I'm going to tell you something that you're not going to like. Most companies don't do a great job of selling their products. There, I said it!
Why? Because rather than figure out which sales and marketing tactics are best suited to attract and influence their ideal customers, many businesses go with a spray-and-pray approach instead. They try a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and wind up with a pretty haphazard approach to marketing. In reality what they should be doing is developing a holistic go-to-market strategy that's built around the most effective tool for moving prospects and customers through your sales funnel: high-impact content.
By delivering the right content to your buyers at the right points in their buyer journey, you can help them take incremental steps toward a sale. Well-executed high-impact content will address your buyers' concerns at every potential stumbling block throughout the buying cycle, easing their worries and ushering them to the next step in the process. Not only that, good content can also be used to:
- Drive traffic to your website
- Establish your company as a thought leader
- Build brand awareness
- Generate, manage, and nurture leads
- Foster engagement with your target audience
Of course, accomplishing all of this is no small feat. You need much more than a steady stream of content. You need high-impact content that's designed to do five things:
1) Maximize conversions. Whether you want to get a prospect or customer to watch a video about your product, fill out a contact form, or sign up for a free trial, the ultimate goal is to get them to convert in some way. The key is to create content that is concise, timely, informative, and compelling, with a very clear call to action that communicates the value they will get by taking the next step.
2) Reflect a deep understanding of your buyer. To be effective, your content has to resonate with your buyers. That means it needs to be tailored to them (showing that you know who they are, what they do, and what they care about) and address whatever pain points they are facing. Content that lacks this sharp focus will just get lost among all of the other noise.
3) Align with your company's brand aspirations. Your content is a very public reflection of your company. As such, it's critically important that it accurately reflect the image and position you want to have in the market. The reality is that your content will leave an impression of your company in the minds of the people who consume it. The more that impression aligns with the one you are trying to create, the more you will be able to use your content to build your company's brand.
4) Be optimized for search. At its most basic, search engine optimization (SEO) is about leveraging best practices for creating and offering your content to search engines like Google or Bing. Done correctly it will make your content discoverable and drive highly relevant, organic traffic to your site.
5) Have viral features built in. There are a couple of ways to help make your content go viral. The first is to try to evoke some kind of emotional response, even if it's just a laugh. That way, people won't just get your message; they'll be entertained. Another is to make sure your content is so useful that people are inclined to share it. Make sure you embed social sharing tools on your site, creating opportunities for interactions through commenting and polls, and multiplying your promotion efforts by leveraging industry influencers and public relations.
Content is the key to successful marketing. Make sure that you are not only investing the time to create it, but also that you have optimized it to have the highest impact by ensuring it has the five characteristics above. Any company that wants to get more customers will do well with this simple approach.