by Justin Gray
Today, the sheer number of choices we have can be overwhelming. Even routine pharmacy trips that used to involve split-second purchase decisions now test your patience and sanity.
Think of the last time you had to buy bandages or cold medicine. It’s bad enough that you’re making these purchase decisions when you’re not at your best — either coughing up a lung or sporting excruciating blisters — but now you have about 100 options to choose from.
Instead of squinting at the fine print on the package, you pull out your phone to do some research.
Oftentimes, the brand that offers the most helpful content will win the sale. Even if your product involves much more planning, research, and cost than waterproof Band-Aids or cold medicine, providing your customer with valuable content during the initial research and planning phase can keep your brand top of mind and boost your bottom line. It may take time, but the brand recognition is worth it.
The Benefits of Content
Content can also help push customers down the sales funnel by:
1. Building trust.
Many websites I see have gated content that requires potential customers to fill out contact forms with their email address, phone number, and blood type just to receive basic information about a product. But hiding content only creates distrust and frustration.
Today’s buyers want to fast-track learning about your product so they can make informed decisions. Why withhold important information? Give content to your customers without expecting anything in return, and they’ll trust you.
2. Generating traffic.
Once a potential customer knows you produce insightful content about a field they’re interested in or passionate about, they’ll keep coming back. Even better, they’ll share your content, which expands your reach and positions you as a knowledgeable leader in your field.
3. Establishing you as a thought leader.
Journalists are always looking for great sources for stories, and other industry professionals are constantly seeking seasoned experts for guest posts. When they’re writing a story with a tight deadline, they need someone smart to fill in the blanks or add depth. That’s where you come in.
When you write great content, journalists, media outlets, PR specialists, and analysts will look to you for industry knowledge and expertise. This positions you as a credible and powerful thought leader in your field and puts your brand in front of customers who were previously unfamiliar with your brand.
How to Get the Most out of Your Content
Content can mean the difference between closing a deal and padding your competitor’s pocket. To maximize your content’s impact on the sales funnel, try incorporating the following strategies:
- Repurpose old content. To make the most of your content, don’t think in terms of one-time campaigns. Content doesn’t have to live on your blog forever just because it started as a blog post. Recycling it in targeted streams such as your email newsletter or social media channels will expand its reach and help you educate potential customers.
- Remember that content takes time. Content is a major investment in your sales funnel. I spend about half of my workweek writing articles, blog posts, and other content assets. I don’t shirk the responsibility and pass it off to an intern because making smart content that benefits a customer is crucial to closing sales.
The opportunity cost of writing instead of doing other tasks means I need to have an enormous ROI in relation to these efforts, and that ROI comes from nurturing the funnel growth.
- Create a “playbook.” A football game can turn into mass chaos if team members don’t know their position or haven’t mapped out specific plays. To keep players — or potential customers — on track, develop a playbook of every possible path a customer could take on your website.
Then plan “if/then” scenarios with your sales team. By establishing content plays, the sales team can know exactly when to send a piece of content via email or another contact channel.
- Role-play. Understanding key customer personas will help your sales team identify important traits and deliver content that best suits their needs. Try to role-play and walk through your website from a buyer’s perspective. We sometimes role-play using recorded calls to determine other ways we could address a situation and brainstorm possible content follow-ups that would benefit each caller.
Content can seem like an uphill battle at times, but keeping your clients in mind when writing will steer you in the right direction. Whenever you’re tempted to put it off because you don’t have time, think back to your time sneezing in the cold-medicine aisle at the pharmacy. Help your customers out! Make the decision obvious by positioning your brand as the perfect solution, and you’ll see enormous ROI for your efforts.
Justin Gray is the CEO and chief marketing evangelist of LeadMD. He founded the company in 2009 with the vision of transforming traditional grassroots marketing efforts through the use of cloud-based marketing solutions.
Je.T. | Courtesy of the Author