cow In opposition of content creation in inbound marketing , one thing we hear time and time again from businesses is the infamous free content debate.

"If we give away free content and information that our paid products/services help solve," they say, "who's going to want to pay money for what we're selling?"

It's easy to understand why companies would think that way. The goal of any business is to make a profit, so giving away free goodies to people would be crazy, right? Wrong. In fact, giving away free content to your prospective customers can actually do the opposite, educating prospects about the products and services you offer and leading to more leads and sales for your business.

So when it comes to inbound marketing, does the old adage, "Why buy the cow if the milk is free?" ring true? We think not. Here are five benefits of using free content to educate your prospects.

1. Trust in Your Brand

Using free content, whether it's in the form of blog articles, ebooks, webinars, videos, etc. can do wonders to boost trust in and credibility for your brand. Quality content shows prospective customers that your business is a thought leader that knows what its talking about, and this can also translate to initial trust in your paid products and services. After all, if the content you're creating is educational and helps your prospects learn something new or solve some problems they have, why wouldn't they think your paid offerings are equally as helpful?

2. Prospect & Customer Evangelism

If your prospects (and even your customers) are finding value in your content, what you might even end up with is a bit of content evangelism, or people sharing and promoting your content on your behalf. This is extremely beneficial, since it expands the reach of your content and generates brand awareness beyond your direct network.

3. Traffic

No surprise here. Creating content is a fantastic way to get found online and increase various types of traffic to your website. By making sure content is optimized with your best keywords, you'll increase your chances of getting found in search engines and boost organic traffic. By promoting content in social media, you'll increase your referral traffic. By using content offers in paid marketing efforts like pay-per-click or in email promotions, you'll increase traffic from paid search and email marketing, respectively.

4. Qualified Leads

Another huge benefit of educational content is that it's, well, educational. The more prospects who read your content, the smarter they'll be about what your business actually sells and can offer them. The better they know this, the more qualified they'll be as leads, and the easier it will be for your sales team to close them as customers. Inbound marketing greatly improves lead quality because prospects are essentially volunteering themselves as leads. Isn't self-selection a beautiful thing?

5. Happier Customers

When your content is effective at communicating and educating customers about what problems your products/services can help them solve, they'll have better expectations as customers. What this usually means is happier customers. Rather than blindly purchasing from you and not fully understanding that your product does , which can lead to misconceptions and false perception, educational content better prepares your customers and makes for a more informed customer base. This can lead to future or repeat purchases and lower churn.

What other benefits have you noticed from providing free, educational content to your customers and prospects?

Photo Credit: JelleS

Originally published Aug 16, 2011 1:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017


Content Creation