Digital marketing has turned sales into an ever confusing landscape. Big brands get it. Smaller organisations are left playing catch up.
If you feel like that, let’s get you caught up with the types of content put into play to grow revenue. You can invest as much or as little as you like into content marketing, but without investing in the right type of content for the right type of customer, at the right time, you won’t get as good a R.O.I as you can when you understand what the content is doing.
First, I will start with the sales jargon you need to know about sales.
It starts with leads.
These are only those who have heard of your brand and showed a little interest in what you have. Initially, they are unqualified. A lead is just a prospect who has only just heard of your business.
In a sales funnel, you need to take your unqualified leads and qualify them as a prospect.
Only a qualified prospect will become a customer.
At each of the three stages, there’s strategic moves you can make using content to influence people and move them through your sales funnel.
You start with the introduction at the brand awareness stage. Provide more content to move unqualified leads into a qualified prospect, and then focus on conversions to increase your customer base.
Stage one is all about lead generation.
Checklists, explainer guides with landing pages solely focused on one issue and business blogging to get people onto an email signup, or even a share of your content across social media to increase your brand awareness.
The first stage to get any return from content marketing is all about getting visibility to your brand. The goal is to grab attention and whenever possible, get each person who views your material to take action that will get your brand in front of them again.
It doesn’t matter if it’s through email, on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, or Youtube. You get people to take an action that will let you get more content in front of them. This is the stage where your blog plays a vital role because that’s your entry point to your sales funnel.
Then you qualify those leads in the second stage.
At this stage in the game, the focus is on separating the wheat from the chaff so to speak because not every lead will become a prospect.
To move people from lead to prospect, the type of content you’re looking to use will be more in-depth. It can include pieces such as white papers, how-to pieces that show or explain how your products are used, and be benefit laden. E-books, webinars and seminars are ideal for this stage in the funnel.
Those then lead on to the third stage, which is where you begin to see increases in your investment.
This is actually the stage where newsletters come in handy. Not at stage one because those leads are still unqualified, although you can segment email lists to help focus your content on where the person is in your sales funnel.
Ideally though, newsletters that are sales orientated such as special offers and buying incentives are best used after someone has been through your sales funnel. Until that time, your focus should be on moving people toward the buy-in stage.
Reviews, testimonials, and case studies are content types that can be harnessed to provide the proof in your offering and get people to the buying stage.
There’s no doubt the entire process can be complex, but the key ingredient is stage one. You will never reach the end goal of increased revenue if you can’t first capture awareness, generate leads, and then persuade people to learn more about your offering and actually buy into it.
It all starts with engaging content to get people interested in hearing more from you. Then continually keeping in communication with those people, through any medium you can to reach them again, and strategically move prospects ever closer to the buying stage, and then you see the returns to your bottom line.
Content marketing is not just for the big boys. It’s what builds revenue and ultimately brands. And it only takes you to go through three stages. Generate the lead, move those leads to prospects, and then persuade those prospects to buy.
Image courtesy of rivaliq.com.