I hear the statement often:
“We need more content.”
Sales and marketing increasingly view content as the magic formula for business success. My first company; WebMapSolutions, gained business purely through content marketing. But that was then, and this is now. Today if you write it, they won’t necessarily come. Attention spans are short. We live in an ever busier, distracted world. Those long articles and blog posts you used to write, are less and less effective UNLESS …. but let’s not jump ahead.
Content created today, to be effective, needs careful planning (see 4 Critical Steps to Developing a Geospatial Sales & Marketing Content Strategy), and exceptional execution.
And its exceptional execution we will cover in this article.
Our content journey
We learned about sales and marketing, and the value of content long ago. WebMapSolutions was driven by content. No sales department. No marketing team. Simply two business focused geospatial folks writing blog posts. And, to our great surprise, we were wildly successful. Not only did we drive leads and business, but received awards.
But, over time, things began to change. Our unique voice, focused on mobile GIS, became one of many. The long form article approach we took was becoming less and less effective.
We had to do something different.
Measure. Learn. Adapt ..
In this article, I will walk you through the steps we took to change our approach. How we succeeded with sales and marketing, which was underpinned by content.
Our world is filled with information. It is overwhelming. How you stand out from the crowd is a constant business challenge. The channels today are mind-boggling: blogs, articles, videos, social media, podcasts, webinars. Attention spans have shrunk.
All content planning needs a goal. We discussed in our last article the importance of a plan, and building a content strategy which is guided by the goals(s) you have defined. Those might be thought leadership, education, brand awareness etc.
So how do you use content to generate lead, and build relationships leading to sales?
Understanding the relationship between the sales funnel and content ..
The diagram above shows the content goals at each level of the sales funnel. In real life, think about the journey from meeting, and dating to marriage. In many ways content follows the same path. From initial attention, to curiosity (wanting to learn more), to genuine interest (there might be something here), to relationship building (are we compatible) to commitment and marriage.
These are the fundamental building blocks of your content strategy. Find out more by downloading our eBook: 5 Critical Steps to Sales & Marketing Success.
The 8 Steps of a Sales & Marketing Content Strategy & Execution
Let me provide a high level overview of the steps needed to successfully build and execute a sales and marketing strategy. To dive deeper download our eBook: How others are Getting Geospatial Sales & marketing so Wrong (and you can get it right).
Step 1 – Building the Base = Brainstorming Content Ideas
You have defined your content goals. Content starts with an idea. This is often a collaborative exercise.
Step 2 – Long Form Article Creation = Interest
Articles are at the heart of the interest phase. And we start here.
Step 3 – Article Title = Attention/Curiosity Grabber 1
How do you grab readers attention and curiosity? The first phase (the first of two) is the articles title.
Step 4 – Article CTA = Relationship Initiator
Articles without Calls-To-Action (CTA) are simply one way communications.
Step 5 – Multimedia Attention/Curiosity Grabber 2
I mentioned there was a second phase of attention/curiosity. Many miss this phase. And it is super important. This is a short campaign. A daily blast.
Step 6 – Measure, measure, measure
Yes measure. You are blind to the success or failure of your content without measuring.
Step 7 – Nurture Email Cadence = Relationship Builder
Relationships are built over time. In the world of business, nurture email campaigns are how you build a relationship with your audience.
Step 8 – Sales Email Campaign = Commitment
In sales and marketing commitment most often means a purchase. Does that then mean the end of the content journey?
The content journey ..
There you have it. Too many still see content as a one-directional, self-centric exercise. There is an old saying “Adapt and change or die”. Harsh words. But contains a core truth. In this article, based on our past successes and failures, we have laid out the building blocks of a successful sales and marketing content strategy and execution. Download our eBook to learn more.