Drive More Business! How to Use Content Marketing to Drive Sales
- Alen BubichMarch 13 2015
Customers are savvier than ever – especially when it comes to interacting with businesses online. Potential customers are just as interested in being entertained by your business’s witty marketing girl and her funny yet info-taining (informative and entertaining) blogs as they are about buying your products.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 80% of decision makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus advertisements.
In order to drive sales, content marketing must be at the core of all your marketing initiatives. Without a clear and effective online content strategy, potential customers can get stuck in the labyrinth of the sales cycle and fall through the cracks without making a purchase.
Here’s quick guide on understanding content marketing and using it to drive sales
1. What is Content Marketing?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. This form of marketing allows you to pitch your products or services in a manner that creates a pain-point, educates customers on the topic and provides your product or service as the solution of said pain-point. Essentially, you are delivering information that makes the buyer more intelligent and more likely to purchase from you.
“The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.” – The Content Marketing Institute
Want a crash course in the history of content marketing? Watch this video!
2. The Future of Marketing
Marketing gods such as Seth Godin have been praising content marketing as the future of all marketing – and we would have to agree. As seen in the graph below, there are many different types of content marketing. Which content marketing mix you choose should reflect where and how you interact with customers.
Godin’s most impactful point is that the way businesses and customers interact has completely changed. Now marketing is about connecting with customers, not just spewing advertisements AT them and hoping they make a purchase. In order to be successful in your content marketing strategy, you must first identify whom you are speaking with, determine if they your target audience or buyers and from there create an authentic story.
3. How to Use Content to Drive Sales
According to Business2Community’s Brooke Ballard and the Customer Lifecycle, your Sales Pipeline has 7 Steps:
- Attract Traffic
- Capture Leads
- Nurture Prospects
- Convert Sales
- Deliver & Satisfy
- Upsell Customers
- Get Referrals
The immediate takeaway here is that you can create content to fulfill each of these steps.
Your Content Sales Pipeline
At Social HorsePower, we envision content as the offspring of the Sales Pipeline and Customer Lifecycle. The three types of content (below) are the children holding the Sales Pipeline and Customer Lifecycle together – without which a bloody custody battle would ensue.
This type of content is intended for customers whom have no previous interaction or affiliation with your brand. Your job here is to get your content seen by as many people as possible. Awareness Content includes:
- Social Media
- Your Website
- Visuals (including Infographics)
Once you have captured their interest, you can now move on to the next step – why customers should choose you.
Once a customer has gotten to know your brand and decided to trust you, they are in the consideration phase. This is the step in the process where you want to nurture them.
Nurturing the customer is another way of saying educate them on why/how your product will solve their problem. Early consideration and brand awareness content can often be similar, but after capturing their contact information, you should focus on going deeper with educational content.
Consideration Content includes:
- Customer Success Stories
- Case Studies
- Customer Testimonials
- Other Forms of Social Proof
There are two forms of decision content: Pre-close and Post-close content. Pre-close content falls under decision content as it is critical to closing a sale.
Pre-close Content Includes:
- Product Demonstrations
- Lists of Products with Prices
Post-close Content allows you to fulfill the last few steps in the Customer Lifecycle; Delivery & satisfy, upselling customers and asking for a referral.
Deliver & Satisfy: Are you sending out content to welcome new clients and ensure all their needs are being met? Most importantly, you must thank them for their purchase – everyone likes to be appreciated!
Upsell Customer: Once you know your customer is happy, you can then reach out to them to send them information on your newest products and upgrades.
Referrals: Are you mining your current, happy customers for new blood? You should be!
Wrapping it All Up…
Content marketing is the marketing of the present and future. It will only become more important to interact with customers in new ways as social media and blogging become more and more important in sales and customer lifecycles. Content is the helping hand guiding your would-be customers even when you’re not.
Has your business created a content strategy but are not sure how to start integrating it with your social strategy? Sounds like a job for Social HorsePower! We work with your content strategy and help you to understand what type of content work and which needs to be improved for optimal social media brand exposure.
Request your demo of Social HorsePower and start getting results today!
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