Of course, you know that content is a great way to express your brand. That’s why this article is NOT about that! Instead, let's focus on how to make content work for your demand generation - as a way to generate leads and increase revenue for your business.
Think about the best salesman you’ve met.
I’m willing to bet he would have talked very little about his brand, but a lot more about your problem. He would have been available whenever you needed a chat, or a solution, or an answer to a query. Useful, trustworthy, helpful, empathizing and understanding.
And that is what your content could do for you: be your best salesman.
Content As Your Sales Resource
Wouldn’t it be great if, instead of hunting down your buyers, you could swoop in and answer their questions right while they’re making a purchasing decision?
At Inception, the digital marketing road map for a brand, particularly B2B businesses, is charted in such a way that it effectively satiates the information hunger of prospects in their journey to becoming a customer. If your business is already generating content but not seeing results, ask the following questions to evaluate how close (or far) you are from making your content your best salesman:
- Is your content going to be useful to your prospect in solving their problems, or answering their questions, and thus in helping them make their decision?
- Is it content that simply talks about the features and benefits of what you are selling?
No points for guessing which of the two will be more effective!
Here are a few questions that you must consider while crafting remarkable content:
- Who Makes The Decision To Purchase Your Product?
B2B businesses and products typically have more decision makers who assist or influence the person that cuts the cheque. Hence, many B2B businesses aren’t really sure who they are creating content for.
- Who is the primary decision maker for the purchase of your product/service?
- What are the problems, solutions, and information they’ll likely be looking for?
- Who are the secondary decision makers, or decision influencers, involved?
- What is the additional information you can provide that will nudge them towards the ‘purchase’ decision?
Your content must be relevant to all these decision makers. To this end, it is important that you clearly define and differentiate between the target audiences of your content.
- How Does Your Buyer's Decision Journey Progress?
Which would you find easier to sell: A broadband modem for the home or IT services for the business?
Obviously the former, and here’s why. With the home modem, your prospect’s journey before taking a decision - research and information evaluation - is much shorter. But when it comes to procuring IT services for a business, the prospect goes through a longer journey involving more research, more influencer.
This is true of most B2B businesses.
A prospect goes through different stages of a ‘sales funnel’ that leads up to the purchase. This includes looking at your website for the first time, then subscribing to your email list and reading your emails over a period of time. Only after this do they start talking to sales associates and figuring out whether to buy from you.
As marketers, we focus on creating the right content that engages with the prospect at various stages of the journey, and fuels them through the funnel towards a purchase.
Broadly speaking, the sales funnel has three stages:
- Top of the Funnel: The "awareness" stage, where the prospect is looking for answers, resources, education, research data, opinions, and insight.
- Middle of the Funnel: The "evaluation" stage, where people are doing detailed research on whether or not your product or service is a good fit for them.
- Bottom of the Funnel: The "purchase" stage, where people are figuring out exactly what it would take to become a customer.
Factors such as the industry, business model, product, pricing, and audience determine the unique shape of every company’s sales funnel. Understanding your unique funnel and shaping the content to be relevant to your prospects is crucial for any brand.
- Is Your Content Too Salesy?
A lot of B2B businesses have this question: “Shouldn’t my content be selling my stuff to my target customers?”
Well, yes and no!
While the ultimate aim of great content is to generate purchases, not every piece of content needs to be “salesy”. Any content that helps your target audience understand your company, and build a trust that you can indeed solve their problems, serves the purpose of moving them along the buyer’s journey.
- “I’ve Created A Lot Of Content For Different Target Audiences. Why Is My Content Still Not Converting To Sales?”
“Creating great content, ‘tis but the first step, young Frodo.”
- Gandalf, when he dabbled in Content Marketing
Now that you have created some remarkable content, you need to make sure your target audience finds your content, engages with it, and are primed to move further along the sales funnel.
Optimized keywords on your website and content that your prospects will be searching for, and distributing the content through appropriate online channels, will ensure that the right prospects find your content when they are looking for it.
A salesman always exchanges visiting cards in order to stay in touch. In much the same way, couple every piece of content with an irresistible offer for your prospects, in exchange for which you can get their contact details.
These are collected through a form on the website. Based on this, your prospects are added to an email program. Relevant emailers are sent to the prospect, who was clearly interested enough to download some information about your brand. This way, a constant yet relevant communication channel is set up. This nurtures them further down the decision journey, closer and closer to a purchase.
Convinced that content is your best salesman? You should be!
How has your experience been with creating content for your business, and refining this content to help sales? Tell us here, or drop a message to firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss this further.
Psst...You may also want to download our Top 20 Lead Gen Tips for B2B Businesses that use digital/online media to generate leads.