91% of (B2B) and 86% of B2C) businesses use content marketing to reach their customers.
But reach isn’t everything.
For most businesses, sales numbers are far more important than their website traffic or their social media followers.
So how does content marketing affect sales? Is it really just about getting traffic to your site, or is there more to it?
This article will explore the link between content marketing and sales, and show you how creating and sharing the right content can help you drive sales in your own business.
The Link Between Content Marketing and Sales
The connection between content marketing and sales lies in something called “the buyer’s journey.”
The buyer’s journey is a framework that marketers use to talk about the customers’ progression through the research and decision process which ultimately leads to a sale.
With so much information online, 67% of the buyer’s journey now happens digitally.
What does that mean for you? Before speaking to a sales rep, your customers have probably already checked out your website, seen your social media posts or interacted with your content in some other ways.
If you can produce and share digital content that goes hand in hand with your sales strategy, you have an amazing opportunity to drive sales by influencing your customers at every single stage of the buyer’s journey.
5 Ways Content Marketing Drives Sales (Using The Buyer’s Journey)
1. Introduce yourself as a trusted source of information (Awareness stage)
If the customers’ first interaction with your brand is through your website, chances are, they got there by searching for additional information on a specific issue they are interested in.
This is what’s called the Awareness (or Discovery) stage of the buyer’s journey.
The content you produce for this stage should be primarily informational, with little to no intervention from your sales team.
It’s all about introducing your brand to your customers, building trust with them and planting the seeds of the relationship that will help you win them over in the future.
Publishing timely, relevant content that answers common questions your customers tend to have a great way to start.
This will give your customers a general idea of who you are and what you do, and entice them to move forward.
2. Show them how you could solve their problem (Consideration stage)
Once a prospect understands who you are (awareness stage), they are going to dig deeper and see if you can actually help them solve their problem.
To show customers they have come to the right place, you have to get very specific about what you do.
Most companies have a “Solutions” or “Services” page on their website, but it tends to be overly complicated and difficult for the customers to understand.
Moreover, a lot of companies fail to provide their sales teams with Consideration stage materials, such as a guide to leave behind after a sales meeting.
If your content clearly describes your company services, your sales reps will have to spend much less time clarifying basic concepts and clearing up misconceptions.
Instead, they will be able to focus all their energy on guiding the prospect to the next stage of the buyer’s journey: the evaluation stage.
3. Show them you’re a perfect match (Evaluation stage)
While the consideration stage allowed your customers to understand what you do (and which problems you solve), evaluation stage is about how well your solution would work for these customers specifically.
Evaluation stage content needs to be very clear and very specific. Case studies, detailed descriptions of your product’s integration capabilities, as well as competitive comparisons, work well in this context.
Some companies like to keep Evaluation stage content off their website and strictly to their sales enablement materials due to competitive or intellectual property issues.
That’s okay, but remember that your website is not the only place your customers can go to evaluate their purchasing decision.
You should also keep an eye on third-party content (e.g. content on review sites) and make sure there is a positive consensus about your product.
Be proactive: ask previous customers to leave reviews to help build your reputation online. Developing relationships with big consulting houses (e.g. Forrester) can be helpful as well.
4. Close the deal (Decision stage)
The decision stage is about answering the question “Is it worth it?”
This includes much more than your price point. Your customers need to have a clear understanding of costs versus benefits. This includes the costs that come after buying the product itself (e.g. adoption and maintenance costs).
Your content can answer the “Is it worth it?” question better than a sales rep can.
Planning templates that outline each step the customers will have to take after purchasing your product or service are really helpful, as are free educational resources, training videos and adoption guides.
5. Turn them into a repeat buyer (Retention stage)
If you want to retain your customers and maximize client lifetime value, create content that speaks to your customers’ needs and interests.
It will help you nurture the relationship you started, increase brand awareness and turn customers into repeat buyers.
How Handmade SEO Can Help You Drive Sales
Here at Handmade SEO, we don’t just grow traffic.
We use our content marketing chops to lead your visitors through every stage of the buyer’s journey, help you build trust with them and drive sales.