When marketing your business, it’s easy to become enamored with the latest and shiniest marketing techniques. Like a new car the “new marketing method smell” fogs our brain and makes us believe that THIS particular technique will send a flood of new customers. Unfortunately, this method of bandwagon marketing completely ignores a fundamental tenet of marketing: Your marketing needs to ultimately lead to a sale.
Jumping from one shiny new marketing method to the next doesn’t lead to a sale as effectively as finding and locking in on just a few proven marketing methods. Here’s how your marketing can be improved to actually lead to more sales:
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE SALES FUNNEL
Your marketing content needs to play very specific roles in your sales funnel. It’s not good enough to just push a bunch of stuff out there; you need to give it some strategy.
All too often, we think that if we put some marketing content out there, that a contact who interacts with it will move to a purchase. However, we need to think more granular than that: Each stage of your sales funnel (i.e., leads, prospects, etc.) is not a single step but a series of steps. So, you shouldn’t create content to address a stage of your sales funnel (which is what many marketers do). Instead, you should create content to address a step within a stage of your sales funnel!
Start with just one stage of your sales funnel (leads, for example, or prospects) and figure out the following:
First, think about: What are your contacts thinking about when they enter that stage of the sales funnel?
Then, think about: What are your contacts thinking about when they exit that stage of the sales funnel into the next stage?
Last, think about: What is the progression from their entry mindset to their exit mindset. What are the typical steps they might take in that stage of the sales funnel?
Once you know the answer to these three questions, you can create content (a range of marketing content and positioning content across various media or content types) that helps them get from one step to the next within a particular sales funnel stage.
AN EXAMPLE OF SALES FUNNEL CONTENT MAPPING
So let’s say that your prospects enter the prospect stage of the funnel by asking for more information about your product. And, they exit the prospect stage of the funnel by becoming customers. The overall steps in the prospect stage might be as follows:
- (Entry) They want more information about your product
- They wonder if the product will be useful to them
- They wonder if the product will offer appropriate value compared to the cost
- They wonder how long they can live without the product
- They wonder if you can deliver the product more effectively than someone else
- They wonder if other customers of yours have had a good experience
- (Exit) They want to buy the product
Assuming that these are the general steps that your prospects go through before buying from you, then you simple write content to all 7 steps. Each piece of content doesn’t have to point to the ultimate sale, it only needs to point to the next step. Here’s an example:
- (Entry) They want more information about your product: You write a brochure about your product and place a clear call-to-action in your brochure to visit your website for case studies about how people are using your product.
- They wonder if the product will be useful to them: You have a website with case studies and at the bottom of the website is a link to an ROI calculator.
- They wonder if the product will offer appropriate value compared to the cost: They can use the ROI calculator to determine value and then you offer them a link to a downloadable whitepaper.
- They wonder how long they can live without the product: The downloadable whitepaper addresses the cost of ownership of the product versus the cost of delaying purchase. At the end of the whitepaper you send them to a “how we deliver” page.
- They wonder if you can deliver the product more effectively than someone else: At the bottom of the “how we deliver” page you have a link to a testimonials page.
- They wonder if other customers of yours have had a good experience: At the bottom of the testimonials page you offer a link to buy the product.
- (Exit) They want to buy the product
Each step doesn’t need to close the sale. Instead, each step is strategically built around what the prospect is thinking about right then. Of course, some customers prefer to accelerate beyond that and you’ll of course have a “buy now” option available for them. But if most of your prospects go through these steps in this order, you’ll make more sales by writing content that maps to their mindset.
Once you’ve mapped content to each of the several steps in a stage, do this same effort for every stage of your sales funnel(s).