When it comes to content marketing for the sales industry, crafting powerful content that tells a story your audience can relate to is essential. In fact, research found that when people hear empathetic and engaging stories, it actually releases the powerful “trust hormone” Oxytocin within the body, and building trust is one of the most important elements for every successful sale. Use content marketing to convert leads and get sales.
Each piece of content you create should further your company’s story and build your brand, but these goals require smart strategies like utilizing buyer personas, building content around the sales funnel, and always measuring content marketing performance. Sales is a fast-paced world, and your content marketing strategy needs to keep pace if you want your company to be an actual success story.
For sales companies, building buyer personas is not only essential, but can even be a bit fun. Creating buyer personas allows you to understand key demographic data, such as how old your customers are, how much they earn and even what kind of hobbies they enjoy.
Act-On found that creating buyer personas led to a 900 percent increase in how long visitors stayed at a website, an 111 percent increase in e-mail open rates and increased marketing revenue of 171 percent. Despite the success of buyer personas, only 44 percent of B2B companies actually utilize this strategy. Not only can you use buyer personas to give you a sales edge on your competition, but it also serves as a great starting point for brainstorming new content that will appeal to your desired audience and help convert leads.
Every sales team member understands the sales funnel, but all too often sales companies fail to connect the sales funnel with their content marketing strategy. Every buyer is on a journey, and you want to make it a comfortable one.
That means during the initial “awareness” stage, you’re roping in leads with quick but informative content on a landing page or sales copy on a banner ad. During the middle of the funnel, known as the “evaluation stage”, you should be delivering content that goes into detail about the product or service they’re buying, which necessitates content like white papers, e-books and in-depth blogs.
A DemandGen study indicated that 82 percent of B2B buyers looked at five or more pieces of content before making a sale, and 61 percent of those buyers surveyed said they ended up buying from the company that provided the right mix of content to aid them at the right moment in the sales funnel.
Start each week or month with a graphical chart of your sales funnel, and then break down your content into what matches different segments on the sales funnel based on marketing channel, type of content and how it delivers value to that segment. This will ensure an even distribution of content and make your sales team’s job a lot easier
Every sales company is different, and the key to understanding your own is to coordinate your content planning by brainstorming with key internal stakeholders. Designers and development staff can provide technical details that can help you better describe and sell your product through content. Sales team members can share what weakness they have during the sales process and what kind of content might lead to more conversions. Executives can help you understand big picture issues and what direction your content should be going in even a year from now.
As a result, when you’re building your editorial calendar with tools like the WordPress Editorial Calendar, also ensure that you’re penciling in regular meetings with relevant stakeholders. This planning can also help you better understand how much content you can produce in-house and how much will need to be handed off to a third-party like Scripted well in advance.
The key to success in email marketing—which is an essential to convert leads and nurture loyalty from existing customers—is getting personal with your email list.
Research from Aberdeen Group shows that e-mail click-through rates can jump by 14 percent and conversion rates by 10 percent when you craft personalized e-mails instead of standard broadcast e-mails.
For example if a customer browses products on your website or abandons a cart while they’re logged into their account, you could generate an email that reminds them what products they were looking at along with some creative copy that lures your customers back in.
You could also trigger an automatic anniversary email to celebrate the first day a customer signed up for your site, such as what JetBlue did with this email.
No matter what, try to address your customer by name, and remind that you know who they are and why they matter.
It’s a good idea to look at some of the top sales blogs out there to better understand where the sales industry is going as a whole. For B2B sales, blogs like Sales Hacker and the John Barrows Blog help you understand what other businesses want when they’re buying. For B2C, Fresh Sales Strategy and A Sales Guy are both excellent reads. These blogs often provide information on sales trends and strategies that you can either tailor to your company’s own blog or simply use to improve your company’s overall sales strategy to convert leads.
With the advent of CRM software, sales teams can measure a plethora of KPIs to determine what elements of their sales strategy are working to convert leads. However, there should also be segmenting based on what percentage of sales can be wholly or partially attributed to content marketing.
For example, if you see a lot of visitors subscribing to your company after reading a certain blog entry, it’s time to examine what the blog offered, why it delivered value and how you can emulate its success across your content strategy. Use this strategy for all content marketing channels, including social media, to ensure your content marketing team is delivering the results you expect.