B2B companies that become frustrated with Sales’ and Marketings’ efforts to generate new customers may not have taken the time to understand who their target customer really is. It also stands to reason that, if Marketing and Sales efforts fail, PR and media efforts aren’t faring any better. Even though business content may generate a steady stream of coverage through generated content such as blogs and byline columns, if a company’s target market is not interested in what you have to say, what value does this bring? Very little.
An integrated marketing strategy must identify a buyer persona – or personas, if selling to multiple markets – that is well-defined and accurate. In addition, content must be created to target these persons as well that speaks directly to a company’s prospects and buyer. And, according to Start A Fire, who recommends the following five steps for targeted content marketing, your audience needs to feel that content has been created specifically for them:
- Drive traffic to the top of the funnel – First, create a free, highly-targeted digital product (such as an eBook or tip sheet) to promote on your social media accounts. Highly-targeted content will be deemed valuable by your audience and in exchange, prospects will provide their email address. Company blog posts also should be promoted through these accounts as well. The better targeted they are, the more traffic they will receive.
- Create great content – Content that is compelling, relevant and shows variety entices readers and will help it stand out about the clutter. For example, an infographic can provide a visually-appealing way to communicate content; case studies demonstrate how your solutions have helped others and will resonate with those who are looking for what you have to offer; blogs highlight your expertise. Also, make sure to optimize your content for the web, and improve engagement by encouraging comments and sharing. Most importantly, monitor your activities to find new ways to promote your content.
- Re-target content – Similar to the famous business adage about attracting new customers vs keeping existing ones, it also is more cost-efficient to convert existing visitors to your website than to create new content to attract new visitors. So, re-target complementary content on social channels such as Facebook and Twitter. Also, create and leverage ads that will not only help predict users’ online behavior but provide access to the type of content being consumed. This makes it easier to efficiently target customers by understanding their interests and presenting content that will appeal directly to them.
- Produce targeted content for every stage of the sales funnel – At the top of the funnel, create content specifically for a targeted audience. Make sure to research how people are engaging in your content by looking at time on site, shares and comments. Mid-funnel, close the deal but remember that content doesn’t end after a sale has been made. Instead, use this opportunity to reinforce to the customer that they’ve made the right decision through case studies, news and tips. Use this time to build existing relationships rather than just generating new ones. Start A Fire reminds us that this is connected to customer loyalty, which can make or break a product/service/solution by word of mouth and return visits.
- Support your sales team with customized content – This is key to the entire process because it helps Sales communicate with prospects and close transactions. The focus here should be on what the buyer needs rather than selling product features. To generate continuous feedback on the impact your content is having, schedule regular meetings with your sales reps. Also, create an opportunity that helps them identify every buyer persona and how they should be approached.
Generating sales is not a quick, one-shot deal. Rather, it is a process that takes considerable time and forethought. By combining content strategies and techniques, it provides your target customer with what they need, gives PR valuable tools to reach the right media audiences, and can result in loyal customers that positively impact your bottom line.