How ICT uses content marketing and social media to attract and delight customers

At the recent Wilmington Annual Conference, International Compliance Training’s MD Helen Langton and Head of Marketing Lily Harwood showcased recent marketing successes. We asked Lily to share the story of ICT’s social-media content-marketing drive to generate traffic to the ICT and ICA websites.

ICT is the largest and longest established training partner of the International Compliance Association, delivering training worldwide leading to the award of ICA's professional qualifications.

While compliance failure in organisations is a trending business topic, techniques for preventing breaches aren’t as widely shared. ICT’s marketing activity raises awareness of the risks of money laundering and other types of financial crime, leading interested individuals to the ICA and ICT websites.

“Once we attract potential clients,” says Lily, “converting and closing them – typically signing them up to an ICT training course – follows a proven path.

“We needed to engage more people to feed the sales funnel, and we use content marketing through social media to do exactly that. We focus on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to promote content and share information, expertise and knowledge among our networks.”

The importance of effective content

ICT has a well-stocked content library; Lily and her team produce additional items every week. These include blog posts, white papers, infographics, briefing notes, study guides, course information and case studies; Lily’s team also curates relevant third-party content for sharing.

“There’s a broad correlation between the cost of content and its effectiveness,” she says. Items that are expensive or difficult to produce – for example, ebooks, videos and white papers – are generally more effective in driving conversions than simple blog posts. That said, our statistics show that most of the items we share generate similar levels of engagement on social media.”

Following a proven path, ICT also uses blog posts to promote courses by focusing on frequently asked questions from visitors. Titles like ‘How do I land my first compliance role?’ and ‘The value of compliance qualifications’ attract people searching for general information on the topic, and eventually lead to a dedicated landing page on the ICT website.

The impact of promoted social media

The ICT marketing team shares content on its target networks via its corporate social-media accounts, with individuals adding their weight where appropriate. During the early part of 2015, ICT decided to expand the use of paid-for advertising for its social-media portfolio.

“LinkedIn was an obvious choice,” says Lily. “It offers the opportunity to target an audience with very specific demographics; LinkedIn advertising allows us to get our message in front of the individuals most likely to be interested in ICA qualifications.”

Since Facebook also allows targeting by demographics, advertising there made sense too. Of the options available, two ticked all ICT’s boxes.

 “We opted to ‘boost’ some of our posts,” explains Lily. “Boosting serves our content to everyone who likes our page, rather than the limited number who see it normally. If we want, we can also include their friends to increase the audience still further.

“Pay-per-click advertising also works well for us on Facebook. A simple set of filters gives us a target audience with very specific demographics, including age, location, interests and educational achievement.”

“We haven’t yet explored Twitter’s promoted offerings,” she says. “Twitter’s targeting filters aren’t as intuitive as LinkedIn’s or Facebook’s, but we’ll start using promoted tweets during 2016.”

Increased referrals from social-media sharing

ICT’s analysis shows a substantial increase in traffic driven by social-media sharing. Dedicated landing pages and Google Analytics on the ICA and ICT websites allow referral visitors to be identified; year-on-year trends make interesting reading. Results in 2015 show consistent growth compared with the previous year.

“LinkedIn referrals increased by more than half,” reports Lily, “while Twitter, without any paid advertising, drove just over double last year’s traffic. Facebook outperformed both of these, with referrals increasing four-fold; although we started from a relatively low spend here, these are still excellent results.”

Results in 2016 will confirm the effectiveness of ICT’s continued emphasis on content marketing using social-media channels.

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