You have excellent products & services with plenty of satisfied customers, but you’re still not seeing the revenue growth that you know is possible in your industry.
You wonder if your marketing efforts are generating the right kind of leads for your sales team or whether they can capture enough of them to reach or exceed your revenue goals. It seems that what worked for you 5 to 10 years ago doesn’t seem to be doing the job any longer.
Have you ever evaluated or benchmarked your company’s ability to generate qualified sales leads and compared it to today’s best practices for content marketing?
Content marketing is used to generate leads. The tangible value of content marketing lies in its ability to bring business owners an increase in the quantity and quality of their sales leads. And of course, more and better leads can increase and improve your sales results.
Don’t Create Content Before These 3 Practices
In order for your content marketing to produce leads that actually close sales, there are three important practices that should be followed BEFORE creating content:
1. Set a sales goal
If you know only that you want “more” sales, and heard that content marketing is a good way to get you there, you’ll just be tossing darts in a dark room. Instead, take time to set a sales goal.
- Consider where your business ranks in the marketplace.
- How do you compare to your competitors?
- How much more revenue would you like to generate?
- What kind of customer do you like working with the most?
Asking questions like these will navigate how aggressive your content marketing should be. The answers will help when you measure the effectiveness of your content strategy so that you can better refine it to align with your goal.
2. Develop a buyer persona
Next, you need to refine your target audience. Make sure your target audience includes the business level decision maker (e.g., the CEO, president, or business owner). Other decision makers include end users and procurement. However, the one who has the final say is the one you should target with your content.
Develop a buyer persona based on this individual. This can be challenging because you may have a diverse range of buyers. But that’s why you set a sales goal. You know the type of customer you want. You want the buyer who brings in the right amount of business and workload for you to manage. Identify this person. Write out this buyer’s personal characteristics – such as gender, age, job title, family status, socioeconomic status, location, hobbies, interests, etc. Although, the most important aspect of your buyer persona should include his/her:
- Problems related to the survival of his business
- Opportunities related to the survival of her business
This persona description should be as pinpoint focused as possible and should continue to get sharper as content strategy is developed.
3. Create a business case
Once you know who you’re talking to, every single piece of content you produce must address how to solve a problem or win an opportunity related to the survival of their business. You address this by creating a concise business case.
No matter what kind of products or services you provide to your customer, the number one thing your content should convey is the commercial benefit they can expect.
You should be able to present the survival benefit of your business case in one sentence. Surprising, right? This quick, to-the-point conversation will determine if you are speaking to a true potential buyer who is ready to talk feasibility.
Your business case should be prevalent in all of your content if you want to produce qualified leads.
Base Content Marketing on a Keyword Strategy
After you have a goal, target persona, and a business case, you’re ready to create lead-generating content. But this begs the question: how will your lead-generating content be found by prospects? The answer is: keyword strategy.
A keyword strategy is extremely important because Google searches are responsible for 80% of the traffic generated on the internet. In other words, writing content that includes keywords and key phrases that your buyer personas are searching for is how they will find your lead-generating content.
When you bring keyword research into your content development, you can improve SEO on your website so that your business shows up under specific search results. This way, you have a much higher likelihood of converting qualified prospects into leads.
Integrate Marketing with Sales
The next and most important step of successful content marketing is to integrate your marketing efforts with sales. While content marketing is able to increase the quality and quantity of sales leads, your sales team must be properly integrated with this process or you risk losing those leads or at least delaying the closing process.
So how do you combine these two extremely important teams? Below is our Marketing-Sales Cycle which illustrates the combined sales and marketing process.
Measure Effectiveness, Refine Strategy
The final way to ensure that content marketing improves leads is by measuring the results. Look to your marketing team to report the amount of traffic that was generated by the content. Then look to your sales team to determine if those leads were of high quality. If both teams are properly integrated, the end result is an increase in sales.
If sales aren’t increasing, then retrace the marketing and sales cycle to locate the problem. Are there not enough leads? Are they the wrong leads? Or is your sales team having trouble closing even the high-quality leads? Once you know the broken link, you can start the cycle over with better data to refine your strategy.
If you’d like to learn more about how to integrate content marketing with your sales strategy, feel free to contact Joe Crestuk, President, Owner.