12 amazing tips to drive sales with content marketing
Content marketing is about creating valuable, interesting and relevant content and then using it to engage your target audience and push them towards useful actions. Ultimately, content marketing is transactional. Your users get something they want, you get something you want. That’s how content marketing works.
But not all content marketing campaigns are created equal. You could spend time, money and effort on a content marketing strategy without seeing a positive return on your investment. If you’re worried that that might happen to you, then keep reading. This post features 12 actionable tips that you can implement to help make sure your content marketing drives sales for your business.
Tip 1: Write better sales emails
You can make your sales team powerful advocates of content marketing if you take every opportunity to show them how what you do helps them make more money. You should start with the emails they send.
According to HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2017 report email is rated the second most successful channel for reaching sales prospects, behind the telephone. That makes the emails your sales team send hugely significant when it comes to creating, nurturing and closing opportunities.
There are two ways you, as a content marketer, can help. First, you can put together more concise, accurate and better-written emails for your colleagues in sales to use. Second, you can pull relevant stats and data to back up what your sales team is promising. You can do this by editing and rewriting what they send out or by putting together templates they can rework and customise themselves.
Tip 2: Produce killer sales collateral
Better emails are great, but if you really want the sales team on your side, take some time out to create some professional, on-brand collateral they can send along with their follow-ups and proposals.
Slide decks, graphics and custom videos can be really effective ways to help your sales team zero in on their prospects’ pain points or better explain how their proposed solution will work.
Of course, sales can tap into the assets you’re already creating for your content marketing campaigns but custom work for their specific needs will go much further.
Tip 3: Get your keywords from your sales prospects
Working with sales isn’t all about giving, there’s some taking too. One of the biggest problems content marketers face is getting trapped in a bubble of their own making. They lose touch with what the customer wants and focus instead on what they think the customer should want.
A great example is keywords. When writing new pages for the website or creating content for the blog, you’ll do keyword research to identify the search terms you want to rank for. But who cares if you rank first for a term your customers and potential customers don’t use?
Understanding the nuances of what your audience is talking about and the questions they’re asking is crucial to running really effective content marketing campaigns. And sales can help. If you listen in on their calls or go out with them to meetings, you’ll hear direct from the people you’re both trying to sell to. This will help you create content that offers real value to your target audience.
Tip 4: Make your blog archive a sales goldmine
If you’ve created open and regular lines of communication with sales, you’ll be able to use what you learn to improve your blog. You’ll be able to create blog content that hits the topics, questions and product features they’re talking about with their customers and prospects.
If your blogging strategy is responsive enough, you’ll be able to turn around new posts on request during the same sales cycle. And over time, you’ll find that your blog archive becomes a really valuable resource for your sales team to draw on.
Posts that explain how a particular aspect of your product works or that answer common questions at different points of the sales cycle are ideal for beefing up nurture emails. If your colleagues in sales regularly draw on your blogs to help push deals along it will be much easier to secure more budget for your future content marketing campaigns.
Tip 5: Work together on powerful ebooks
Topics that you’ve regularly covered on your blog can help generate ideas for more substantial pieces of content, like ebooks. An ebook gives you a chance to really flex your creative muscles, drawing on your research, writing and design skills to produce a professional-looking, in-depth content asset.
There are a number of different ways ebooks can help sales. First up they can be used to qualify leads and move them down the sales funnel (more on that later). Second, sales people can send them out to individual prospects to help hammer home a point they’ve been making on the phone or via email.
Third, if your sales team is active on social media they can post links to some real high-value, great looking content, which in turn makes them look good. Sales people with a big following on Twitter or who take pride in their LinkedIn presence will jump on the chance to share a quality ebook, especially if they get a credit for helping put it together.
Tip 6: Dig into the detail with informative webinars
An ebook is great for tackling top-of-funnel topics – i.e., questions that prospects ask early on when they’re still weighing up their options. As deals get closer, your sales team will be looking for more product-focused content to support their efforts.
These mid-funnel prospects are starting to compare different solutions and will be interested in certain product features. This is a great opportunity to put together a series of webinars. Your sales team can even host them (with your help of course).
Webinars can make really effective mid-funnel goals for your content marketing campaigns. Signing up to a webinar and then logging on at the scheduled time requires more of a commitment than following a brand on Twitter or downloading an ebook. And a bigger commitment means they’re getting closer to becoming a customer.
Tip 7: Add social media remarketing tags to your site
Your sales team will be too busy doing deals to worry about geeky details like Twitter Tags and Facebook Pixels. But while they might not care about social media remarketing, they will care about warm leads.
Social media tags are an excellent tool for promoting your best content and pushing sales prospects down the funnel. Adding them takes a few minutes and you don’t need to be a developer to do it. Once they’re up and running you can use them to add website visitors to custom audiences for your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn ads.
As you refine your audiences down and start to target more and more qualified leads you’ll be able to funnel through to the sales team users who already want what they’re trying to sell.
Tip 8: Get even smarter with marketing automation
Social media tags aren’t the only way to retarget users and nudge them on to the next stage of your sales funnel. A marketing automation platform like HubSpot, Pardot or Marketo can take a lot of the leg work out of sorting through your leads and targeting different segments with the most appropriate content.
Marketing automation allows you to identify users and track them around your site. As they revisit your site, click on your emails and engage with different types of content you can separate out the ones that are ready to move down the funnel.
You then leverage the amazing content you’re creating to nurture them until they’re ready for someone from sales to reach out and make contact. Warm leads convert better, which means more deals for sales and kudos for you and your team.
Tip 9: Build everything around conversions
A good content marketing strategy starts with proper, tangible conversion goals. Work out what actions you want users to take and then create the content and a plan to promote it that drive users to those actions.
Only the more attentive sales people will notice you doing this bit. But you need to be obsessed with conversion. Whenever anyone wants to make changes to the website you, as the content marketer, need to be asking: how does this support our conversion goals? Optimising your site for conversion should trump any other considerations.
You should also make sure you have conversion goals for users at different stages of the sales funnel. Content marketing can and should help you find, engage and convert users at every point in the decision-making process from research to purchase.
Tip 10: Find regular case studies and customer testimonials
Social proof can be really powerful when building credibility with prospects. Before they buy, people like to know someone else has taken the plunge already and had a positive experience. As a content marketer you need to take responsibility for finding these stories and sharing them with the world.
Testimonials from happy customers are a must-have for the trust-building elements of your landing pages (more on that shortly). But they are also great for sales to add a little stardust to their follow-up emails.
You should also be working with your product and customer service teams to create regular case studies. Your sales team will be able to use these to offer detailed examples of what success looks like. They can also be useful for identifying purchase intent nearer the bottom of the sales funnel.
Tip 11: Build trust with your website users
Your sales team will be working hard to earn the trust of their customers and prospects. Case studies and testimonials are both a great help. But you should look for more opportunities to build trust around your site.as part of your conversion obsession.
If customers trust your sales team they’re more likely to buy from them. But they meet your content long before they meet anyone from sales. You can start building trust by providing lots of detailed, in-depth information about your brand and your products on your blog and your landing pages
You can also feature logos from well-known customers or partners. Or you can create a brag roll (positive stats about your business, such as years of experience, projects completed, average customer rating etc).
Tip 12: Create regular explainer videos
Video is a powerful tool for content marketers. Pages featuring video perform better in search. Users are more likely to engage with them and recall the information they contain. And videos drive more conversions. An oft-cited study by Eyeview Digital found short explainer videos boosted landing page conversion by 30 per cent.
Better conversion rates are obviously good news for sales because it means more warm leads coming their way. But there’s a more visible and direct way you can use video content to support the work of your sales team.
Video can make emails more clickable. Wistia, a video software company, saw a 22 per cent uplift in average click-through when they swapped thumbnail images for videos in their marketing emails. That sort of number would be a massive help for your sales team who will be fighting to get prospects and customers to pay attention to their emails.
How to drive sales with content marketing: In summary
- Write better emails for your sales team to send to prospects and customers
- Set aside some time to create sales collateral, such as slide decks, graphics and custom videos
- Listen in on calls and go to sales meetings to refine your keyword strategy and get ideas for your blog
- Build a blog archive that your sales team can dip into to help them nurture their opportunities
- Ask for input from sales to create ebooks and show the sales team how to use them on social media
- Create webinars to provide more detailed explanations of product features or common pain points
- Add social media tags to your website so you can run remarketing campaigns and generate more warm leads for sales
- Invest in marketing automation and the regular content you need to power it, so you can identify strong leads early and push users down the sales funnel
- Be the conversion evangelist in your business and make sure everything you do is built around proper, tangible goals
- Work with your product and customer teams on regular case studies to provide the social proof customers and prospects need
- Look for more opportunities to build trust with the content you create from in-depth product pages to graphics that highlight your wins and USPs
- Produce regular explainer videos to improve landing page conversion and help your sales team get more cut-through with their emails