Have you ever written what seemed like the perfect blog post and wondered why it generated no comments? Did you invest hours in crafting what you thought was a compelling whitepaper only to have it garner no downloads? Sometimes, great content goes unnnoticed. Not because it didn’t contain valuable insight, but because it didn’t resonate with the buyer persona(s) of the company’s target audience(s).
Understanding your company’s buyer persona(s) is paramount to developing content that attracts prospects, cultivates leads and yields new clients. This data is often uncovered by examining a company’s typical sales cycle and identifying what led current clients to contact the company and, ultimately, become a client. When reviewing the current sales cycle and comparing and contrasting it with the desired sales cycle, companies should be mindful of the following factors:
Are my target clients proactive or reactive?
Did you current clients turn to you to solve an existing problem or prevent a problem from occurring? While content (e.g. blog posts, toolkits, e-books, whitepapers) that guide prospects in how to prevent a problem may contain valuable insight, they are unlikely to ‘get found’ if prospective clients are not typically proactive.
Inversely, if your client base is typically reactive and you garner clients by cleaning up messes, repositioning the proactive content to discuss how to solve a parallel problem may become your most widely read content. Before creating content to support an Inbound Marketing program, identify the characteristics that are most common among your clients and prospects. With this data in-hand, develop content and calls-to-action that will resonate with your target clients’ buyer persona(s).
What is my unique selling proposition?
If there are five IT firms in your town or county and your company has the largest market share, you must be doing something right…or should I say, something unique? Identifying and clearly understanding what sets your company apart from the competition plays a critical role in developing a content marketing strategy, and the associated content, that draws prospects to your company’s website and moves them through the sales funnel. Think about it – if the five IT companies in your town or county are all offering a free whitepaper on security best practices, it will be difficult to generate leads, let alone the right leads. Whereas being the only company to offer an email storage toolkit, which is something you identified as a top priority among current and prospective clients, will not only generate leads, but populate the right types of leads in the sales pipeline.
How do I currently, and can I with the right content, convert leads/prospects into clients?
While being a thought-leader is valuable, a business’ longevity if often directly tied to sales/revenue. Which begs the question – how does one effectively move clients through the sales funnel?
Understanding a company’s buyer persona(s) is key to moving leads through the sales funnel. Knowing what motivated an existing client to reach out initially, what engaged them to learn more about one’s products/services, and what convinced them to become a client plays an important role in determining how content can and will move prospects through the sales funnel.
For example, if you are an interior design firm that works predominantly with middle aged individuals who are downsizing, you may have learned that not knowing which possessions to donate and which to keep motivates them to look for tips online. You may also know that prospects are willing to share an email address in exchange for a room planning template, and that your company’s experience working with individuals similar to themselves and a niche in decorating homes smaller than 1,500-square-feet makes leads sign on the dotted line. This is all data that guides the types of blog posts, toolkits, whitepapers and e-books that your company creates. Just be sure that this information aligns with your target customer(s)’ buyer persona(s).
Oftentimes, the key to developing a successful Inbound Marketing or content marketing program is understanding a company’s buyer persona(s). Knowing what leads prospects to enter the funnel and how to trigger sales/conversion can make the difference between generating smart content and disseminating content that supports overall business objectives and generates ROI.