Want More Sales? Start Content Marketing!

Posted on Jul 15, 2014 by Kerry O'Malley

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Do you know that most of your industrial customers will refuse to engage with your sales team until they have completed over half their buying decision journey? Today’s consumers are well-informed and discerning with a multitude of digital channels available to help them make educated decisions when investing in a product, looking for a vendor, or a solution to a problem. The old school linear marketing concept of the “funnel” no longer applies—it is now a circuitous route that a potential customer takes as they consider different brands.

The buying journey

According to leading market research firms, consumers (even technical buyers and engineers) go through five stages of the buying journey:

  1. CONTEMPLATION: they research and consider different brands based on their own preconceived conceptions.
  2. EVALUATION: they dig deeper into brand features and benefits, throwing out some, keeping others. The list may actually expand as new ones grab their attention.
  3. SELECTION: they finally select the brand that aligns with their beliefs and sense of self. At this point the consumer makes a connection with the brand and identifies with it.
  4. PURCHASE: after purchasing, they build expectations by exploring others’ experiences with the brand
  5. RECOMMENDATION: after the brand has met their expectations, they recommend the brand to others and forge a deeper connection with the brand/company. Once a consumer has connected with your brand to this point, they will advocate it to others and continue buying it; often, even if they are presented with another option that is less expensive (brand loyalty.)

This journey is not as straightforward as it sounds. Buyers skip some parts and revisit others; or they could go back and forth several times.

Identify, design, and produce

So, how do you initially entice a potential customer to live chat, accept a call from one of your sales staff, or pick up the phone and call or send an email to your company? The answer is content marketing: creating online content that makes them want to gather more information about your company in order to get to that purchasing decision.

When you are a B2B, your distribution channels can be quite intricate, so you will have to assess multiple avenues to determine which ones reach your target audience(s). Your focus will be on three areas – Identify, Design, and Produce.

  • You need to identify who the decision maker is — corporate buyers and technical buyers have different requirements. A corporate buyer looks to see how your product boosts operational efficiency and cost. Technical buyers are the detailed researchers with technology backgrounds that comb your website to find data and substantiation for your marketing claims.
  • Next, design a unique user experience that will compel them to your website, mobile app, or social media sites. The B2B journey phases must be a blend of both live interactions – live chat, phone conversations, face to face meetings – and online interactions, such as reading a blog, watching a webinar or video, connecting with your social media sites, or engaging in a discussion one of your sales staff started in a LinkedIn group. It must be noted that social recommendations hold more weight than recommendations by vendors, so managing your social media presence is vital. Posting on your Facebook page once every two months shows lack of regard in making personal connections with your customers and target audience.
  • Finally, produce the goods with real time content marketing strategies that engage your prospects along every point of their decision journey. Your company needs to provide potential buyers with content that demonstrates you have the knowledge and expertise to assist them in making a final decision. This is where a Live Chat feature is helpful as customers can have any questions answered immediately and provide you with instant sales leads.

The surest Inbound Marketing strategy

Today, your online presence MUST be more than just a website, even if you are an industrial, B2B firm.  Producing quality content and putting a content marketing plan in place is the surest inbound marketing strategy – one that has greater potential for quicker ROI than traditional marketing strategies. It can range from simple blogs to detailed White Papers to webinars, to video, to your Facebook page and Twitter feed, to a managed LinkedIn group. All of these avenues can provide potential leads and assist prospects on their buying journeys.

Just remember that the old rules of writing for marketing no longer apply.  Salesy, fluffy, unsubstantial claims will only turn prospects away. When you produce your content, try to put yourself in the mind of a potential customer. What would they REALLY care about that only your product/service/company can provide? Whatever content you develop should be truly informative, compelling, attention-getting, and essentially lay the foundation for future connections and sales.

If you’re ready to get serious about content marketing, but just don’t have the internal resources to get a program off the ground and sustain it, call Marketects! We have seasoned technical writers, videographers, social media experts, and online strategists who will identify, design, and produce for you to ensure that your content marketing program achieves results!

Author: Kerry O'Malley

omalley@marketectsinc.com

Marketects was founded in 1999 by Kerry O’Malley, a proven marketing communications professional in international, manufacturing companies. Working on the “other side of the desk,” she hired ad agencies to manage her employers’ advertising and P/R programs. Frustrated over the lack of attention and level of enthusiasm she was looking for in the marketing agencies she worked with, Kerry realized that there was a definite need for a full-service marketing firm that specialized in working with industrial companies. She resolved that her clients would always receive the highest level of service possible and never feel like the last kid chosen for the team.

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