The average sales funnel has gone through some major changes in the last few years. At the top of the funnel prospects are increasingly able to research solutions without engaging sales people. And in the bottom of the funnel they’re frustrated with the low-value interactions they have with sales teams.
Content Marketing is proving itself as an answer to these challenges. It boosts interest and goodwill among potential prospects in the early stages of their buyer journey. And in the bottom of the funnel it encourages action and helps sales people add value to their conversations.
But simply producing content is not enough. The aim of your content — no matter if it is focused on consumers or business consumers — should be to delight your audience. Delighted prospects want to engage with your company. And they’ll be evangelists for your content — sharing with peers internally and in their social networks.
So, how do you cook up delight? Here are a few of the key components you can bake into your content marketing strategy.
Every day your prospects are bombarded with marketing messages. And they can only process so much. They are vastly more likely to be open to your message if they receive it when they’re thinking about you or your solution area. InsideSales.com is the master of this approach. Their data shows “the odds of contacting a lead are 100 times greater when contacted within 5 minutes after the lead was submitted”.
You can extrapolate from that data point to other occurrences of timeliness. Like texting a coupon when a customer checks in near your location. Or emailing follow-up content as a prospect is watching one of your videos. Connecting with someone when they’re thinking of you is much more likely to trigger delight.
Because your prospects are hit with so many messages, you have to make your outreach count. Ask whether the content that is supplied matches their demographics. So, is your detailed technical white paper being delivered to a Chief Revenue Officer who doesn’t have time to parse your content? When content speaks to the personae it targets, it will be more likely to generate action.
Relevance is not only a factor of demographics. Increasingly, companies like Marketo, Hubspot, Pardot, and other marketing automation tools preach the importance of behavioral triggers. That is, understanding the needs of prospects based on their actions. So, if a prospect visits your trial page repeatedly but doesn’t complete it, maybe a piece of content that describes the simplicity of the trial process would be most relevant.
Look at your existing content and understand which persona and which actions it speaks to. Then, make it an essential part of any content planning exercise going forward.
Stop the fluff! Some vendors see Content Marketing as merely an opportunity to churn out word counts. But people aren’t delighted with articles that leave them with no more insight and less free time. Understand the depth of information your audience is likely to want to consume, and produce helpful materials that speak at that level.
Klipfolio, a leading analytics dashboarding company, recognized that many of its potential users were also heavy users of Salesforce.com. So, they put together excellent tutorials on how to efficiently query using Salesforce.com’s query language. Highly relevant material for anyone searching on the topic.
Infographics are everywhere. They are fantastic ways to summarize data and present it in an interesting fashion. But if we’re honest with ourselves, they are increasingly background noise. Innovators are deconstructing the infographic to understand what made it useful in the first place — a fun way to consume data — and rebuilding new styles of infographics in their place. These may be with video, animated gifs, or other.
In that spirit, try mixing up the media you use. Experiment (and measure) the use of video, micro-webinars, and other content to see what engages your prospects.
In a sea of “Best Practices” and “Technical White Papers” it is hard to capture anyone’s attention. But surprise is your secret weapon. When something you do break’s a pattern in a prospect’s mind, delight is not far behind. Think of recent movie marketing campaigns that record elaborate pranks and are distributed as short viral-friendly videos.
Look at how your prospects typically consume information. Understand how your competitors communicate their messages, and look for patterns. Does everyone rely on white papers? It doesn’t necessarily mean abandon white papers. But it does mean look how you can break the pattern. Maybe white paper digests? Video summaries for white papers?
Delighted prospects are prospects that want to move forward with you on the buyer journey. So, start your own progress toward