Have you taken time with your website to map content to your sales funnel? You could see better results by customising your content for each stage of the sales cycle. You can meet your audience’s specific needs through their buying process.
Every piece of content you create has to work hard for you. Content without value to your target audience is just noise. Unfocused content will gain you no traction. When you map content to your sales funnel this will change.
When planning and creating content that supports your strategy, think about the purpose it will fulfil and which stage of your sales cycle it supports. A potential customer or prospect is guided through the sales cycle by serving the right content at the right time. Your content efficiently does its job, and your prospect is moved along at the right pace to purchase.
Map content to your sales funnel
Mapping content to each sales cycle stage ensures that you are appealing to your target audience in the most direct and valuable way. When content resonates with your prospect, they move along efficiently until they have no other choice than to choose you.
For each stage of the process, different types of content will provide what your customer needs. Sales cycles may differ in complexity, but there are generally three main stages that you need to support:
A prospect finds your business as a result of searching for a solution to an issue. They know they have an issue and they are looking for someone to fix it with them. Your content needs to speak the same language, to show understanding and offer a targeted solution.
Content that supports this stage would be educational information, industry insights and knowledge, helpful resources such as checklists or guides, and data to support the prospect’s understanding of the issue they are facing. An educational webinar offering marketplace understanding and meaningful comparisons would work well here for example. An ebook that covers the issue and offers an approach to a solution would also work well.
Your ‘awareness content’ has done its job and you make the shortlist with a prospect. They see you have a solution which may work for them. They will be comparing your offering to others they have found. The initial research that led to you being found needs to be consolidated. Offer proof that you really do know what you are talking about and have the means to offer a solution.
More in-depth information is needed to support this stage. Case studies, product demonstrations, data sheets will all offer information at the next level of detail. You could provide a wealth of information to support this stage, about what you can and are providing. Case studies can be a really persuasive tool at this stage, as can FAQs and detailed product information.
Once a prospect is convinced your solution works for them, they need the technical backup, the means to convince the decision-maker or budget-holder if there is one. They need pricing and detail, proof of previous success. They need to know exactly how your solution will work for them, and at what cost. A free trial, live demo, outline solution with pricing, proposed discount for a sale, can all work well here.
Thinking about your content differently
Does this approach make you think differently about putting your content to use at every stage of the sales cycle? Structuring your content to support this process, understanding in-depth your online buyer journey, will make sure that none of your content is redundant to the acquisition process. Rather, your content becomes one of your most valuable tools in attracting customers.
Use the language of your prospect and map content to the answers and solutions you have. Prospects will find you. Strategic use of social media supports this. Using the same language that resonates with a prospect across your online activity is critical.
As prospects move to evaluation they start to trust you and want more from you. At this stage you may gain enough trust for a prospect to trade an email for the next level of useful detail. This is great because then you have permission to continue a conversation and more directly support the needs of the prospect as you guide them to a decision.
The further along the process, or down the funnel, they move, the more specific and targeted their needs become.All along, your content is there solely to validate a prospect's choices and convince them to buy. Click To Tweet
Allowing time to move through the cycle
A prospect may visit your website multiple times before you are even aware of them. With 81% of buyers researching online before purchasing, and up to 70% of the sales cycle completed before you are even aware of prospects (Protocol 80 research summary), it makes sense to structure your content in a way that will support all stages of your sales cycle.
Having content available to support a prospect’s complete journey is critical to improving your online response, as is your responsiveness to prospects once they make themselves known. Content allows you to handhold rather than hard sell, and it will work hardest for you if you give it a plan and structure to do a specific job for you.
If your content map looks a bit bare when you look at your sales cycle, you need to start filling in the gaps. Add structure where it is missing. If you need help in this area, there are lots of ways we can support you. Get in touch with us today at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s explore what services we can offer you.