Creating content isn’t just about putting together a Social Media post for engagement, or blog post to drive signups and build your email list.
What’s even more important than the how and the medium is the person who you’re creating this content for.
Each person within your organization has an existing role, with challenges, thoughts and feelings that will define how they do their job, and if it is done effectively and efficiently.
At the same time, you also have different types of customers that are at different stages of their Buying Process. Therefore, they have different thoughts about your brand and the immediate need they may or may not have for what you offer.
Understanding this is understanding how to create an integrated marketing and sales funnel that drives sales and lifetime customers.
To get a better understand of this process let’s walk through the four different groups of people, where they fit in your sales process, and what type of content you need to create for them.
These are individuals who tend to frequent your Social Media pages. They engage with your posts, share them, and enjoy the interaction they have with your brand. However, they are not customers.
Though they like your brand, they have no interest to become your customers (at least not right now).
Does it mean you should ignore this group?
This is the group that has the potential to be your biggest brand advocates and carry your brand far beyond your direct reach and influence.
This is also the group that if you truly connect with them, a few will eventually become customers, but the few that do will be loyal customers for life.
Create content that is focused on engagement. Content that gets them to talk, gets them to think, gets them to dream, gets them excited. Anything that makes them more inclined to participate in a discussion around your area of expertise.
Ensure that the content created is relevant to them.
Ensure that when they do comment that you reciprocate by responding to their comments and questions. This will boost trust and connection in their minds.
You also want to create content that makes them the center of attention and highlights them in some way. Host a competition, Q&A, or giveaway, and don’t just announce their name, but put a face to the name. Spend a bit more time and effort to make their image more graphically appealing in accordance with your brand.
This will stimulate Comments, Likes, and even Shares with other people within their network outside of your reach.
Why this is important is through those Shares they may indirectly point you to someone in their network who actually has a need for what you offer who would be willing to spend with you.
This group are people who has an interest in what you offer, but are on the fence and may need more to help them become customers.
They are fairly easy to spot, as these are the people who will ask you any and every question about what you offer…but that’s a good thing.
It means they have a genuine interest in what you offer, and are simply shopping around for the best vendor.
Though this group can also be your audience, more often they tend not to be.
Creating content focused on answering questions, overcoming objections, or showing social proof from others who have used your product or done business with you is important to them.
This may include testimonials from others in a text with image or video format. Highlight current customers telling their story of why they chose your brand and how it has benefited them.
You can also create content that walks them through your onboarding process, so they know exactly what to expect once they become a customer.
The important thing here is showing the strength of your brand, your competence in your area of expertise, and how you will deliver on your promise.
Unfortunately, organizations tend to leave their existing customers out of the content pool. The problem is once they become customers it’s easy to consider the sale done and neglect them.
However, this group will be your greatest source of revenue growth for your company.
Hence, you have to create content for them also that will help them stick around and become repeat customers, thus increasing their lifetime value.
Create content focused on taking them through a step by step onboarding process. Don’t assume they will know what to do next once they get started, walk them through it.
Furthermore, don’t just create the content in a bulk PDF or online manual and expect them to read it. The best bet is creating an email sequence or video series that takes them through a daily, every other day or weekly process.
You also want to create content that educates them on how to maximize what they purchased (if applicable). If your product/service helps them to do something better, easier, faster, take them through the process of how it does with examples.
Finally, create content and systems that encourages referrals through discounted future purchases. Don’t just try to upsell them, find a way for them to share in the benefit of the purchase and incentivizes them to become repeat customers and refer others.
Your Sales Team
This group doesn’t fall within the realm of an audience or customer, these are the people that drive the revenue growth for your company and keep the lights on.
It’s typical for a company to create sales material such as presentations and brochure geared towards selling.
However, in this day and age of the sophisticated buyer, your sales team needs more than this, they need the type of content that will support their sales efforts. They need content that will start working for them long before they have even entered the first sales meeting.
According to Pardot (a subsidiary of Salesforce) 70% of the customer Buying Process has been completed through research before being contacted by sales. Therefore, with the right content you can help your sales team get 70% of the work done, which significantly reduces customer acquisition costs and shortens the sales cycle.
To create content for your sales team means understanding your customer’s Buying Process. That is the process they go through from being completely unaware you exist to becoming a paying customer.
I go through this using the Buyer Pyramid example in last week’s post.
The basic idea is there are 5 types of customers:
1. Those who are ready to buy now
2. Those who want to buy but are on the fence (potential customer)
3. Those who are interested but doesn’t see as an immediate need
4. Those who don’t know the solution you offer
5. Those who do not want to buy anything from you
Let’s forget about the last group. Let’s also forget about the second group since we spoke about them above.
Group 1 is pretty easy, you already have content for them. This would be your sales presentations, brochures, etc.
Group 3 are those that are leads that you need to nurture. Create content focused on solving an existing problem they have. Note this content has nothing to directly do with selling your product/service. This is content focused on positioning your brand as an expert in your industry by educating them.
Group 4 are those who could have a need for what you offer, but aren’t aware they have a problem that needs to be fixed. You can create content that is also educational that brings awareness to the problem. For your sales team instead of a business card why not have a small flyer that brings awareness to the problem.
It could say “Do you struggle with XYZ? It’s possible that the problem is ABC. If this sounds like you visit [website] to learn more”
This content doesn’t sell, it’s bringing awareness. Done correctly it creates enough curiosity that they may want to call or at least do a Google search to learn more about the company and what it offers.
It’s stimulating their interest and allowing them to self-qualify and enter your funnel, instead of trying to force them in. It creates quality leads that has the highest possibility to convert rather than numbers that fill the funnel but has a low conversion rate.
My Final Thoughts
In today’s very overcrowded digital world you can no longer create content just for the sake of creating content, throwing it out there and hope it does well. You have to be intentional and purposeful about every piece of content, no matter how small and simple it may seem.
Being able to do this means you’ll be able to create the right content for the right group of people at the right time that drives your entire marketing and sales strategy, from top-of-funnel awareness, middle-funnel lead nurturing to bottom-funnel sales.
If you'd like to know more on how to get this done I've put together an email series that walks through how to approach Content Marketing in a way that drives sales.
Fill in your information to get the first lesson sent to you.