Storytime for Sales

Inbound Marketing is content marketing for sales.

The hard truth about creating content to boost your sales and marketing efforts is that it takes a well-developed strategy and a daily tactical approach to build results. Although a constant stream of new prospects doesn’t happen overnight, it will start to happen if you stick with the daily tactics and stay on course.

With the right content, placed where your audience lives online ,  special content will increase not only sales but also increase the return on all your marketing and sales tactics.

Don’t fall into the trap of measuring the wrong KPIs. 

How you measure results to show return on investment? For social media, if you’re measuring and reporting engagement (vanity measures), clicks, likes, and shares -change your focus to conversions and optimize your content for the right reasons. Optimize your content for your audience’s intent at each stage of the buyer’s journey. Measure intent by actions such as website page visits, time on the page and form conversions.

Ask yourself: does engagement drive conversions, or does it drive just a single one time click, like share or view? What do they buy? Do they give you their info for something you provide? Probably not unless you’ve help the website visitor find what they needed. Targeting intent can make the difference between just a visit and a conversion.

Today, most companies, nonprofits, universities, and government agencies use social media to create awareness. The problem is that they want a commitment to their brand but clicks and likes are what they get and measure.

You can use social media as a digital acquisition channel instead of just a brand awareness channel but that’s not likely to happen unless you define the strategy that helps your audience do one of three things: define their need or problem, provide a solution, get them to commit.

Your competition is using demographics, and segmentation but probably doesn’t try to understand the audience intent phases as much as they could. If you change your focus from defining a demographic group to defining the intent in each step of the path, you’ll stand out.

How do you define intent?

When you create content, remember it is time to establish a unique story instead of random posts of events or promotions. Your well thought out content strategy also includes research about your best audience research habits and their intent.

Some types of intent: curiosity, define problem, find solutions, and how to buy now.

Those could help guide your implementation and distribution to where your audience goes for trusted advice, education, and popular products.

Your content can either be owned by you such as a blog or social media. That content can be shared by others, and it can earn PR about your company or you can use your own content for paid ads on sites preferred by your audience.

In the past, you could buy your engagement but now a person’s online feed isn’t just one platform and their content is more topical, expensive to buy, and with an ever-growing number of segmented media choices it is clear that no matter how much you boost a post or pay to advertise – your reach decreases. But if you focus on creating content for your audience’s intent, you sell more.

Quote from a marketing professional during a recent summit online, “Something needs to change, and it better be a big game-changer.:

Here is the formula for game changing: grow a sustainable leads feed from social media!

1. Compose your story so relevant to your “best” audience’s intent in each step of the buyer’s journey that its authenticity gets noticed first as it helps them define their problem and gives them a brand they prefer.

2. Place your message where they live online by defining the when, where, how, and what of their intent during micro-moments online.

3. Then measure phone calls, website conversions, revenue generated, and # of sales before and after you launch the program.

You’ll know you have the best possible content strategy when the numbers start showing it. Simple as that.

“What is hard is implementing and testing as an integral part of defining success and KPIs. It’s a commitment, and someone has to lead it. It would be best if you had buy-in from both sales and marketing, and it has to be the only program you’re implementing. For example, it can’t be the side program with sales still running events out of their cars’ trunk. “, Marketing Director.

Are we there yet? Your sales team is your best source of customer data.

Sales team, “Work with the customers’ data, get to know the customer via sales feedback otherwise it is a waste of time”.  After sales surveys are underrated. Make it a habit to get feedback.

Personas represent your best audience

Who is the real audience? Use your customer data to make the story relevant to them. You have the data. It’s time to gather everything in one place and determine what to keep and what to throw out. You need sales and marketing to decide what does your best customer looks like, and they should build them like they’re in a CSI episode working on a crime scene, not data developer looking at numbers. Use an understanding of human bias and look at the buyer’s journey of current customers who you want to retain and find their lookalikes.

Product

The product you’ve created solves the audience’s problem, and they can’t find it anywhere else. If it doesn’t, then what else makes you different? It could be that you’re just the best at customer service. It’s a beautiful place to be, but how do you tell that story?

“Sales have been telling the best brand stories for years, possibly. Just let them tell you as the marketer what they’ve said to close a deal, and you probably have the story on your product.” -Recently heard on a zoom meeting.

Placement

Only use the platforms your audiences use.

The number of users on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, WhatsApp, YouTube, and blogs make them worthwhile to produce excellent content. But look at the latest data about social media platform use by age and other demographics before you invest your time on one that might not be the right one.

Here is a Marketo Definitive Guide article with data on social media platforms and helpful social media stats.

Tip! To be on the safe side, go with Youtube as at least one of your platforms, and then try out one other like TikTok or whatever is the latest one. Maybe your personas are on groups on FB, or they live in VR gaming.

It would be best if you did some research and surveys, and then, depending on the best customer personas you created, you’ll use those as your guide. Find and use a professional research consultant can save time and generate more money. If you can’t afford it, some surveys cost a lot less than building a whole campaign that ends up failing.

Quick Tip! Reuse the videos you’ve created for YouTube on those other platforms.

TEST and Learn! If you use Facebook insights, you can see which post had the best click-through rate. If sales are the goal, design a funnel with not just the sale as your measure of success but each step along the way.

Number of posts

You should post as often as appropriate for each platform, but the cadence for posting can change depending on the persona/target audience.

Tip! It’s easier to tell a relevant story if you know your audience. That’s why Personas are so important. They represent the person you speak to in your story. 

From HubSpot, a description of personas, “Donor Personas are fictional representations of your ideal donors. Use what you already know about your donor demographics and donor behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, inspirations, and concerns.”

A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better.”

Informed speculation might mean going out on a limb, taking a chance.

That’s a good thing. Taking a chance means you’re either going to fail big-time or make a game-changing event happen for your marketing. This is the perfect time to take a chance!

The problem with most marketing is that they want to be safe, conservative, and not take a chance. It’s up to you, but great marketing is going out on that limb and using data to help make sure it’s the right one.

Place your content in the small everyday moments. Post the videos that tell the what and why of your story, when and where of the personas’ day.

The content of the video is a whole other story!

Start today! Build a single story today for one micro moment and see results right away. 

Published by @denal1221

Acquisition and conversion strategist

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