The new sales funnel is different from the traditional funnel. Consumers are now largely relying on social media and the Internet to make buying choices. 80% of customers expect businesses to be active on social media. Only 14% of people now trust ads and 77% of online shoppers consult ratings and reviews before making purchase decisions.
Educate First, Sell Later
Content marketing is designed to educate your market and build a relationship with them that will eventually convert to sales. It’s not a silver bullet or a short term marketing fix, but it is the key to the new sales funnel.
The new sales funnel starts with building awareness and creating interest in your brand among your clearly defined target market. Conversion is then achieved through landing pages on your website where you offer an incentive in exchange for contact information to build your database of email leads. Target your new leads using multiple avenues until your lead becomes a customer. Then, in the new sales funnel, the process continues with nurturing your customer relationships to build loyalty and word of mouth.
Always Start with Where You Want To Go
Defining your sales and marketing goals is the most important step before you begin any marketing activities, including your content creation.
Specifically, what do you want to achieve? How many sales do you want to make? Who are you targeting?
Think of your goals like a GPS navigation system. Define where you are now and where you want to go. Once you know where you’re going, you can create a plan to get there. If you don’t know where you’re trying to go, no one can help you.
Clearly Envisage Your Target Audience
Creating your content strategy involves getting really clear about who your target market is. Write down a list of your ideal customer’s specific characteristics to represent your target audience. Include demographic information like gender, age, geographic location and income or professional status.
You can also develop a persona for your ideal customer with details such as: What does their typical day look like? What challenges them? What needs do they have? What do they care about? How do they prefer to access information? There are many ways you can find out this information. Even though it may take some effort, this will bring big rewards.
Content Marketing Institute has more tips on how to create easy, yet actionable, content marketing personas.
Build A Relationship With Your Market
When you know your sales and marketing goals and exactly who you are targeting, you can start building a database of prospects to build an ongoing relationship with using your content. Over time, you can convert those prospects to customers with your content marketing.
If you want people to connect with your brand, you need content that engages them. Now that the traditional broadcast communications model of ‘interrupt and repeat’ is no longer effective, engaging your audience and leveraging their contributions is an important way to gain a competitive advantage.
“Content is anything that adds value to the reader’s life.” – Avinash Kaushik
These are just some of the forms of content you can use to market your business:
- social media posts
- media releases
- surveys and quizzes
- user generated content
Next post, I’ll reveal why email is central to content marketing… and that’s a topic very close to my heart. It will be my 3rd tip… After I’ve posted my top 7 tips, I’ll be offering you my free eBook “7 Keys to Clever Content Creation”.
Tell me if you’d like to be one of the first to receive it?