Content marketing continues to be one of the most important tools in the marketing tool box, and it should be. After all, when done properly, content marketing helps drive leads. Known as top of the funnel content, or TOFU as we affectionately call it in the business, why not take advantage of good content marketing? Here are 5 ways content marketing is essential to your top of the funnel sales process:
1. Buyers Want Content
Think about what you do when you want to learn about something. Chances are that you hit the Web to research products, services, locations, etc. The better the information that you find, the more informed you feel. This is essential in terms of beginning of the buying/selling process. When a prospect is in the beginning stages, that person wants/needs information. Give them what they want and what they need.
And, chances are the prospect will develop a level of trust and/or connection to the source that provided excellent and educational content.
2. Balance the Selling versus Informing
Again, think back to your own experience. When you research something new as you begin your buying cycle how do you feel when you start reading an article or blog that appears to answer all your burning questions only to find out that it was a cleverly disguised sales pitch? Well, if you are like me, you are probably annoyed and click out of the site. The only time that I don’t feel that way is “if” someone has already won me over with great content AND they did so without being all salesy and pitchy.
The lesson here, is don’t make your content all about you, how wonderful you are and how much you can help someone or some organization. Top of the Funnel Content that works best is content that is helpful, but generic in nature. People get turned off by this. TOFU is intended to move prospects from the top of the funnel down to the middle of the funnel, or again as we like to say to MOFU.
3. Promote Your Content
So, you have figured out what content to create and you have balanced the salesy tone with useful information that prospects will and can use, but now what? How do you get people to find and read your content.
You have to share your content of course. You need to determine the right channels to use for your business. Most businesses tend to focus on Twitter and LinkedIn Company Groups as the place to promote content. However, don’t forget about Facebook Google+ and LinkedIn Groups. Be sure to understand how each channel is used. For example, if you use all of these channels, be sure that you are posting at the right intervals, using images and the right language. Also, remember not to spam people. For LinkedIn Groups for example, don’t just join a group to post your content. Be sure to join appropriate groups and comment and like posts of others.
The goal of course is to bring your prospects back to your website and to ultimately move them down the funnel. Finding the right channels and sharing will help you do this, provided you aren’t just pushing your own content only. Remember to build relationships and contribute to the Group.
4. Bring in the Experts
In addition to your own team of experts, reach out and create a Thought-Leadership Program. Build relationships with the Thought-Leaders of your industry and share their content and ultimately determine ways that you can have them participate in your content. A great way to leverage experts is through interviews. They are very busy and agreeing to do a quick interview is often the path of least resistance. The caveat of course, is building the relationship first.
5. Practice Consistency Patience
As mentioned in #3, the goal is to bring your prospects back to your website and to ultimately move them down the funnel. It would be great if this happened immediately and with every post. In reality however, this is not quite how it works. It does take time, consistency and patience. Posting good content on a regular schedule is critical to your success.
When you combine these four practices, content marketing will make a difference in your top of the funnel sales process. Want to learn more? Feel free to sign up for our newsletter at TaylorMade Solutions (insert “newsletter” into inquiry box)