I fear I’m starting to sound like a broken record on this point…
You should never create content for content’s sake. Content has to be created for a purpose if it’s to deliver any value to your business.
So let’s start by considering how content can support your sales efforts…
The following diagram shows the different stages a prospect goes through as they transition down your sales funnel. And then maps the different types of content you should be considering to support your business development efforts:
Too many people propose on the first date
A common mistake I see, is organisations expecting the prospect to make a huge commitment too quickly, by publishing a call-to-action like, “Book a demo”.
Wow! That’s scary. Two seconds ago I’d never heard of you and now you want me to book a demo where I have to actually talk to someone and agree to be sold to, and then know I’ll be chased until I sign on that dotted line.
Think about it…
Would you book a demo or contact a company based on a single blog? Probably not.
You need to take the prospect on a journey, creating:
By taking them on this journey you’re building their trust, making them feel safe, communicating why you’re better than everyone else…and ultimately leave them feeling like they have no option but to engage with you.
But you have to start at the beginning…
Content for lead generation
At the beginning of the funnel you need to pique people’s interest. I’ve heard some companies refer to it as ‘clickbait’, but essentially you want to get people to notice you and want to find out more.
Blogging is really effective because you can make it rich in keywords and phrases, which means that if/when people are searching online, you’ll be found.
Thought leadership articles allow you to stand out, particularly if you’re prepared to stick your neck out and be a bit controversial.
PR acts a bit like a third-party endorsement – if the editor of the publication thought you were good enough to be included, you must have something interesting/useful to say.
Pay-per-click can be hit and miss, but done well, it can provide a steady stream of traffic/leads to your website.
Content for MQLs
Down in the next stage of the funnel, you have people’s attention. Now you have to start engaging them on a deeper level – showing them why you really understand them and have the ability to solve their problems.
Case studies are an incredible way to tell your story through your client’s words. It’s a third-party endorsement of your sheer amazing-ness.
Guides / white papers / ebooks / brochures are all similar types of content, where you’re performing more of a ‘deep dive’ on a particular subject, showcasing your knowledge and expertise.
Infographics are a wonderful asset, packed full of useful/interesting content in a simple and succinct way. Plus, it’s the perfect asset to write a range of content around.
And finally, research reports position you as a real thought leader, uncovering the real extent of a particular issue in the industry.
Content for SQLs
You’re getting close…
You’ve captured their attention, and they’re close to making contact. But they still have questions/concerns – they’re sitting on the fence and you need to tip them over the edge, showing them why you’re the perfect partner to help with their project.
Guidance content works really well here. A range of articles that overcome common challenges, answering all the important questions honestly and overcoming any last-minute fears.
And product one-pagers that provide a last-minute pitch, complete with your value proposition, key differentiators, and evidence that it really does deliver benefits.
Content for clients
Finally, you’ve got them. Now and only now can you ask them to ‘Book a demo’ and stand a good chance of getting them signing up.
Here, it’s good to try a range of marketing tactics – everything from face-to-face events, to online webinars, personal demos to trials they can do alone, calculators to help them build a business case around ROI, or even the traditional sales meeting.
Try it all and see what works best for your business.
Need some help?
If you’re looking for a copywriter that can help you create simple, clear, engaging content for all stages of your sales funnel, why not see if I’m the right fit for you.