words, spreading high quality content around the Internet (in the right channels for your market) will allow you to influence buyers during the research phase.

It is estimated that more than 80% of consumers search for information online before making a purchase. Content marketing allows you to be in front of the consumer during the research phase and sell suggestively.

4. Native Advertising

Native advertising is quickly becoming the next big thing. In fact, there are quite a few billion-dollar companies successfully driving traffic through native advertising. High quality content allows you to draw in the target audience using native advertising.

While driving traffic is important, converting them to paying clients is more important. Good quality content on your website will convince the visitors to buy from you. TIP: Test native Facebook videos. Facebook videos are trumping YouTube.

5. Consumers Want Content They Can Trust

While it is true that there is a lot of content online, the truth of the matter is that most of the content leaves a lot to be desired.

Consumers are always looking for useful and in-depth information on products or services they are looking to research and buy. Content marketing done in the right way can help you in gaining trust of customers.

6. Social Media Traffic

Social media cannot be ignored as it has become a big driver of traffic these days. Although the customer journey and purchase intent is different on social media than a user of search engines, you are missing out if you don’t have a social media strategy in place.

Almost everyone has an account on at least one of the many social media sites including:

  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube

…and others. Find our where your prospects are hanging out, and build out a presence on those social networks. High quality content that is naturally shared by people on social media has high potential to drive huge amount of traffic to your web properties.

7. Decreasing Attention Span

National Centre for Biotechnology Information (read: http://www.statisticbrain.com/attention-span-statistics/) recently published some statistics about what everyone already knows.

Average attention span has gone down to 8.25 seconds in 2015 as compared to the average attention span of 12 seconds in the year 2000.

In simple terms, high quality content in various forms, spread all over the Internet, can help your business by drawing the attention of consumers who are looking for something interesting.

8. Excellent ROI

One of the main advantages of content marketing is that it offers excellent return on investment when done in the right manner. It makes overwhelming financial sense for small and medium businesses that cannot spend too much money on advertising.

In fact, big brands such as Coca Cola are spending tons of money on content marketing to keep and grow the mindshare.

The cost of attracting visitors to your online properties has been increasing at an astronomical pace. In many markets, businesses are forced to pay upwards of $20 per click. Keep in mind that this is just the cost to attract the customers to your web page and call-to-action (you have one, don’t you?)

The final cost depends on your conversion rate.

On the other hand, the cost of native advertising is extremely low and the content is always there. Content does not vanish from the Internet. It will keep sending you customers for a long time.

9. Consumers Love Free

Everyone likes free things.

If you take a look around, the Internet is filled with freebies. Some of it is in the form of a gift cards or actual physical products but most of the free goodies available on Internet are in the form of digital content. It is also a form of content marketing.

A well-written piece of content has the potential to attract thousands of customers to your web properties and subscribe to your newsletter. It is easier to gain subscribers by giving them free content in the form of informative videos, e-books or white papers.  TIP: Make sure to reach out to influencers in your topic. They might be interested in reading your content piece. If done right, they’ll probably share it with their tribe too. Think about their audience and the value it brings.

10. Content Marketing Delivers High-Quality Leads

You can always drive traffic to your website through advertising but the truth is that the quality of leads driven through advertising cannot match the quality of leads through content marketing. In fact, research suggests that content marketing done in the right manner has the potential to convert 30% more organic visitors into sales leads.

Arguably, high quality content attracts high value customers. They keep coming back for more and it is easier to convert them into paying clients.

11. Manage Your Business Reputation

Smart marketers have taken advantage of the social media and other online marketing channels to make their content go viral. There are a number of success stories where a piece of viral content has driven tones of leads and sales for a business. However, it is a double-edged sword.

Negative things about your business (even if totally false) can also potentially go viral which means that it can adversely affect the image of your business in the eyes of the consumer. Content marketing can help you in managing your business reputation if you already have high-quality content all over the Internet.

When consumers search for your business, it is more likely that consumers will find that content and know the truth about your brand instead of looking at your brand from someone else’s perspective.

As your visibility and traffic improves from your content marketing strategies and tactics, make sure to capture the leads:

BONUS: Download the free lead generation guide that will show you how to quickly get more leads from traffic. Includes 2 bonus strategies not found in this post.

Jon Rognerud is known as the most sought-after SEO, Digital Marketing Consultant and Online Advisor for Finance, Technology, Real-Estate and Health industries. He is famous for building business strategies, mobile websites and integrated marketing solutions that brings process, profits and brand loyalty…without wasting time. Jon Rognerud is the author of the best-selling book (Buy On Amazon), “The Ultimate Guide To Optimizing Your Website” (Entrepreneur Press) and is the Founder of Chaosmap. Get more information about the company here.