According to recent studies, 70% of people would rather learn about a company through articles than an advertisement. 68% report feeling more positive about a brand after consuming content from it.
What’s more, research shows that B2B decision makers tend to engage with at least five pieces of content before they buy. And yet, in spite of all of this, there is still a common perception that content marketing is only about bringing in prospects, rather than generating real, substantive conversions.
While content is a vital tool for inbound marketing, it can also be put to work turning leads into customers – at every step along the buyer’s journey, and in a variety of creative ways.
Here are some ideas for…
Content to Help You Get Your Foot In the Door
In many ways, creative content can serve as the ultimate icebreaker with a potential client. In addition to generating fresh leads, it’s a highly effective way to answer initial questions and spark up that first serious sales conversation with prospective customers or clients.
And, best of all, there are all sorts of content marketing campaigns, big and small, that you can implement to help turn initial interest into a sale. Examples include:
- Generate a personalized email or landing page, including the prospect’s information and details tailored to their industry
- Create a reusable webinar to help underscore a value proposition, address common questions, or guide prospects toward a special deal or opportunity. Options include recording a Loom video, producing a live social broadcast, or setting up a SlideShare presentation.
- Write reusable blog posts and infographics that illustrate how a prospective client can benefit from entering your conversion funnel
- Publish an eBook or white paper that illustrates previous client success stories, breaks down anticipated results, or educates your prospect on the history of a particularly important topic
Content to Help Convert Prospects
As anyone who has worked in sales or accounts management can tell you, there’s always the chance that a great opportunity for your brand can be stopped dead in its tracks. Maybe the prospect disappears, and stops returning your calls or emails. Maybe they offer a firm – but fair – “no.” Or, even more frustratingly, a “not yet.”
To that, we could offer plenty of platitudes about watering seeds and waiting for them to turn into flowers, or talk about how every closed door is another opened window. Yada yada. You’ve heard it all before. But here’s the thing – we know firsthand these long-term content strategies do pay off.
Recently, for instance, the Geek team got a call from a service industry professional that we had previously spoken to some time previously. Though this pro passed when we spoke back then, she connected with us on social media, signed up for our digital newsletter, and regularly visited our blog.
Over time, we got to her – turning that “not quite yet,” into an “I’m ready to go!” We signed a new client, she got started with a revamped website and comprehensive digital marketing, and we both have great, persuasive content to thank!
What can you do to help make sure that your consistent content strategy – including blogging and social media – is primed to help generate conversions?
- Employ user-generated content (such as guest blogs, testimonials, or client-submitted photos or videos)
- Write with a clear, memorable, and appealing voice; always appeal to your reader’s emotions, rather than creating more boring ad copy
- Create a call to action that stands out
- On social media, create a genuine sense of community by responding to questions and feedback, encouraging discussions, holding surveys/events/polls, and engaging in social listening
Content to Make the Pitch (So You Don’t Have To)
Courtesy of Hubspot, here are a few sales statistics worth noting:
- Almost 60% of buyers want to discuss pricing on the first call
- More than half of prospects want to see how the product works on the first call
- Sales personnel who attempt to reach leads within an hour are nearly seven times likelier to have meaningful conversations with decision makers than those who waited sixty minutes or more
Of course, if your inbound marketing is doing its job and bringing in warm leads consistently, that level of follow-up could run you ragged! Having an effective pool of content, able to be customized and automated, can help streamline this outreach process, both in terms of time and level of effort.
Here are a few simple, powerful ideas that may be worth putting into practice:
- Create a “follow-up” video or infographic that offers a product or service demonstration that can be sent immediately after the prospect reaches out
- Set up an ongoing email series (sometimes called a “drip”) to be sent to a prospect in stages, so that they’re always receiving communications from your brand
- Open up a social media chat with a prospect immediately after they connect with your brand
Content to Help Build Lasting Customer Relationships
Getting a new customer is one thing. Keeping your existing customer base is something else entirely – and it’s something that many brands overlook, to their detriment!
For instance, did you know that, on average, it costs 500% more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one? Or that a loyal customer is worth up to 10x as much as the value of their first purchase – without even counting the referrals or brand recognition they can help generate?
Customer retention is an invaluable part of keeping your business thriving and healthy. In addition to old fashioned customer service, one of the most important things you can do keep your existing clients coming back is to create content.
Content marketing campaigns specifically aimed at retention might include:
- Initiate an online reputation management workflow that automatically reaches out to customers at the completion of service, encouraging them to leave a positive review
- Use social media to hold raffles, contests, or create invitations to special events
- Promote your brand with exclusive offers over email
The bottom line? Content isn’t about generating empty clicks or nebulous engagements; it’s about reaching your real prospects, turning them into lifelong customers, and creating significant value for your brand.
Ready to get started? Curious about what it would take to set up an effective, content-based conversion funnel for your brand? Have any questions about the effectiveness of email, social media, or blogging? We’d love to help get you started down the right path! Drop us a line today to get the conversation going!