Publishing content without aligning it to the sales cycle is a lot like throwing things at a wall and hoping something sticks– that’s no way to run a marketing department! Effective content marketing aligns content creation and distribution to each of the three sales cycle phases: awareness, consideration and decision–delivering the right piece of content to the right person at the right time. This is the second in a three-part series on how to create impactful content for each phase of the sales cycle.
Consideration Phase: Using Content Marketing to Strengthen Engagement
When a lead acknowledges a problem and decides to take action, this lead is now in the Consideration phase of the sales cycle. During the consideration phase, also referred to as the “evaluation phase”, prospects are gathering information about potential solution providers. They’re learning more about their problem and how different vendors can solve it.
Your mission with content marketing in the consideration phase is two-fold:
- Stay top of mind. Assuming your business successfully defined the problem in your favor during the Awareness phase of the sales cycle, then you’ve already got a leg up on the competition. Don’t rest on your laurels. Remember, your lead is busy researching solution providers. This means they’re busy engaging with the competition. Don’t sit back and wait for the lead to come to you. Stay top of mind with content marketing.
- Differentiate your business from the competition. The more research your lead does, the easier it is for your lead to be overwhelmed by too many solution providers and too much information. Content in the evaluation phase must clearly define what makes your company unique in its services and approach.
- Sending the right message at the wrong time. Wait too long to contact a lead and the lead may go cold. Follow up too frequently and you’ll annoy your lead straight into the arms of the competition. Identifying a happy medium for consistent contact and then aligning your content program to this pace is your top challenge during the consideration phase of the sales cycle.
- Standing out in a sea of content. Do people actually read content? Must of us spend plenty of time scanning social media feeds and skimming blog posts, but we’re less likely to dive deep into every article that comes our way. Consequently, being memorable in a sea of content can be a huge challenge. In addition to following best practices for everything from SEO to headline writing, don’t be afraid to make the same point more than once. You can’t assume everyone will read your perfectly crafted blog post on how to solve lead generation problems.
If you want to stand out in a sea of content, you need to offer multiple points of entry. What fresh angles can you explore in additional articles? Can you break up a longer white paper into shorter blog posts that will then drive traffic back to your white paper? Finding new ways to stand out in a sea of content is the second most important challenge to address during the Consideration phase of the sales cycle.
The most impactful content for the Consideration phase will keep you top-of-mind and most critically, be delivered in a timely manner– striking that elusive balance between too much communication and not enough.
- Proactive lead nurturing. Consistent contact is the top challenge for the consideration phase of the sales cycle. At Frozen Lemon, we address this challenge with responsive email marketing campaigns that deliver relevant, personalized information in response to different actions a lead may take. For example, suppose your lead visits your website and downloads your latest white paper. A responsive email marketing campaign would send a message in response to this action. The message might invite the lead to join an upcoming webinar on the same topic or notify them when a new article is published. Proactive lead nurturing can also help stop leads from going cold by reaching out if there’s been no contact over a set period and inviting the lead to re-engage.
Proactive lead nurturing works. Triggered email messages have a 119% higher click-through rate than “business as usual messages” according to Epsilon. Rather than flooding your leads with more emails they don’t want in their in-box each day, you’re proactively sending messages in response to your lead’s behavior– whether or not your lead is actively engaging with your content.
- Consistent, quality blogging. When it comes to blogging, quantity and quality both matter. Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5X more leads than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts, reports HubSpot. But that’s just part of the story: quality matters, too. Only one in 10 blog posts are compounding, which means their organic search increases their traffic over time. Compounding blog posts are the unicorns of the blogging world– and you want your content program to be creating these posts. Even though these posts make up just 10% of all blog content, they represent 38% of overall traffic.
Your takeaway: create a consistent blogging strategy that prioritizes quality content creation and stick to it. Keeping content fresh on your blog gives your team fresh content for social media distribution and gives a reason to click through from LinkedIn and visit your website– bringing leads back time and time again to interact with your company.
Takeaway: Use content to consistently engage and inform.
Consistent engagement is key during the consideration phase. Proactively nurture your leads via responsive email marketing and consistent, quality blogging. Doing so will strengthen engagement and continually prime your lead to consider your company the top solution provider.