Content marketing is king, and it will be for the foreseeable future. Fortunately, you don't need to be present for every step of your content creation or distribution - choosing the right automation tools is the key to optimizing productivity during the buyers journey.
The most important aspect to remember about modern content marketing is that it is now necessary at every stage of the sales funnel. Obviously this means a jump in production that most small companies would not be able to handle without automation.
The first step in choosing the right tools is to understand the buyer's journey in its totality. There are three major steps:
- Awareness - People are searching for answers in general. They are considering a great deal of data and opinions from across the board. They will engage with ebooks, social media and blog posts in order to get a feel for a company. A business should look to add value here, not close sales.
- Consideration - Prospects have usually narrowed down their options at this point and are researching fewer solutions more deeply. During the evaluation stage, you are showcasing your solutions as the best option for targeted customers. You are also consciously reducing your customer pool to avoid customers who are not a good fit. This will help a company avoid negative reviews and high churn later on.
- Decision - Prospects are now seriously looking into the buying process for the company that is most suitable for their needs. Just because a prospect has made it this far does not mean that prospect will buy from you. However, this is where customers will engage with your CTAs and hard sell tactics.
Depending on your industry, your funnel may be a bit different; however, the same basic three steps usually apply. For instance, B2C prospects usually spend more time in the second stage while B2B customers will be in stage one for a much longer period. Audiences can vary, and creating valid buyer's profiles will be of great importance to an effective content strategy, especially one that involves automation.
Your job is to target each prospect with content that recognizes where he is in the sales funnel.
Building & Fostering Awareness
Blog posts, ebooks and white papers with original research will improve your reputation with prospects in the awareness stage. Content must contain valuable information- don't be afraid to include media, videos and even online courses and educational content in the mix.
You may include a sales pitch in this initial content, but it should be focused on adding value to the customer/company relationship. Prospects will then make their own decision to move down the sales funnel instead of being pushed by the company (a strategy that is becoming less effective with every new generation of online customer).
Hubspot allows you to automate marketing and sales processes, running your blog, email drip campaigns, and your customized workflow to best reach those who are interested in your services. Hubspot allows you to queue up blog content on a specific schedule- meaning once you've got a backlog of content, Hubspot will fully handle the distribution and publishing. It will also automate your entire email campaign process, providing you the choice of triggers, conditions and actions to target the perfect email at the perfect time. Since these workflows are integrated into the platform itself, you'll be able to continue growing your database of potential clients as those who are a less perfect fit drop off in the consideration phase.
Targeting and Streamlining Consideration
Once a prospect moves into the consideration stage, blogs and other generalized informational content become less effective. Companies will need a more personalized engagement - it is time to qualify prospects and lead nurture those that are receptive. In short, customers will begin eliminating options at this stage, something your business should do as well, so you're not wasting time and money on leads that aren't promising.
It is very important to resist the urge to appeal to everyone at this stage of the process. The consideration stage is meant to help a company save time and money by focusing on the highest value customers.
Hubspot allows you to easily create targeted workflows, giving you the tools to build both simple follow-up campaigns, and complex multi-step campaigns with the same ease. You are able to use your contacts database to personalize each email for the recipient, increasing the likelihood of finding success with your clients. The best part of the automated way in which Hubspot executes on tasks, is that it would normally take a large marketing/sales team to pull off much of what Hubspot does automatically. This leaves your team the time and focus to engage in creating targeted content, and making educated and pointed sales to potential leads most likely to convert.
Finalizing and Closing the Deal
The call to action includes offers for free trials, demonstrations, downloads and estimates. The trick is to keep this puppy on its leash until the prospect is ready. Use your workflow to guide leads towards landing pages that have been built to be targeted and specific. Displaying the right offer at this stage of the sales funnel is absolutely crucial for closing deals smoothly, and will reduce time spent hawking for sales.
Hubspot closes the divide between sales and marketing with an efficient and effective CRM, creating a more effective closing process and allowing your sales and marketing teams to focus on the individuals they are selling to. Sales and marketing teams work in unison using Hubspot, and it is most apparent in this final step, where well-curated leads have been guided through to the crucial final step of closing a sale.
Download the Hubspot Growth Deck, for further information on how Hubspot can streamline your lead process with less effort, and more efficiency