Effective Content Planning – Put Your Work into Your Sales Funnel
To make your content marketing as effective as you can, think of the content you create as a stream that leads your audience from the initial discovery phase to actually buying.
Every piece of content needs to point somewhere, so build a cohesive flow of material.
Take stock of the content you already have and organise it. Then you can choose which pieces will go where in your sales funnel.
Your Sales Funnel – Start With Free, Sharable Content
At the opening of your sales funnel, you should offer free, shareable content. The idea is to cast your net as wide as possible. If your audience finds it helpful, they'll follow the link to find out more. Nothing should be promotional here; just focus on solving problems.
This is where you should put your “cornerstone” content. This is work that shows you at your best and helps to establish you as an expert in your field. Choose material that makes a great first impression.
Since the goal here is to increase awareness of the value you offer, use open, public marketing channels. Put your pieces online where your target audience hangs out. Make sure everything is fully optimised for search engines.
This material might include blog posts, videos, webinars, and free information products. It will lead to ‘gated’ content, where interested visitors get the chance to sign up for more exclusive content by giving their email addresses. This is the start of your very important email subscriber list.
Qualify Your Leads With Quality Content
Next, plan content that will build a relationship and qualify the leads that have entered your subscription list. This is high-value content that addresses key problems your audience faces. The topics here are more specific and it can include some promotional content.
This content should also engage people. Try to mix in some material that's interactive like surveys, games, or blog posts that pose a question. Social media is also important here because it's all about relationships. Create a personal experience and get people involved.
For this stage, you can use blog posts, social media content, email newsletters, exclusive content, webinars, and more involved courses.
Use Content To Encourage Your Prospects to Buy
This is the narrow part of your sales funnel where you're pitching offers and trying to get your audience to buy. The focus here is not to build a relationship but to lead your visitors to take action. The content needs to demonstrate to them why they should buy from you and remove any perceived risks.
The best material to use here is testimonials, video demonstrations, and reviews with clear calls to action. You need to show people the results they'll get if they buy from you.
The Fortune is in the Follow-up
Finally, you should have content to follow up with your audience after they buy and keep the relationship going. This would include further informational emails, exclusive free content to say “thank you,” and material to up-sell or cross-sell.
The key to content management success is to plan strategically and put each piece where it will count the most.
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