Content marketing is an absolute necessity for brand survival in 2018.
You’re on the right track if you are currently creating and distributing content. But for those of you not seeing results from these marketing campaigns, it can be frustrating.
If you’re putting so much time and effort into this, why aren’t you seeing results? What’s the issue?
I see this problem a lot when I’m consulting businesses. They don’t have a clearly defined content strategy. If this sounds like you, it’s important you read this post carefully.
It’s great that you are continuing to publish new content. But this isn’t effective if your sales aren’t increasing.
Sure, content marketing can be used for many different things. Primarily, businesses use content marketing to:
- generate leads
- acquire new customers
- increase brand awareness
- establish credibility
- engage with an audience
All of these are great and critical for success. However, you need to learn how to create content that directly drives sales.
That’s why you got into business in the first place, right? You wanted to make money. I can sum up one of the best ways to create content that drives sales in just one word.
If your content isn’t relevant, you won’t see high conversions. It’s that simple. Follow this guide to find out how to drive sales with highly relevant content. Here’s what you need to know.
Understand how the conversion funnel works
Before you can create highly relevant content, it’s important for you to make sure you’ve got a firm grasp on the conversion funnel.
You’ll see different variations of this funnel depending on the marketing website or expert. It can also look slightly different depending on the industry and business model.
But for the most part, the conversion funnel can be broken down into three stages:
The top of the funnel occurs when a prospective customer becomes aware of your company. They’re conducting research or looking for an opinion. Basically, they need an answer to something, and they are seeking insight.
Once a consumer knows your brand exists, they enter the middle stage of the conversion funnel. This is the evaluation phase.
They are still conducting research, but now they are taking it one step further. Consumers are trying to decide whether your product or service fits well their specific needs.
Finally, the consumer reaches the bottom of the funnel when they enter the purchasing or conversion stage.
This is the area of the conversion funnel you need to focus on the most when it comes to creating highly relevant content.
The bottom of the funnel is your chance to explain to your customers why your product and service is the best for them. Show them how you differ from the competition.
Educate the consumer. Explain what it will be like for them if they become a customer.
Marketing campaigns that entice customers can include demonstrations, free consultations, free trials, estimates, quotes, coupons, and pricing. Basically, it’s anything to give them an incentive to buy.
Once you understand the conversion funnel and, more specifically, the bottom of the funnel, it will be much easier for you to adjust your content strategy accordingly to drive sales.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a B2C or B2B company, you’ll still need to evaluate your funnel.
Yes, you’ll notice some slight differences between the business models.
But ultimately, the funnel can still be broken down into the three stages I just discussed.
Create a customer journey map
Journey maps are a great resource because they take you through the buying process even further than the conversion funnel.
Your journey map will focus on events that take place after the purchase, instead of just before. While awareness and consideration will still be part of your journey map, you’ll also focus on your customer retention strategy.
Analyze how the customer behaves after their initial purchase. This is very important when it comes to driving sales.
That’s because you won’t always focus all your efforts on ways to acquire new customers.
In fact, you shouldn’t be. Yes, of course, new customers are great. But it’s less expensive and more effective to target your current customers. A journey map can help you accomplish this.
You’ll put yourself in the minds of your customers. Once you’re able to do this effectively, you can adjust your content strategy accordingly based on their points of view.
Track leads and conversions
Where are your leads coming from?
If you don’t know the answer to this question, it’s a big problem. This is one of the reasons why your content isn’t relevant and driving sales.
Knowing how customers discovered you can help you understand why they made a purchase. Based on this information, you can create content that’s more specific to their needs.
Since the majority of the customer journey is done on the Internet, it’s easy for you to track their behavior.
The best way to track your leads is with UTM parameters.
Not sure what a UTM parameter is? Don’t worry, it’s pretty simple. In fact, I’m sure you’ve seen this before.
If you’ve ever clicked on a link from an advertisement, the URL will be long and somewhat complex looking even if you’re just on a company homepage.
That’s a UTM parameter. It’s a way for websites to determine where a lead came from. For example, did it come from Facebook, Twitter, Google Ads, a social influencer, or email marketing campaign?
You’ll have different tags for each distribution platform to know precisely where the lead came from.
Furthermore, you’ll have tags for each post within a specific platform. For example, knowing it came from Facebook is great. But where on Facebook? Which specific post?
You’ll be able to figure this out with your UTM parameters. It’s easy to set these up with Google Analytics.
Just navigate to the “Demos & Tools” menu and select “Campaign URL Builder” from the list of options.
Another reason why UTM parameters are important is because they can help you accurately measure your ROI.
You know how much you’re spending on each campaign, so you’ll be able to see direct sales results to measure how successful everything was.
Just make sure you accurately fill out the entire form so you don’t get confused:
After you fill out the required fields, this tool will automatically generate a custom URL you can use.
I could go on and on about this topic. But I want to stay focused on creating content that drives sales. If you want a more thorough explanation, check out my ultimate guide to using UTM parameters.
Promote diverse ads on social media
Now it’s time to take this process one step further. I’ve explained what you need to know about UTM parameters, but now you’ve got to put them to the test.
Social media is a great place to do this because you’ve got lots of options.
You can use paid promotions to target specific audiences. You just need to come up with ads that use different types of content.
Start with a hypothesis. What types of content do you think will have the highest conversions?
This will vary based on your industry, business model, target market, and other factors. But you need to make sure each campaign is different.
Don’t get me wrong. You don’t want to waste money on irrelevant ads. But it’s important that you rule out content that doesn’t work early on. Remember, we’re focusing on relevancy here.
Then you’ll use the UTM parameters that you’ve previously set up to track how effective different ads were.
Now you can appropriately adjust your content strategy based on which ads had the highest success rates and directly drove sales.
Develop a customer persona
Now that you know which content speaks to your audience the most, you can develop a customer persona to improve your conversion rates.
This will help you learn more about the people you’re selling to. It’s similar to what we did earlier with the journey map, but a customer persona offers more detail.
Again, based on your findings, you’ll continue to adjust your content strategy.
Look at the factors associated with whom you’re selling to:
It’s much more specific to your broader target market.
That’s why you won’t just develop one customer persona—you’ll be building several of these.
Each one depends on many different factors. But ultimately, customer personas will help you develop relevant content strategy.
Take advantage of different formats of content
Don’t just stick with one type of content. Mix it up.
Some different strategies to consider include:
- case studies
- video content
This will vary depending on the platform you’re using and the audience you’re trying to target.
But based on the research you’ve conducted on your conversion funnel, customer journey map, UTM parameter tracking, and customer personas, you’ll have plenty of information for each type of content.
The best type of content is personalized. You can even use tricks such as storytelling to enhance your content. This approach will ultimately lead to more sales.
Research shows that generating traffic and leads are the top marketing obstacles businesses are struggling to overcome:
By diversifying your content strategy, you’ll increase the chances of your content appealing to a wider audience.
That’s because it will be relevant to their wants and needs.
Keep up with the latest news and trends
To stay relevant, you need to keep your finger on the pulse.
Understand what’s happening locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. Keep your eye on important news.
Also, keep track of news and trends within your specific industry. Analyze your competition. Did someone else beat you to the punch?
If a competitor is having success with a strategy, you need to know about it. Find some accurate news sources. Subscribe to industry newsletters and attend events.
Whenever something major is happening that’s trending, you can use it to promote your content.
For example, do you remember the ALS ice bucket challenge craze of 2014?
If you were manufacturing buckets or selling ice, you could use that as a marketing ploy for your content strategy. Even if you were selling bathing suits, goggles, and such, you could get creative.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you should try to take advantage of charities. I’m just trying to show how you can capitalize on trends and other newsworthy headlines.
Just be creative, and apply it to your content strategy.
You need to make sure your content is relevant if you want to generate sales.
Figure out how to leverage different elements at the bottom of the conversion funnel. Then, create a customer journey map to give you a better understanding of the consumer’s wants.
Use UTM parameters to track their behavior and measure the success of different campaigns. Promote those ads on social media.
Once you realize which promotions had the most success, you can build customer personas to dig even deeper into the minds of your customers.
Use the resources, tools, and analytics I mentioned to identify the type of content that speaks to your customers the most. Adjust your content strategy accordingly.
Stay up to date on the most recent news and trends to stay relevant.
If you follow the tips I’ve outlined in this guide, making your content more relevant, you’ll see a significant impact on your sales numbers.
What type of highly relevant content is your company using to drive more sales?