Monday April 8, 2019
Whether you run a clicks or a bricks business (or a mixture of both), the basic aim is the same. You need to attract customers – and keep them loyal – to grow your sales.
Easy to say, but not always easy to put into action. In fact, 65% of businesses admit that getting sales leads in the first place is their biggest marketing challenge.
Do you currently face the frustration of offering “in demand” products, on a fabulous looking website, but you are still falling short on your sales targets? Perhaps you attract lots of website traffic but struggle to covert that into completed transactions.
Another serious concern that online sellers face is getting customers to come back. After all, 96% of your website visitors will be those who are not ready to buy straight away.
If these are depressing statistics, here’s a “secret” to improved sales success. It all hinges on having a well thought out and strong Content Management Strategy.
Technology has transformed the way we do business, providing incredible communication tools and lots of new ways to engage with potential customers. However, don’t get caught up in the “whistles and bells” and forget the most important thing in marketing. You must inform, influence and persuade your customers, which means talking to their “hearts and minds”.
For this you need good content; the words most likely to get the reaction you want.
Here’s a cheery statistic: 93% of business to business enterprises believe content marketing stimulates more leads than traditional marketing strategies!
So, how are you going to make that happen?
A Content Management Strategy basically drills down on what you need to say – and how. The starting point is having a clear idea of who you are talking to!
For example, are your customers likely to be working mothers in the Home Counties, sheep farmers in Wales or 16 to 25-year-olds living in major UK cities? What sort of “buying habits” do they have? Where do they get their information from?
Not so long ago, it would have been safe to assume that while young people were hugely influenced by social media (and do most of their purchasing online) this was less true for older age groups. Now, everyone uses the internet! To put this in context, in a 2018 government study, 90% of all UK adults were recent internet users.
Clearly, if you’re not selling well online, you are operating in the dark ages. What your strategy needs to focus on, though, is which parts of the internet your specific customers use and engage with. For instance, young people often share and research purchasing decisions on Snapchat, while older people love product review sites.
Armed with a clearer picture of your target audiences, and the best channels of communication to use, the next part of your Content Management Strategy is all about the messages you want to put out there.
There are two sides to this “story”. What you want to say, and what they want to hear! Many companies make the mistake of putting together their brand identity and promoting their USPs (unique selling propositions) without looking at both sides. What words and phrases do your target customers use? What sort of things do they search for online? How can you push their buttons?
Marry this intel with the benefits of your products to answer the most universal buying question of all: “What’s in it for me?”
You need a series of messages about your products that sum up their benefits in an engaging and appropriate way. This is your Content – the text you are going to use to attract leads and convert them into sales.
Next, comes a strategy to use this Content effectively.
With your audience “personae” and sales messages crystal clear, let battle commence! However, it’s no good randomly firing out messages to your target audiences in a frenzied burst of uncoordinated marketing. That road leads to wasted resources, duplicated effort and no ability to measure what works and what doesn’t.
Your content management strategy needs to be converted into a plan; a blueprint to follow over the coming weeks or months. This plan could be organised around different product promotions, sales themes or season opportunities for example. Against these, you can then map out a good cross-section of measurable marketing activities.
For example, June is all about the start of summer and Father’s Day. So, relevant products should be pushed via blogs, social media, advertising and email/SMS/app messaging campaigns.
One of the great things about authentically “managing” your Content in this way, is that your activities are more streamlined, as well as effective.
Hands up if you find social media sucks away far too much time, for too little return. Or, do you dread the process of trying to think of new blog ideas or new “hooks” for customer emails? Having a Content Management strategy takes away much of the pain, and increases the gain.
With your shiny new plan in place, you know in advance what integrated blog posts and social media strands to progress, and the email text you’re going to use to support them.
With enough clear planning, you can get great sale leads using generic social media content; the free stuff. Sometimes this is not enough though, particularly for new companies or products. A boost is needed from investment in online advertising.
Proceed with care. Make sure your campaigns are created with the best possible chance of reaching your bona fide customers.
The best example of this is blindly throwing money in a Pay Per Click promotion on Google. You could get lots of new website traffic (meaning a big bill too) only to find your site visitors “clicked off” a split second later!
That leads to another important part of a measurably effective Content strategy. It’s not all about getting customers to your actual or virtual door, you need to get them inside and paying too!
This can hinge on the content you use on your website. Do your product benefits and compelling buying messages “hit” site visitors immediately? Research shows that you have less than 15 seconds worth of attention from website visitors. If they don’t see what they want instantly, they are gone.
Check your analytics regularly. Where are you losing your sales leads? If they don’t get further than your home page, do you need to change the direction or messages of your outreach? If you’re suffering from a plague of abandoned online shopping carts, you need to dig down and find the obstacles.
Many people leave without completing transactions due to complicated check out processes or delivery issues. Going back to your Content strategy, look at ways to manage customer expectations better. Do your delivery terms need to be explained better and earlier for example?
Search engine optimisation is also part of managing your content online. Your digital “footprint” needs to help customers to find you when they search for your type of products, services or location.
The knee-jerk reaction would be to stuff websites and other online material with as many keywords and phrases as possible; or even repeat selling messages in as many places as possible. Both of which are bad! The Google spider bots that measure online content could give you a lower ranking for doing this sort of thing.
Your online content needs to be dynamic, constantly refreshed and genuinely informative and relevant, to score well on SEO.
Does all this sound a very big ask? Fear not, Socially Grown can help you to sort through it all. Including guiding you to a Content Management strategy for your business that generates more leads, AND converts them into actual sales (and even brings them back to buy more, more often).