The success of small business content marketing comes from managing the flow of leads to a point of conversion.
In parts 1 and 2 I shared information about how to create compelling content and how to get it into the hands of those that are meant to consume it. Oftentimes, with these items ticked off the list, small businesses sit back and move on to something else. The hard work is done, BUT, to maximize results and the impact you will have, ensure you are managing the flow of leads.
Because, typically a percentage of those who consume your content will not be ready to buy straight away. They may not have adequate trust in you and/or your offer, they may not feel they have a great enough need or, plain and simply, they have other ‘things’ they want to invest in.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
The good news is (yes, let’s focus on the positives!), that you have an opportunity to nurture a large percentage of these potential customers. Let us look at the optimal ways to manage the flow of leads.
Small Business Content Marketing – Managing The Flow of Leads
Back when I was an employee, I took my first steps into content marketing. At the time, I was a ‘lone wolf’. The front line sales guy for a relatively new business unit and part of my approach was to ensure I was rigorous in how I kept in touch with prospective clients. The sales cycle was long (sound familiar?), the process was arduous due to the educating prospects on the new technology we were bringing to market and, as such, the list of prospects I needed to keep in touch with grew exponentially. It grew to a volume that became difficult to manage.
The result was regular email updates to manage the flow of leads and support my personal direct outreach and follow up. It worked, like a charm, and prolonged the need to hire additional staff. (Yay!)
For this component of small business content marketing to deliver opportunities for conversion, focus on engagement. Engage the people who have afforded you an opportunity through adding value AND interaction that is not sales orientated.
Not sales orientated? Yes.
Remember, this is an information society where we are all subject to thousands of messages daily and people wanting both our time and money. Relationships are key and the people, the businesses, that offer the most value and stay front of mind are those that will be afforded the opportunity of a sales conversation (or other conversion opportunity) at the appropriate time.
A few resources that can help you in the management process are:
- An email management tool – such as AWeber, Mailchimp or Constant Contact. These tools will help you throughout the content marketing process from attraction to conversion and will be the platform from where you can add value.
- A CRM – Yes, I very much say that it is optimal to have a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) working in conjunction with an email management tool. Why? Because there will be prospects that you will engage with and you will want to keep track of the personal interactions needed to help move along the sales process. I recommend using, Salesforce.com, Zoho or Highrise.
- A Virtual Assistant – If you need an extra pair of hands to help you in content creation and other areas a virtual assistant is an excellent resource. My friend Suzie runs Ace Concierge in the US or perhaps you may be interested in look into overseas assistance.
With the tools and resources you are perfectly positioned to nurture and engage your prospects. The question remains, how do we effectively engage people?
Small Business Content Marketing – How to Engage Prospects
With the emphasis being on adding value, there are many ways to engage prospects until they are ready to take the next step. Three ways to engage prospects are:
- Mix It Up – This process all started with a piece of content. A compelling material that you created. Perhaps you have other materials (remember the types of materials I mentioned in part 1)? If you can share other materials that further demonstrate your knowledge, passion and skills while adding value then share them periodically with your prospects. They will eat it up!
- Ask Questions – This is one of the most overlooked opportunities of engagement and it offers an opportunity for personal interaction. Ask questions related to the content OR other areas of work/life that you can help them in. I like to say that talking with someone is more effective than talking at someone.
- Invite Participation – If you are active in an online (or other) forum, group etc. invite people to participate. How do you think people would react if you were the person that introduced them to somewhere they could get help and/or meet prospective clients? They would love you!
That’s everything for this series.
In summary, if you approach content marketing as a mechanism to support your other activity AND you seek to help others before helping yourself, you will see results.
If you want to learn more about small business content marketing, I created a feature length training video covering all the areas mentioned in this series, and more. You can get instant access to this video here
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Great post. There are so many benefits to using a professional Virtual Assistant service for your content. You can expect reliability, efficiency and quality, and know that you have an excellent team behind everything. You’re also matched to the best virtual assistant for you, saving you time and effort in your search, as well as having access to other VA’s with additional skills should you need them for any ad-hoc projects. Thanks for sharing!