Diversifying Content for the sales funnel
Updated: Apr 6
In a low-touch economy we need more ways to connect and engage with our sales targets. Often when selling B2B products and services the sales cycle is long and involves multiple stakeholders who have different levels of influence requiring us to address pain points and barriers to purchase in the sales funnel.
The world constantly changes, and with new generations of the workforce adopting different approaches to buying, selling and digital engagement - it's important to look at how your marketing outreach can address these.
Here are some ways you can diversify your content while engaging with your target sales audience and stakeholders in ways to build credibility, trust and and product awareness:
1. Podcasts - create an industry or product focused podcast. Invite specialists, experts and partners to contribute content and enhance the value to your audience.
Podcasts have boomed in recent years, you just have to check out these stats from January 2021 to see the level of adoption. Podcasts have become much easier to record and distribute. Ten years ago we had to hire a studio, edit and extract the file, find a podcast hosting service then RSS feed to podcast platforms. Today, subscription-based services like Streamyard allow you to record live with multiple participants in both audio and video with options to stream live on social media. While podcast hosting services on a monthly subscription like Buzzsprout will distribute your content and provide listener and download reports.
Podcast audiences grow in time, and require an ongoing investment - just like a blog. You must be continuous and consistent, viewers visiting your page and seeing the last podcast was a few months or years ago will consider the podcast redundant. The more episodes you share the more previous episodes will be picked up by followers.
With our podcasts alone we were able to reach a significantly wider audience without live trade show events.
Keep podcasts short, sweet and simple. It's worth investing in a quality mic and work with an editor to make the show sound slick. For continuity, it's worth creating a backlog of episodes to continually release episodes.
2. Webinars and webcasts - explore online conferencing tools to create a programme of interactive events to educate your audience.
The webinar world exploded during 2020 as companies sought ways to connect with their audiences digitally when live events were not possible, in fact in just a few months of the pandemic hitting the webinar world saw a 36% rise in companies offering them. Webinars are nothing new, but the majority started to see the value in reaching a wider audience and sharing their message. It's a great way of getting people together to communicate expertise and thought-leadership, offer training and insights, and building product knowledge.
We've seen more webinars broadcast live with many traditionally physical events moving to a webcast model. However it's important not to be put off by attendance numbers, you may hear some companies talk of having hundreds of attendees - and you may only manage to get a handful or a dozen - but remember this is still more people than doing all communications 121, plus you can make the content available on-demand. In fact we have seen the audience double by making webinars available for later viewing.
Keep webinars to 45 minutes, make them visual and use more than one speaker where possible to add dynamism. Think about how you can include interactive elements including polls, surveys, Q&As, or an open roundtable. It's important to have a purpose for the webinar and what you hope to achieve.
3. Zoom coffee mornings - invite a small group of people for a roundtable-style discussion with experts and specialists to discuss specific subjects
It was all about Zoom in 2020, when its use grew 30-fold in just one month. But there are many other platforms you maybe familiar with like Hangouts, Teams, Skype, and even people are now about to use Whatsapp which can host up to 8 participants.
People are missing that connection with people, and when we spend all our times in our bubbles or speaking to colleagues - we have no room for speaking or engaging with other people or making new connections. Create specialist casual events where people can share best practice, their ideas, their concerns and use it as a forum to support one another - this can really help you build a deeper relationship with key contacts or prospects.
4. Ebooks - Downloadable content that can be shared
Content helps you capture sales leads and drive leads through the sales funnel. EBooks can be used throughout the sales cycle to build interest and awareness of the product and service. Use them at the top of the funnel, offering insightful guides to help them address key pain points in their role or within the organisation - provide Ebooks and guides to answer key questions at each stage of the decision-process.
It's important to consider your buyer and user profiles, with ebooks that target the different profile types and their differing pain points. Gating content enables you to capture email addresses, but using your CRM intelligently you can begin creating profiles of your leads and track the content they engage with to give you an idea at which stage of the decision process they are at. Ebooks are in fact believed to be the most effective form of content for B2B marketers.
5. White papers/reports - engaging and authoritative content, position yourself as a font of knowledge
Alike ebooks, white papers and reports are considered the most effective form of content marketing. However the difference to ebooks is that these tend to be more considered, thought-leadership led pieces targeted to senior decision makers.
Taking a more technical approach use your white papers to report Research findings, develop hypotheses, address industry and academic assertions, or explore innovation. This is how you as a business enable your customers to thrive and take leadership in their sector. White papers are more strategic in nature. Examples include product development reflections, thought leadership by exploring gaps in the market, academic literature reviews, data reports and analysis of industry trends.
White papers are also useful for PR purposes, trade and business publications are always interested in new research and findings. It's important you really understand your customers' pain points and the direction the industry is heading to provide real insight and leadership.
To learn more about how these can help your sales funnel, get in contact and let's have a chat firstname.lastname@example.org