Content not only is an invaluable pillar of marketing, it’s also a pretty handy when it comes to the sales process – particularly when it comes to nurturing leads. As your team refines it’s lead nurturing process and masters it’s content utilization, determining what content was responsible for converting leads into customers can help you build an easily repeatable sales process. Here’s how to refine your content to bolster your lead nurture process.
First, make sure your content is relevant
Content should be incorporated in every step of the nurturing process. The first thing you should do is make sure you’re making the right content for the right time in a lead’s customer journey.
Stage 1: Awareness
The awareness stage is about getting your brand in front of your lead and educating them to see if your product or service is something that they need. Types of content that you will have in this stage can include:
- How-to blogs (and other high-value blogs)
- Educational webinars
- Engagement on social channels
- Tip sheets
Often, it’s a combination of various types of content that bring inquiring minds to the next stage. Learning what forms of content were the most convincing will show you what aspects of your awareness content will need refining for future campaigns.
Stage 2: Evaluation
The evaluation stage gives your company the chance to prove to potential customers why your product or service is the best one to fulfill their need. Content for this stage can include:
- Case studies
- Product webinars
- Data sheets
As with the awareness stage, various combinations of this content could bring leads to the next stage. If more content about the value offered is required, that’s important to consider for future accounts.
Stage 3: Purchase
The purchase stage is where the leads themselves decide whether or not to go through with the sale. When they have reached this stage, the content you have provided has educated and convinced them not only that your product can solve their problem but also that it’s probably the best product to solve their problem. When it’s time to push the sale over the finish line, try using content to help execute any of the following closing tactics:
- Free trials
- Coupons and other discounts
If you get the sale, you can have confidence your content has helped guide that lead’s decision to become a customer. However, there is always room for improvement.
Analyze the success of your previous campaigns
When measuring the success of your campaign, keep content in mind. Meet with your sales team and figure out what content they used and what materials they didn’t. For the material they used, determine if there are ways that it can be used better and what aspects of it their leads enjoyed more than others. If a white paper that was supposed to prove why your product is superior to your competitors went ignored, iterate to find out why. Maybe a few more visuals or interactive content could better grab your reader’s attention.
For content that they didn’t use, determine if there are relevant aspects of it that can be written in a different perspective. For example, you typically, you won’t just have one buyer’s persona. People and businesses could be using your product or service for a variety of reasons, and you need to have content crafted to meet the needs of your customers.
You may need different versions of similar content to mesh with alternative perspectives. After a campaign, you may learn that you are lacking content for a demographic which could result in a cold lead.
Determine your customer’s specific path to conversion
When people visit your website, determine what content was looked at (and for how long). If you offered a free e-book or guide, how many of those were downloaded? How many leads progressed to the next stage of the funnel, and what percentage of them needed more information before continuing their buyer’s journey? These are just a few of the hundreds of questions that web analytics can answer for you.
Some software can show you the activity history of leads that viewed the content on your website. Analyzing this can allow for you to map out common paths that customers went down on their buyer’s journey. Here’s an example:
Jan discovered your toolkit by searching the web and coming across an article on your blog. Intrigued, Jan answered your CTA and downloaded an expert guide what every modern toolbox needs to have. Two days later, Jan read through your products and testimonials pages and subscribed to receive updates via email. A week later, Jan received an email link to a landing page that offered a 20% discount code and knew that it was an offer that she couldn’t refuse. That afternoon, Jan became a customer.
Discovering paths like these shows you want types of content drew people in, and also what content needs to be refined so that other leads will take different avenues to end up a customer. Analyzing a buyer’s journey to find the most efficient paths to conversion allows you to see which paths were the most successful, the shortest, and the most profitable. All of this is relevant information when your team is refining your lead nurturing process.
Survey your customers
Another way to determine what content helped customers along their buyer’s journeys is by asking the customers themselves. Surveying customers about the content they encountered in the funnel will give you relevant feedback about what drove them to the sale and which parts they found uninteresting or ignored entirely. This information could also determine if the content was deployed at appropriate times.
You can ask these questions after closing a sale or while they are leads that need nurturing. This allows you to make tweaks on your content as you need to make it. It could also help you understand the frequency at which content should be distributed. Overwhelming a lead with information could drive them from the sale while engaging infrequently could make them forget you had a solution at all.
Understanding what content buyers interacted with, how they found it appropriate for them, and whether or not it persuaded them to proceed down the marketing funnel will reveal if you’re taking a step in the right direction. This knowledge helps you build a repeatable lead nurturing process that you can refine and maximize your potential sales.