Marketing and sales must go hand in hand if you want a healthy bottom line.
While the marketing front works on generating and nurturing leads, the sales team focuses on closing purchases and ensuring customer satisfaction. This would lead to more profits and a bigger marketing budget next time around.
Regardless of your niche, content will play a crucial role at any point in this sales cycle. It can be used to raise brand awareness, build trust, and accelerate the movement of leads down the sales funnel.
Without further ado, here are 4 proven strategies on how to use content to shorten your sales cycle:
1. Create the Essential Pages
In today’s world, a website fulfills many roles. It can be a storefront that puts your products on the best light, a learning resource that educates customers, and a communication channel that makes your business reachable.
For this, your website must have the following essential pages ready:
The first thing potential customers need before they make a purchase is confirmation that your products, services, and value propositions actually work. Creating a testimonials page that consists of positive feedback from past customers is a good way to give them the reassurance they need.
Telling the story of your brand will make you more relatable, approachable, and trustworthy. That’s why you should create an “About Us” page that highlights the information about your vision, logo, staff, and so on.
You can’t forget the “contact us” page if you want to leverage your web presence for conversions. Fortunately, there are now a handful of free form builders that can help you execute this step.
Over time, you’ll notice that a number of customers would ask the same questions regarding your brand. Creating a FAQ page that addresses all their concerns will improve their experience and enable them to move faster towards a sale.
2. Automate Interactions with Email Marketing
Email marketing automation is one of the pillars to a well-optimized sales funnel. Put simply, it enables brands to automatically send content based on customer actions.
For example, if an online shopper bails out during the checkout process, an automated “abandoned cart email” can help you recover the lost sale while making the transaction even more convenient to the customer.
A number of email marketing platforms today have built-in automation features that can make this happen. Aside from cart abandonment, other customer interactions that can be used as triggers include visiting a page, subscribing to a mailing list, or clicking a link.
Remember, designing marketing emails is an important part of the equation, but so is your timing. By automating emails, you’ll have zero missed opportunities to convert users into subscribers, social media followers, or paying customers.
3. Invest in User-Generated Content
Statistics show that 74% of consumers use social media to enforce their purchase decisions. After all, if you really want the best value for your money, who would you turn to — branded advertisements or people you know?
Unfortunately, a lot of companies treat social media pages as if they’re just content distribution channels. Although sharing content can definitely drive traffic to your website, obtaining user-generated content or UGC is a far more efficient way to capitalize social media.
UGC is anything that the audience publishes about your brand. It can be a video review, an Instagram photo, or a simple status update.
A hashtag contest is a great way to create buzz as well as earn UGC. You can choose to facilitate the contest with your own rules and mechanics, or use a platform like Rafflecopter to make everything simpler and more streamlined.
With a content research tool like BuzzSumo or a listening tool like SentiOne, you can also easily scan the internet for content that mentions of your brand. Alternatively, you can set up Google Alerts to notify you whenever new content surfaces.
4. Offer Premium Content
Run-of-the-mill brands largely depend on blog posts to build their authority in their niche. But with over 2 million blog posts being published every day, you need to get creative with other content types if you want to stand out.
Webinars, for example, do an excellent job of establishing your credibility as an expert in your niche — no to mention they can be monetized or offered as a freebie in exchange for a conversion.
Big marketers like Brian Dean and Neil Patel are avid users of this tactic. When visiting their official blogs, they always seem to offer “free access” to a webinar or online training course in exchange for your contact information.
As a result, they can ramp up subscriptions to their mailing lists as they cement their authority as experts.
Other types of premium content include infographics, slideshow presentations, eBooks, and podcasts. If you want, you can even package all these content types together into a full-fledged online course.
Simply focusing on content quality will not get your brand the customer base it deserves — you also need the right distribution method that will get your leads down the sales path. Hopefully, the content strategies highlighted above will get you started in the right direction.