In theory, inbound marketing seems simple:
You create relevant and engaging content, attracting attention from social media and organic search, and then converting visitors to leads.
Automated email follow-ups warms up and moves prospects to become sales-qualified leads. At one point, the prospect receives a sales call where a seller closes the sale or get an appointment for a meeting face to face.
In practice, however, inbound marketing is not that easy. Especially for B2B companies, prospectuses expect high quality content before they reach a purchase decision.
So what is content in a decision-making phase?
There are many terms used to describe the different phases of the buying process. The typical terms are:
- Awareness phase – or top of funnel (TOFU)
- Evaluation phase – or middle of funnel (MOFU)
- Decision phase – or bottom of funnel (BOFU)
Content in the decision-making phase is very different to the content in the first two phases. It is in this phase that we begin to focus more on the supplier, the service and the product. This is where your sales representatives can use content as a tool to close more sales.
The goal of this phase is to use content that shortens the buying cycle, positioning your business as the best choice, and that the prospect is getting more confidence and wanting to buy from you just.
To increase the likelihood of making qualified B2B leads to customers in the end of the purchase process, we have here 8 types of content your sellers can use to convert prospects to customers.
1. Detailed customer stories
Prospects that are at the end of their buying process have consumed enough information from you to look at you as an expert and authority. Now they only need that last push before they can make a purchase decision, and here’s a good customer story a kind of content that achieves exactly this.
Social proof and good reviews from others are among the most effective ways to convince prospects that your business is the right choice for them. Instead of restricting you to showing only short reviews or logos to your customers, also create a detailed customer story that focuses on how your product or service helped solve a major issue or achieve an important goal for one of your old customers. The more handy numbers and results you can show, the better.
2. A brand filter
In an evaluation and decision-making phase, we want to educate prospects about how our company, service or product can solve their problem. Prospects that are in this phase should get a taste of what they can expect in collaboration with your company and prepare them for a sales call.
A brand filter is an important step in a digital sales process because it distinguishes prospects that are only looking for information and those who actually have an intention to buy. However, a brand filter is not an advertisement, but a resource that educates the prospect and provides hard facts about why your business is the best choice.
This type of content is similar to a customer story, but it is more hypothetical than historical. You will not get the benefit of social proof or positive reviews, but a brand filter can give similar effects when used properly.
For example, a brand filter can be a guide to how collaboration with your business will look like timeline and costs. It can also act as a calculator that helps prospects to calculate the return they can expect by using your solution.
The goal here is to make the prospect aware of how the process will look after they have become a customer, which helps them understand that a collaboration will work and make them sure that you are the right supplier.
3. Product demonstrations
A product demonstration is appropriate if you sell software for example. A product demonstration is simply a way to demonstrate the benefits and features a prospectus can benefit from. This is a type of content that helps prospects see how they can use the solution in their daily lives and evaluate whether they meet needs alternative or competitive solutions do not.
A product demo can be either a static video or an interactive video conference. A personalized demo usually works better as a seller can associate the features with the goals the prospect has for his business.
4. Personalized email campaigns
Once you have enough information about a prospect, you can start creating highly personalized email sequences that will follow up qualified prospects automatically. Once you have this information, you can send prospects highly targeted content bids that can help them convert to a paying customer without having to manually do this job.
Everyone who has experience with B2B sales knows that it’s far from enough to just generate leads. Subsequent sales work is at least as demanding, and personalized email campaigns can help the seller to send just enough information to a prospect without seeming to be insufficient.
A product-focused webinar resembles a product demo and adds an interactive component to your sales process. At the beginning of a sales process, topics about the industry may be better for increasing traffic and establishing yourself as a thought leader, but in a decision phase we can start focusing more on the product or service we sell.
In order to succeed with a product-focused webinar, you should focus on specific aspects of your product. Therefore try to limit the demonstration to a specialized 30 minute presentation that provides the most value for the prospect.
These types of webinars are especially effective in situations where you want to build up sales to existing customers. A good example is if you sell different types of software extensions that customers have to pay extra to access.
6. Blogs that focus on specific needs, segments or industries.
At the end of a purchase process, many prospects will begin to ask if your company has experience from companies in the same segment or industry. Different industries often have unique needs and problems. For example, a company that sells software will have completely different challenges than an accountant.
In a decision-making phase, it is therefore advisable to write blog articles that show prospects how your solution can help solve industry-specific needs and problems. Here you have to keep away from general and broad topics, rather focus on targeting a very specific audience. You may not get huge amounts of traffic and dedication, but this will be content that can have a powerful impact on the sale.
Once a prospect has become sales-qualified, you probably have a lot of insight into what information the prospect has already consumed. Thus, personalized content can be the key to convincing them to become customers.
7. Retargeting for strategic offers
In a decision-making process, a prospect requires only a small push to complete the purchase. In this case, using retargeting ads for strategic content, product pages, or price pages would be a perfect way to accomplish this.
Based on what you know about the prospect you can send them ads that direct them to the next step in the purchase process, whether it’s a product page, price page or a page to sign up for a free trial.
8. Price information
Price is undoubtedly one of the most crucial factors in a buying process and is also a type of content. Questions and information about price are among the most common requests businesses get, but yet there are many companies that have no information about price on their websites.
How many times does the subject of price show up in a sales conversation?
Inbound marketing is, after all, about answering questions the prospects have, and potential customers will not appreciate not having all the information they want readily available. If they cannot find the information they seek, they will look at your competitors.
The possibility here is to make you optimize your websites with price information. Good visible price information will at the same time disqualify leads that will not suit your business.
The question of price will nevertheless appear at some point in a sales process. Potential customers will appreciate that you are transparent and honest about what your products or services cost. And at least, you will save them a lot of time by giving them the answers they search for on your website.
Content, in other words, is not just something the marketing department can use to increase engagement, increase traffic and generate more leads, it’s also a powerful tool that wants to close more customers. Instead of being the annoying seller who only pitcher his solution, become a seller who can be seen as a reliable adviser that prospects wants to buy from.
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