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Content marketing can be an enormous goldmine of potential leads and sales. It can increase site traffic, educate users about your product, capture lead information, and push people through the funnel.
All content, though, is not created equal. This is something I’ve seen time and time again as a content marketer.
All too often, there’s a misalignment between sales and the marketing department, and the content just doesn’t quite bring in the type of actions or leads that sales needs.
So what exactly does sales need from content, and how can you make sure that your marketing department (and any third-party writers they’re working with) is delivering it?
Not to worry! In this post, we’re going to go over the types of content sales actually wants and how to create it.
This is a question I hear all the time— can content actually drive sales?
The answer is yes, when it’s created carefully and strategically.
If you’re not setting up a proper strategy with a dedicated funnel that’s designed to drive sales, you could end up with a lot of site traffic (and boosted pages in the SERPs) but nothing beyond that.
With a combination of time (because yes, unfortunately it does take some time— sometimes as much as six months or more), and a strong strategy, you can have a library of content that effectively drives and nurtures leads and helps your sales team convert more users.
Content can help you drive sales throughout every point of the digital sales funnel, and throughout their customer journey.
Let’s say you have an SaaS tool that automatically tests and optimizes Facebook Ads, for example.
Customers may search for a specific question, like “how to run Facebook Ads.”
They see a post from your brand going over the basics and walking them through the ad creation process. They remember your brand name, because the resource was outstanding; they might even save it.
Later, they realize they need help setting up custom audiences. They come back to your site to see what content you have on the subject. At the end of a blog post about custom audiences, they see the option to download an ebook about every audience targeting option available and download it.
Now you have their email, so you’re following up with regularly content. They see a free webinar about A/B testing and sign up for it. There, you promote your software and showcase how much easier and how much more effective you make this part of the process, and share real results.
This makes them sign up for a free trial, where sales gets involved.
And that’s how content marketing can actually help to drive sales. It captures users at different stages of the funnel, building trust and relationships and educating them on the product at the right time.
Keep in mind that some users may convert off a CTA to start a free trial after the first post they read, especially if they’re using a solutions-based query like “how to make Facebook Ads split testing easier.” Some may need a longer funnel, however. Having content created for all users is a good way to go.
All types of content can help contribute to sales if it’s executed strategically, and specifically content later in the funnel really helps to drive it— as long as it’s set up in a funnel.
As a result, it’s important to understand what types of content work for different stages of the funnel.
Remember that you can go beyond a blog. Webinars, ebooks, whitepapers, case studies, checklists, guides, and ilbraries of content can all have their place in a well-rounded content strategy.
The full-funnel content strategy matters. There’s no arguing that.
You need to have top-of-the-funnel content to cast a wide net so you can capture as many potential users’ interest as possible.
That being said, four types of content actively help push users aggressively through the funnel and are more likely to deliver quality leads to your sales department. Let’s look at each.
Content designed to appeal to your ideal customer profile (ICP) is going to be a winning strategy. It often involves creating hyper-niched content that makes it easier to reach specific segments of your target audience.
Let’s go back to our SaaS example that offers Facebook Ad optimization features. They may know that realtors make up a big chunk of their audience.
A post like “Facebook Ad examples” will be seemingly relevant to any user, but it comes with two catches:
Writing a post for keywords like “real estate Facebook Ad examples” or “Facebook lead generation ads for real estate,” on the other hand, will be full of relevant information that your audience is looking for. And it’s relevant to them.
Even if you aren’t niching down by industry, using other qualifying factors can make a big impact. “Sales enablement best practices” is a great general post, but most small businesses may be “priced out” of a lot of the expensive strategies discussed if it’s a general post. “Sales enablement for small businesses,” however, speaks directly to them.
ICP-focused content allows you to highlight how your product is a solution for your audience segment’s problems, appealing to their core pain points along the way.
Some posts are prime candidates for positioning your product as an ideal solution, featuring in-depth product feature reviews or tutorials showing different use cases.
Not every post will be… but some will.
The sales department loves this content, because it makes it easier for people to understand exactly what it is you’re selling and to see the value of how it can resolve their pain points. In many cases, this content also effectively starts the selling process by detailing what makes you different (aka your unique selling proposition).
UsableNet’s blog has some outstanding examples. They offer digital accessibility services to businesses, and their blog features high-intent content that goes over questions users will be searching for when they’re open to hiring an accessibility agency. Examples include How to Set Up an Accessibility Program and My Web Accessibility Experiences on Retail Sites: Common Challenges.
Content that features extensive product demos can fall into the category we just discussed above, but it doesn’t necessarily have to.
This content can easily include webinars, ebooks, videos, and blog posts. All content that’s published online (including blog posts and webinars) can include images or videos that show your product interface and different features.
Let’s discuss blog posts.
You might have a post titled “How to Set Up Facebook Ads Testing” that shows the manual testing approach in Facebook’s interface and then shows a step-by-step tutorial using your tool’s much more simplified approach with a link to a free trial.
You could also have a post like “How to Use Our Tool to Automated Facebook Ads Testing” that’s exclusively about your product.
You can feature this on your blog, or even create a “How To” library on your site that details how to use your tool. Yotpo does this in the example here:
It really just comes down to the approach you want to take, and what stage of the buying funnel you’re targeting.
Case studies are a great way to promote the real results and benefits you can offer clients in an easily-digestible way, and they’re outstanding when it comes to sales potential.
They allow you to feature real client stories and (in many cases) results, showing other customers that you can deliver on what you promise and that you can help them, too.
We’ve got an entire post on how to write great case studies (with a free template!), so read up on it!
Want to realy help sales get more leads (and revenue) from your content marketing efforts?
These seven tips will help:
And, perhaps above most other tips, remember to make sure that the content you create is actually accessible to your sales team. So many times we find that marketing and sales departments may be working together, but sales doesn’t seem aware of what content is out there.
Content Camel can help with that. We make it easy to store all the content your organization has created, and we make it easy to find it. Sales will have all the relevant content available at the tips of their fingers, whether they want to browse under different content categories or search for something specific. See more about how it works here.
Want to learn more about how Content Camel can help your content drive more sales? Book a free demo here.
Dead simple trackable links for all of your assets.
Aside from using a funnel-based strategy, the following strategies will optimize content to drive leads to your sales department:
Content Camel is a sales enablement tool used for sales content management. High-growth sales teams use our system to quickly find and share the right content for each specific sales situation and measure content use and effectiveness.