How to Use Content Marketing & Sky Rocket Sales without “Selling”

Content Marketing Trends 2014
Don’t sell. Educate. Content marketing can seem like a confusing maze. When you break it down in terms of a sales funnel, you are able to become a master at turning leads into sales through a strategic and targeted process of lead conversions.

A tactical content marketer knows that to be successful, each stage of the sales funnel must be addressed. You also need to think strategically about where and how this content will be distributed.

Best Ways to Achieve a Prosperous Sales Funnel

  • Write relevant, consistent and quality content that puts the focus on the user’s wants and needs, while offering solutions to their specific pains.
  • Explain and highlight the differentiating factors that make your business “remarkable”. This increases the chances your content will generate leads.
  • Write powerful content that establishes awareness of your product or service.

The Four Sales Funnel Steps

#1. Capture Leads

The top of your funnel is the first contact users have with your brand. In many cases, this first touch-point is usually via social media, an infographic, a video, or a blog. For others, it may be customer referrals or review sites like Yelp.

#2. Nurture Leads/ Become an Authoritative Thought Leader

The middle of your funnel is where buyers have already given you their contact info and expressed interest in your product or service.

Lead nurturing content includes any content that delivers targeted, educational info such as:

  • Whitepapers
  • Videos
  • Webinars
  • Podcasts
  • Blog posts
  • Email marketing
  • eBooks
  • Other content designed to provide deeper education for your prospective customers and remind them that you’re there.

Develop Educational and Targeted Content

At this stage of the buying process, you specifically want content that is educational and targeted. You want information that helps people overcome their challenges/pain points with content tailored to their needs.

Build Authority and Trust

This is a great time to build up your authority and gain customer trust. When you are a thought leader in the marketplace, you gain the public’s trust on a specific topic. This is a targeted marketing approach. Instead of casting a wide net, you are delivering a directed one to people who are already interested in your product and/or service. The more pertinent content you pump out, the more authority you build.

Include Calls to Action

  • The No-Risk Offer: A call-to-action in place for customers to provide their contact information.
  • The Low-Risk Offer: A call-to-action for customers to download a free eBook, whitepaper, or sit in on a free webinar.

#3. .Close/Gain Trust

The bottom of your funnel is some of the last contact your users have with your brand before they buy.

Buyers are making purchases later in the sales cycle. When they finally reach the sales department, they are educated and armed with questions.

Ideas to help you close the sale

The content in this stage of the funnel needs to be very personal such as phone conversations, emails, and content selected for this specific prospect.

Send email blasts to those who gave contact information to build trust and authority. These emails should include any or all of these content marketing collaterals. Any of these can help finalize the sale:

  • Free trials
  • Product demonstrations
  • Special offers and coupons
  • Product guarantees
  • Privacy statements

#4. Get Repeat Business

The post-sale. This is where many companies stop their efforts. However, it’s a great opportunity to create future sales, testimonials and positive reviews, and brand advocates.

You can include any of these in your post-sale content:

  • Further content marketing pieces (blog posts, eBooks, etc.) that meet the known needs of your audience.
  • Follow up emails from account managers or customer service.
  • Content that requests feedback via poll or survey.
  • Social media and referrals. Both are powerful ways to thank existing customers and garner new leads.

By properly leveraging content marketing and lead nurturing, a company’s sales funnel will widen and the prospects’ journey through it will be accelerated. The sales funnel is the new way of inbound marketing to turn targeted prospects into leads; leads into customers; and customers into repeat buyers. A well-crafted sales funnel can help you convert a much higher percentage. The key to success is nurturing your prospects by delivering value with every piece of content.

Your Turn

What do you think? Have you used the sales funnel in your content efforts? Were you happy with the results? Please share with us in the comments, below. Thanks

Comments

  1. says

    This was an excellent article! Capturing leads is extremely exciting, but often times, people forget to nurture them and they quickly become unqualified! Great article, Alex! Keep it up! :)
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  2. Alexander Gross says

    Thanks for the kind words Josh! Yes the nurture phase is a vital part of the sales funnel.

  3. says

    Alex, love the way you broke them down and the kind of content you can share in each of the sales process.

    I will call it a wonderful checklist that helps remind one to keep in line.

    Thanks for sharing. Just to be sure, can conversation with a customer be called content?

    • Alexander Gross says

      Thanks for the feedback Peter! Conversation with a customer would be more in the lead nurturing realm. Content is primarily what’s on the page. Hope that helps.