So, you’ve become pretty convinced by the inbound marketing methodology of late, and you’ve decided that it is the approach that your company needs to take in order to attract more customers and convert more leads into sales.
In my last blog, I spoke about aligning your offers with each stage of the sales funnel or buyer’s journey or buyer’s journey in order to get the best results out of the material that you are offering your customers. So, now you know that a large part of the inbound process is content marketing and that high-quality content is needed in order to lead your customers to the next stage of the funnel.
The following types of offers are the most popular, and are placed according to their ability to generate the most leads:
- Ebooks and guides,
- Templates and presentations,
- Research and reports,
- Live webinars,
- On-demand videos,
- Demo requests, trial offers, case studies and sales ready offers.
However, you can’t just look at the list above and think “Ah I will produce the top three offers at every level of the buyer’s journey and I am bound to get incredible lead generation!” The thing is that not all offers are equal, and some are more effective than others at converting leads, and nurturing your customers down the sales funnel. You can’t simply ask “Which offer is better?” or “Should I create an ebook or blog post?” And then try to apply it to your whole campaign.
You need to break up your buyer’s journey into its three phases: awareness, consideration and decision stages. Then you need to produce content on each level that is knowingly more effective at that stage of the funnel. In short, you need to ensure that the right information is being created to reach the right people at the right stage of their buyer’s journey to get the best out of your content marketing strategy.
Here I will break down some of the various types of offerings and where their best fit is with regards to the stages of the buyer’s journey:
Ebooks and Guides
Ebooks and guides are highly effective types of offerings in content marketing, and if used correctly they have the potential to convert tons of leads. While they can be used in the awareness stage – they are undoubtedly more effective in the consideration stage. At this stage buyers are aware of your brand, and that you offer a solution to their problem. A good ebook or guide is the perfect offering to give them the detailed information that they are looking for.
Research and Reports
Research and reports are an integral part of any successful content marketing strategy, and they provide an excellent avenue to showcase your products in a professional and statistical form. They can be used in both the awareness and consideration stage, but are best suited to the awareness stage where the buyer is still researching their problems. They allow you to provide a possible solution to your customer, while also proving that you are a thought-leader in your industry. This, in turn, will lead the buyer further down the funnel into more detailed reports and competitive comparisons that will start to show the customer exactly why they should choose your product/service.
Live Webinars and Videos
Live webinars and videos present another opportunity for you to showcase why your product or service is the best option to solve your customer’s problem. They have come through the awareness stage already and they are now in the consideration stage – meaning that they are searching for the most appropriate and effective answer to their questions. Live webinars and videos are a more personalized way to offer information to your customers and form part of building up a trusting relationship with them, which is an integral part of the consideration stage.
The undisputed favorite amongst marketers in their content marketing strategies is blog posts. High-value blog posts are relevant, informative, educational and versatile. They can be used in both the awareness and consideration stage to great effect. Blog posts in the awareness stage are often catchy and broad – covering topics that will make your consumers aware of your brand and the solutions that are out there for their problems. They can then be fine-tuned further down the journey in the consideration stage, where comparison and statistical blog posts can be used to help the consumer see that your product or service is better than the rest and exactly what they are looking for.
Demos, Trial Offers and Case Studies
Although these three types of offerings came in at the bottom of our list – that doesn’t mean that they aren’t effective. The reason that they don’t rank all that highly when it comes to converting leads, is because they are found in the decision stage. This is the last stage and smallest part of the funnel, which naturally means that the number of customers is much smaller than at other stages of the sales funnel. More often than not, customers at this point just need a little nudge to purchase your product or service. Demos, free trials, and case studies give your customers the opportunity to try out your product, and if it’s good (which hopefully it is) then they will, in more cases than not, move on to purchase whatever it is your business is offering.
At Rise and Shine, we work with a variety of companies to create and implement lead nurturing strategies and a custom follow-up of leads that enable businesses to get the best out of their inbound marketing approach. If you would like to know more about lead nurturing and ways to get a better lead conversion rate for your company,download our new and exciting ebook 30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips Tricks and Ideas.