Content marketing is like the Swiss army knife of marketing. It fits into a little bit of everything you do in sales and marketing. It would even be fair to say, that done right, content marketing can be the linchpin of your sales and marketing. Content marketing conversion is what you need to get more sales.
But the most important problem every marketer needs to solve is how to feed the sales funnel and convert more leads into sales. These are, essentially, the most critical problems which every business, big or small, wants to address.
Content marketing can be a nifty and creative tool to convert more leads. Unlike other types of marketing, content marketing fits into all the different stages of a sales or dedicated content marketing funnel: from top of the funnel to the bottom. When content marketing is to be used to assist in more conversions, it is the bottom of the funnel that needs more work, rather than top or middle.
As such, the content marketing strategy needs a deliberate focus on the bottom of the funnel when you have a solid top of the funnel in place but want to convert your leads. The most common mistake made by marketers is not knowing which part of the funnel to work on using content marketing. Focusing on the right part of the sales funnel can solve half the problem.
The methods and techniques to use to get conversions will vary drastically based on whether you are a brick and mortar business to B2C to SAAS. But there are certain methods that can be applied, with some modification, to most types of businesses, to use content marketing for conversions.
Many of these methods may be used, in some other form, by marketers already. But when made a part of content marketing, the emphasis must always be on content. Too often marketers end up making their content overly “salesy” and the leads drop off. Good content can make all the difference to any marketing pitch.
Although content marketing and sales work in nearly contradictory ways, when it comes to using content marketing for sales, a delicate balance, without compromise on the quality of content, is essential.
These are some of the ways in which you can redesign your content marketing strategy to meet your sales goals. This not a comprehensive list, but it does show how you can use content marketing in combination with sales.
1. Highlight the Uniqueness of Your Product Through Your Content
Use your content to answer one of the most crucial sales questions a customer typically has: “Why your product?” Be it a blog post, or an email blast, make sure you highlight what is unique about your product, beyond its price tag.
Are you an organic tea outlet? Do you work with farmers and support impoverished families in Nepal? Mention that and add some images as well. Does your software help someone with managing their paperwork? Does it work on a plug-and-play principle, and sync with all other apps? Highlight that.
Make sure to study your market segment, all your competitors’ products/services, and highlight exactly why you are the best or the best suited for your target audience. Then use a story to tell people why they should use you. Don’t try to push the sell button after every 2 lines. Add it as a CTA, but make sure your content sounds like content, not sales copy.
Content need not be just written. This is something often forgotten by marketing managers. Content could be a candid video aligned with your video content strategy, an infographic, or even just a few blurbs with an image gallery. But it needs to tell a story.
Make sure that your content tells your story.
That is exactly how content marketing is drastically different from a sales pitch. At the heart of content is a great story which can trigger a positive emotion in someone. That emotion is what makes the sale.
2. Send Emails that Announce New Features or Products
The most interesting emails (to serious customers) are those which tell you what else you can get for your money. If you have leads which have not engaged much with you in the past or have not bought anything new of late, warming them up with interesting emails about your new features may be exactly what you need.
The typical email that most marketers send are the “we miss you” emails. That is great, but it often doesn’t work because you don’t solve the customer’s main issue: they did not like what you offered and are unlikely to buy it now. Emails with fresh content, especially about any new offering is the way to tackle this deadlock.
Once again, as with all things marketing, the content should not be overly “salesy” but should give a drill down of what is different or new in a product (or feature) and what is the value add it will do to a buyer. Help your potential buyer visualize in what way this new offering can change the way they live, eat, work, etc.
3. Live Chat to Promote Relevant Content
Live chats are more than just “May I help you?” boxes that pop up on your website. Live chats can be used to help your potential customer come to a decision about what they want to buy.
To address this problem, compile the type of questions your site visitors typically ask on live chat before they make a purchase from you. Get your content team to crank out short content pieces that answer their questions. Add in additional information or descriptions/ GIFs/ videos to tip the scales over in your favour.
This is far more helpful than a bored customer service representative replying to a site visitor. Moreover, this documentation can also help with SEO and improve your site rankings. It can serve many purposes and converting potential buyers into buyers is one of them.
Also consider using short infographics (read our post on how to use infographics if you need more guidance here). Use cases, or comparison tables (comparing your product offering with that of your competitors). These are easy to do content pieces which work well in making the sale. You will not need to be overly salesy in your content format or wording, because by its very nature, the content piece is created for closing a sale.
4. Live video: Talk about Your Offering
Live video is an increasingly popular video format that can be used for almost any purpose required. It could be exactly what you need to help your users, leads, potential buyers and repeat buyers understand, in a one-to-one way, why they should buy from you. The biggest advantage of a live video is that it shows real people at work, answering real questions of real people.
Pre-fix the topic and length of your live video session, and keep the theme focused on using your product. Allow enough time to post the live session details on social media so people can join on time. But the most important aspect is someone from your own team conducting the live session and making it as interactive as possible. Making a live video interactive makes it essentially different from watching a recorded video.
This could be a neat way to answer potential buyer question, and help them understand how your product can solve their problem. This could also help people who have similar questions.
Seeing the human side of any company makes people trust you more. Instead of just some average social media content featuring an image and some copy, they see a real person taking questions, answering, explaining, actually spending time and effort in helping people understand—that inspires trust and confidence in your target audience. That trust could very easily translate into a sale, especially if you incentivize in some way, like a discount or an additional feature etc.
5. Use the Abandoned Cart for your Content Marketing Conversion
The abandoned cart is the biggest opportunity that can be capitalized for closing a sale. Most companies try to capitalize on the abandoned cart by giving further discounts. This may not always work, as the reason for the abandoned cart may be something other than pricing. In such a scenario, there may be more human ways to help with closing the sales.
As a marketer, you could send a follow up email to the potential buyer, politely asking him to tell you what it would take for them to buy from you! This is the most obvious, yet the most ignored solution. In a brick and mortar business setting, it is called “haggling” or “negotiation” and happens all the time. Yet, somehow, with businesses going online, this part of making business deals has gotten dumped.
Reviving this might require more than a bland email imploring your customer to buy from you. It could be written as a beautiful story, with something as yet not mentioned or described anywhere else (like in the product descriptions etc). At the end of this revelation, ask your lead what they were looking for which they did not find in your product.
You may not be able to offer them exactly what they ask for, but it may be within your capacity to answer them partially. Many times, many sales don’t happen because of unanswered questions or misconceptions about the product. This could help with just that.
Although content marketing and sales work on opposite ends of the spectrum in most companies, it does not always need to be like that. Input from the sales team can help content marketers fine-tune their content pieces for the target audience, which, in turn, can help close more sales.
The best way to do this is to make content marketing conversion a part of your content marketing strategy right from the beginning!