Truth: This isn’t the article I set out to write. My original idea was to create a written masterpiece that discusses the variety of media types that go into a successful marketing campaign. However, as I searched for numbers and facts to back up my claims, one central idea became crystal clear – Everything centers around quality content, and sales is no different.
Sometimes it takes something simple to flip the switch. In this case, it was an in-house, high-level strategy meeting for a long-time client. Using Venn diagrams, we talked about what the client needed – a new website, how-to videos, brochures, blog posts, social media and strategic partnerships with dealers and suppliers. Content quickly became the focal point of the discussion, as any good strategy should.
Of course, the ultimate goal of any campaign is to increase sales. We get caught up in the when, where and why, but lose sight of how we’re going to get the customer’s attention. Sometimes, it’s with simple brand awareness. Sometimes, it’s a matter of placing the right ad at the right time in the right publication or on the right website. But what is it that grabs the customer’s attention? It’s the message. It’s something that resonates with the customer based on a need or want, and that leads back to quality content.
Think about this: When was the last time you made a large purchase, whether for business or personal use, without researching the product(s) and their competitors online? If you’re like most of us, it was before the age of the smartphone.
In the B2B space (where often we talk about large ticket manufacturing items), decision makers are more likely to research each aspect of a piece of equipment. They’ll take a look at websites, mobile apps, catalogs, technical manuals and other sales-related materials. Many will start with an online search, so this may be the first interaction a potential customer has with your business, and we all know the importance of making a great first impression.
Those businesses and organizations with quality content (print, online, social and mobile) that engages the reader or viewer see better returns on their investments through higher conversion rates (or sales). According to Curata, 74% of companies they surveyed earlier this year that have invested in quality content marketing said they are seeing an uptick in lead quality and quantity.
So, let’s consider the customer’s journey. In a simplified form, it’s Awareness > Evaluation > Decision. This process ultimately begins with a stimulus; for example, an ad or social media post that leads the potential customer to conduct an online search. As most of us do, the potential customer is going to read materials on your website or look for reviews on your product or service. Depending on the level of engagement, he/she may read white papers or case studies. They’ll watch videos on your site or YouTube channel. They’ll seek advice or information from other users on social media. Then, they make the step to reach out to you for more information or, if you’re lucky, they head straight to their online shopping cart to make the purchase. While they are spending this time on your site, they are evaluating your content, which is evident in how long they stay on your site and how many pages they visit.
To put this in layman’s terms: If someone is spending time on your site, they aren’t spending that time getting to know your competitor. The better the quality of your content, more pages they look at on your site, the more engaged and invested they become in continuing to the next step, which is lead generation.
You want to arm your sales force with quality materials to hand out to a potential customer or make these items available on your website because you want to show you are professional, thoughtful, relevant and knowledgeable. That creates the relationship between you and the customer. And those relationships convert to sales. Why? Because they feel like they know you; they trust you; and your product is going to bring value to their business or life. That’s the conversion, and it all started with good content.