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Inbound Marketing Blog

    Battle Ready Marketing Ideas for EVERY Stage of the Buyer's Journey

    Posted by Bill Faeth


    Marketers have long recognized the power of blogging to engage potential customers, and are familiar with the need to post new content on a reliable schedule. Yet it is also critical to be sure you’re posting content that is right for your audience, making your readers want to engage—to share on social media and discuss with friends and colleagues—and opening the door to becoming leads in the sales pipeline.

    Engaging leads

    Raising awareness is an important first step in drawing potential leads to your site. This is an opportunity to position your business as a subject matter expert and brand yourself as a well-regarded company providing quality products and services. However, marketers should take care that these posts refrain from bragging, making outrageous claims or failing to focus on the customer. The goal of your posts is to guide potential leads toward visualizing themselves using your product, and then to continue delivering quality content after the sale. The most effective way to do that is through stories. Here are a few examples of the types of post content you can craft to help your business raise its profile in the online community and attract new leads.

    1. Multimedia posts

    Videos provide a terrific opportunity to showcase your product in action. If your customer’s new purchase requires self assembly, posting well lit, clear video can help him or her to put it together easily, accurately and without annoyance. Video can also show your product at work in a real-life situation; including testimonials showing real customers can help to boost the reputation of your business and the ease at which your potential new customers could see themselves implementing the product into their daily lives.

    Photographs are also important. Research demonstrates that blog posts containing visual content such as photos and video have longer relevance than text-only posts. Like a home cook trying a new recipe which uses unfamiliar techniques, your audience will appreciate the straightforward explanations and visual cues by which to compare their progress.

    Simply put, including relevant media content in your posts will help your readers to see your company as one which cares about and genuinely understands your customers. If a new contact has to leave your site to google a term or clarify a procedure, you’ve probably lost them to whatever site explains it better than yours does. This is a simple way to position yourself as a brand leader.

    2. List-type posts

    Articles comprised of lists are great for sharing bites of information in an easy to digest format. Lists give a pleasing shape for the eye to follow and allow the reader to gather its content quickly and effortlessly. Examples of list-type articles could include creative or practical ways to repurpose your product after its initial lifespan, or a roundup of customer-submitted photos and stories about your product, or perhaps less-obvious ways in which your product has a positive impact on the environment. Of course, you’ll want to think about list article topics specific to your business, products and key messaging.

    Qualifying leads

    The next critical stage in the sales pipeline is determining which of your leads qualify for more direct contact from your sales team.

    1. Lead capture forms

    This is the point in the sales pipeline at which you want to utilize your CRM software to capture lead information from your website. You can provide incentives such as an ebook download or a drawing, or you can encourage readers’ desire to be “first in the know” by promising (and delivering!) exclusive offers for a new product’s first launch, for example. You’ll want to be careful, however, to offer something of value to them in exchange for their information, and to make it absolutely clear how you’re going to use the information they’re providing.

    2. Social integration

    By integrating the power of social media into your blog presence, you can increase your ability to spread your content beyond the “walls” of your blog. One possible way to determine qualified leads is to ask readers to share a photo on social media of them doing something relevant to your business and product—whether that means, for example, taking a photo of handwritten ideas for creative uses of the product, or capturing goofy moments when your product would have made their task easier. If your readers are tagging you in content on their social platforms, it’s likely that they believe in the quality of your business and brand. You can then craft a sales approach to reach out to these leads with social media-exclusive offerings, if appropriate. It is important to remember that the audience who may follow you on Facebook is different from the audience who follows you on Twitter, and every social platform has its differences; craft your messaging accordingly for more effective marketing.

    After the sale

    Successful businesses nurture relationships with not only potential leads, but also current and past customers. Provide exceptional customer service—your reputation depends on it. Don’t just reach out with a sales pitch when you want your customers to spend more money on your products. Incorporate your blog into your efforts to build trust and loyalty among your customers.

    1. Instructional posts

    Here’s one last scenario. Consider the needs of your audience. How can you continue to help them, passively, after the sale? For example, there’s a possibility that the customer won’t have the instruction manual conveniently laying around when the product needs to be cleaned in six months of a year; perhaps a step-by-step explanation of how customers can perform routine maintenance on their product would be useful. This demonstrates to leads that your company doesn’t just offload widgets—it shows that you care about the products you carry and believe in their intrinsic and crafted value.

    Consider ways to implement various post content types such as we’ve discussed in ways which will continue to engage your most familiar customers. Encourage and celebrate their participation in whatever ways make sense for your business. Continue writing instructional posts, multimedia posts, lists and social content with existing customers in mind. Experiment with post types not mentioned here. Your blog will be a successful marketing tool if you keep in mind the many facets of your audience, and respond with a variety of post types to reach your audience where they are.

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    image credit: alexander rentsch/flickr/cc

    Topics: Lead Gen, Inbound Marketing