And the most impactful content is…
“Stage-Aware” Content Marketing Strategies Drive Successful Results
For content marketing efforts to be the most impactful, shared content must resonate with each specific type of prospect. Since different prospects perform research and discovery by consuming varied types content, it’s critical to be represented by “Intelligent Content Mapping” strategies that dictate the optimum content to be provided for each prospect type and in all possible channels. This content must be strategically designed to “nurture” prospects to conversion, gently nudging them through the early, middle, and late stages of the buying cycle.
Now, not all content is needed by all buyer personas. For example, an Executive may consider the ROI while an Engineer reviews the GUI. To be most meaningful, customized content must be provided to each buyer persona type, and delivered across multiple delivery channels at appropriate points in the buying cycle. Content distribution is achieved through (1) the creation of automated, structured, multi-channel drip campaigns, (2) thoughtfully designed into the content’s landing pages, and (3) strategically woven throughout the content itself.
For example, consider three buyer personas: an Executive, an Engineer, and a Manager. To be most impactful, each prospect type needs to have a set of content tailored for their specific needs. Content must then be strategically provided based on the prospect’s stage in the sales cycle and their cumulative lead score. Let’s review the early through late stages of a typical sales cycle and the potential strategic content associated with each stage.
In the early stages of the sales cycle, also referred to as “the awareness phase”, the goal is to be viewed as a thought leader in the industry. Provide interesting, informative, and entertaining content to build brand awareness. Examples of early-stage content include infographics, research data, funny videos, curated lists, and other technological or analytical resources. This content should be open to all, and not gated (requiring the use of a sign-up form).
During the middle stages of the sales cycle, “the consideration phase”, the goal is to provide tools that help buyers mitigate risk, understand how they should approach best practices, and clarify any concepts or confusion that may be lingering. Providing easy access to these tools enables prospects to discover and leverage your unique content when they’re seeking solutions. These tools include buying guides, RFP templates, ROI calculators, whitepapers, analyst reports, and webinars. This content should be gated by a form, in order to drive demand generation through your funnel.
Late stage content (“the decision phase”) should communicate why your products (or services) are best-in-class, and may include pricing, demonstrations, free trials, third-party reviews, and customer case studies. For the most part, late stage content should not be gated.
Providing the concepts, tools, and resources needed to enable your prospects to better understand the playing field, focus their goals, and select the best solution, is one of the most effective strategies for increasing demand generation and accelerating overall conversion successes.