If you’re like many large marketing teams, you have tons of social media followers, several email lists, and a well-oiled content operation that pumps out gobs of content across many channels. Comments and likes abound, but that content engagement isn’t converting into leads or sales at the rate you’d like.
You ask, “What’s wrong? How can we turn all this engagement into sales?”
In many cases, there’s an alignment issue. The most common of which is a misalignment between sales and marketing.
Tear Down That Silo, Ms. CMO!
If an American President could convince a tyrant to dismantle a wall that blocked his people’s freedom, you’d think that tearing down interdepartmental walls within a company would be simple by comparison.
In many companies, that’s not the case. Those silos persist.
You might even have a few in your company, contributing to an anemic sales conversion rate. When was the last time you took part in content collaboration with your sales or customer support teams in a content planning session? Tear down those silo walls and drive more sales.
Involve Sales Teams
Your sales force hears a ton of objections out in the field.
“Your product is too hard to understand – it would take a Ph.D. in physics to plug it into our manufacturing process.”
“Just exactly how will your pricey software solution save us time and make us money?”
And so on. When you bring them into the content planning process, content magic can happen.
Instead of pumping out tons of irrelevant blog posts (because you’ve always heard “content is king,” right?), create easy-to-understand FAQ pages, blog posts, ebooks, social media posts, and white papers that address your prospects’ objections specifically and in detail.
A proactive content strategy is an effective strategy because it takes away many of the objections your prospects might have, setting your sales teams up for success.
Bring on the Customer Support and Development Teams
Your ever-patient customer support team, if anyone qualifies for sainthood, it would be them.
But if your content and development teams don’t hear all the kvetching that your support team hears, you can’t:
- Create tutorials and how-to content that helps navigate customers through all the ways to use your product more easily and effectively.
- Alert your development teams to areas where they could improve your products (and of course, when they do, you’ll write content about the upgrade).
Get Your Engineers to the Table
Some of your prospects’ objections might hinge on the nuts and bolts of your product – literally. To market your products to the practical side of your prospects, ask your engineers to explain – as they would to a five-year-old:
- How your product works
- Specifically, how it can save your prospects time and money
So, bring them all to the table – and often.
Ditch the “Spray and Pray” Approach to Social Media
It’s exhilarating to see your likes, followers, and retweets adding up. But if they’re not turning into sales, you might be reaching the wrong audiences.
They might “like” you or even follow you around, but they’re not interested in putting a ring on it. Probably, your posts provide them with useful information, but they don’t need, don’t want, or can’t afford to buy your product.
Dig into your social media and content analytics. Then, compare your audience data to those of your actual customers.
On the Wrong Platforms?
You might find that you’re on the wrong platforms. Maybe you’re a B2B company that would be better off concentrating on LinkedIn for deep dives and Twitter for one-offs.
Or, you’re a crafting products company that posts regularly on Pinterest but is missing out on about half your target market, who prefer Instagram. When you post content on both platforms, you have a good chance to double your reach to actual interested buyers.
At the Wrong Time?
If your company has a global reach, consider posting content that would appeal to your UK customer segment when they’re likely to be on social media, content aimed at your US audience when the data shows they’re more likely to see it, and then Australia-specific content even later.
It’s not a matter of “if you build it, they will come.” You need to go when and where your audience is to reach them.
Engage with Your Audience
Social media – and even your web articles and blog posts – aren’t soliloquies. When someone from your audience takes the time to comment, ask a question, or provide feedback, engage them in a conversation.
Here’s another place where it pays to get out of your content marketing silo and consult subject matter experts, as well as sales and customer service teams, to provide the kind of conversations that drive sales.
Set New Customer Acquisition Goals for Your Content Teams and Measure Progress Often
Content that serves as a “referrer to [a] conversion,” as I’ve pointed out in the past, is something you can easily measure with the right content measurement solution. Whether the converted leads came from your on-site SEO, emails, or content you post on social media or paid ads, the kinds of content that produce fruitful leads are worth studying, duplicating, and rewarding teams for.
Developing a content marketing strategy to drive sales isn’t a matter of producing more content. It’s a matter of producing the right kind of content that yields bottom-line results.
Setting content benchmarks is not only for your sales teams. It pays to give your content teams a target to hit as well.
Personalize Messaging to Bottom-of-the Funnel (BOFU) Prospects
If your teams haven’t created buyer personas for your target market segments, stop in your tracks and create them. When prospects are weighing various solutions to their problem, messaging that speaks to their specific needs can drive them to your brand rather than your competitors.
Learning everything you can about your prospects and then putting a human face on them with a buyer persona can help your content teams visualize the types of content that can convert them into customers.
Emails that address specific problems that your prospects face or questions they might have are especially effective at the decision stage. If you use dynamic content in your emails, you can populate it with each prospect’s data for a more personalized approach.
For B2C prospects, abandoned cart emails, as well as suggested product recommendations to go with previously purchased products can be highly effective at driving sales. Discount popups on pages that they’ve visited several times can also serve as a carrot for them to give your products a try.
Use robust account-based marketing campaigns for your serious B2B prospects as they reach the bottom of the sales funnel. This highly personalized approach gives your teams the opportunity to reach each major decision-maker with information that speaks to their precise interests.
For instance, information about how your products will save money will appeal to your prospect’s CFO, while a highly technical brochure or white paper can show the company’s engineering head how your solution can make your prospect’s manufacturing process more efficient.
Finally, Turn Cold Leads into Sales by Building Trust
First-time visitors or others who have engaged only once or twice with your brand but have never bought anything are often tough sells. Instead of directing them to a sales page from paid search, do as Josip Mlinaric advises.
“Use high-value, problem-solving content to position your company as a helpful authority in your field. Use plenty of statistics to prove your case, but don’t overwhelm them with highly technical language.”
Getting prospects from engagement to a sale takes a coordinated strategy across all channels and all phases of the content production process, from ideation to publication and beyond. With DivvyHQ’s content marketing platform, you’ll have a single hub around which your entire content production process can revolve.
There’s no risk in seeing if it can help your teams move more prospects into the sales column. You can try it for free for 14 days with no obligation. Start your free trial today!