With the rapid growth of the Internet as the “ultimate” content portal, content is one of the new drivers of sales performance. Providing the right content to the right person helps capture leads and transform them into paying customers.
Marketing is the group at the wheel when it comes to creating and delivering content. Marketers must be able to identify and communicate with prospects, according to their role or profession, to pinpoint targeted verticals and to determine what specific content attracts and captures prospects that the sales staff can then work. This requires the use of sophisticated marketing automation and analytics technology so the marketing department has creditable data about prospects’ Internet experiences. Marketers then know what kind of content to create that will most likely provide prospects with the information that relates specifically to the problem(s) they are trying to solve.
For one company, simply being more active with the technology of LinkedIn resulted in 10 times the number of average leads per week. The company went from a passive listener communicating occasionally with other members to a proactive marketer creating articles, case studies and white papers that were matched with specific members. Another effective LinkedIn tactic that is working for this company is participating in existing discussions and forums. This has generated leads that request direct communications with the company’s social marketer. Those online conversations draw prospects closer and create opportunities for the marketer to provide prospects with the free content that will draw them even closer and eventually to the sales department.
A critical component of a company’s high-performance content engine is the capability to identify which content contributed to generating which leads and sales. Again, it’s a mix of marketing and various technologies that allows a company to track the efficacy of all of its content as well as making that content available to the sales team. Not only will this help salespeople to reinforce the brand, but also to present the specific sales conversion content that marketing knows works.
Another marketer has discovered that content developed for a specific campaign has a much longer shelf life than the campaign run. The lesson here is that content shouldn’t be “siloed” in this manner but become part of the general resources a company provides online. That content can continue to generate leads and sales from an entirely new audience without the need to mount another campaign.
For many companies, a particular content-management challenge is reconnecting with opt-in email subscribers that have become passive: no longer opening or responding to email campaigns. There are a number of relatively simple tactics that can reactivate those subscribers and develop them into solid leads.
• Match visits to the company’s Web site with the opt-in subscriber list. Someone may not be paying attention to emails, but continues to visit the site, presumably looking for specific information. Now the marketer knows what subject is of current interest to the subscriber, which can then be referenced in a custom email message. That email could also include new or additional content related to the topic.
• Try and try again. If the content of the unopened emails is both excellent and has proven to drive leads and sales, then a marketer can send them again. There are numerous reasons that those messages may not have penetrated the first time and many are beyond the control of a marketing department and its content-management tools and technologies. Reconnections are also more likely if those previous emails are resent with new subject lines, perhaps using words and/or phrases that have worked during recent campaigns.
• Examine the last email(s) the inactive subscriber opened. There is apt to be a hint about what topic(s) previously attracted his or her attention. A marketer can build on the subscriber’s earlier interest and send a custom email with content that goes deeper into the topic.
From an online marketing department’s perspective, it’s easy to declare that content is king; however, it only reigns when marketers are able to identify the exact content that matches the needs of the prospects and then have the tools and technologies in place to deliver that content.