Content marketing is critical for winning new business today. Awareness of your products or services and the required education therein are dependent on buyers finding relevant information. Your content should prepare a buyer for engaging your sales process. Naturally, they will want to delay this until they feel ready. The internet allows buyers an abundant self-service opportunity for education and awareness.
As a content marketing agency, we focus heavily on the buying process in recognition of the new rules of marketing. Products and services are bought, not sold. The access to information today makes it easy for buyers to understand what they want before they have to talk to a salesperson. Here are four strategies we focus on with customers for effective content marketing to generate leads and win new business:
1. Get Found Online
When you want something, you search. Google is the gateway to buying. You are looking for something specific when you search from the millions of pieces of content out there. As a buyer, your search hones in on results from the first page and possibly the second.
As the seller, you need to be found. Getting found is highly competitive and requires strategy around the keywords of your content, your site authority and your relevance on the web. This is all without losing the natural tone and connection of your content.
Your content must be focused with embedded keywords which allow you to get found. Your systems must support your authority and relevance online. For your content to count, it must be found. Ensure your systems support this critical criteria.
2. Educate The Buyer
Getting found gives you an initial opportunity to connect. Your content has to provide ideas, strategies, steps or something tangible. There must be action and purpose to engage the attention and desire of the online buyer. Rarely will a person just click on something they find and just buy. The pain has to be immediate and high. Yet so many companies are set up with a “Buy Now” only option. It’s ridiculous. The majority of your visitors are not ready.
They are looking to get educated first. Thus, your content which helps you get found should provide such value. Educate them on how your products, services and market work. Explain the parameters for making a decision for what you offer.
You may think about what you do for 40 plus hours per week. Your buyer has you on a list of many other things they are concerned with. Don’t assume they know what you know. Help them understand and learn terminology, what to consider and how to make a decision. This positions your buyer to feel empowered and confident for any ensuing conversations they may opt towards.
3. Package Your Value Systematically
Your content should be layered in such a way to provide increasing value. We call this a “breadcrumb trail.” If you are found and the buyer finds credibility in your public content, then offer richer knowledge and value with private content. The most effective way to manage this is with a marketing automation system. Video, white papers, ebooks and an assortment of packaging for content needs to be positioned for those who want more and are serious.
Your strategy should include an opt-in and measuring of subscribers and downloaders. In this way, automated and personal follow-up can occur with a lead who has made themselves known.
Ensure your second layer of content is organized and managed in a system that can capture leads, follow-up with interested buyers and score buying behaviors.
4. Implement Automated Lead Scoring
As users frequent your content or act on calls to action with your public or private content, they increase in value to your organization. This value should be captured in real-time and measured. All leads are not equal.
At different points, follow-up in the form of even higher levels of value or direct contact should naturally be introduced into the buyer’s experience. Lead scoring accomplishes this within a marketing automation system setup. Architect a decision tree which provides the right follow-up at the right time, either digitally or directly. Ask yourself, “Would I welcome the timing of this communication or call?” to avoid selling prematurely.
If content is part of the touchpoint, narrow it to be highly valuable by helping the buyer with an increase in revenue, productivity, joy, knowledge or what is truly tangible. You must know what is important to the buyer and deliver.
All businesses are in the content marketing business. We have enormous choice. With choice, we need education. If you can set up your systems and provide real value with thought leadership and concrete strategies, you will win fans and buyers. There are no shortcuts. The winners today spend a lot of time connecting and having a direct dialogue with buyers. This process takes shape much earlier and is initiated by the buyer online.
How would these strategies help you grow your business?