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    06/25/2024 |

    How Your Prospects’ Questions Fuel Your Content Marketing Strategy

    Every week I speak with roughly 10 CEOs, CMOs or marketing leads at companies ranging in size from $5 million to $500 million in revenue. Interestingly enough, almost all of them admit that they don’t have a strategy around the content they are creating.

    This is a big problem. Content for content’s sake is a waste of time, money and resources.

    Instead, you should be creating a content strategy that’s 100% based on what your prospects want to know, what they need to know and what questions they have. The better you answer their questions, the more leads you’ll generate. Perhaps more importantly, you’ll get higher quality leads, generate more sales opportunities and find it easier to turn these leads into new customer revenue.

    Here’s how to do that.

    The Prospect Buyer Journey Is Key

    First, you need to understand your prospects’ buyer journeys and apply a very specific model. This means coming to the table with the stages and applying that to their journeys.

    We use our Cyclonic Buyer Journey™ framework. This eight-stage buyer journey represents everyone who could be a potential prospect for your business. This includes people who:

    • You want to sell to who aren’t even aware you exist
    • Know they have a challenge but aren’t actively looking
    • Are actively looking
    • Have decided on specific solutions but are considering their options
    • Are ready to evaluate a small handful of options or solutions
    • Have picked their solution and are still rationalizing it
    • Are making their final decision
    • Are working with their selected solution provider

    If you’re looking for scalable, predictable and repeatable revenue growth, you need all eight of these experiences executed perfectly. This is how your prospects move through their journey with you and ultimately select you at the end.

    Content Fuels This Execution

    In these eight stages, four are controlled by marketing, three are controlled by sales and one is controlled by customer service or your delivery team.

    All eight of the stages need content to help create an amazing experience that should differentiate your company, position you as the only company to do business with and make your prospects feel safe so that they can say yes and sign your paperwork.

    Almost everyone we talk to understands this conceptually, but there seems to be a breakdown with how to execute a content marketing strategy like this.

    One key ingredient makes this easier for almost everyone questions. Yes, the secret is understanding the questions people ask during their buyer journey.

    Your prospects ask different questions at different stages of the buyer journey. Your job as the marketing lead is to collect those questions. The place to start is with the sales team, because they know ALL the questions prospects like to ask.

    Then you can map the questions to the prospect buyer journey and start creating content that answers them. If you deploy that content correctly, you’ll see a significant lift in the number of anonymous visitors from your website who are converting on that content.

    You should also see a lift in people who are following you and engaging with your content on social media. Again, when done right, that engagement should also convert into more website visitors and leads.

    This content can also be leveraged in your demand generation ad campaigns. Once you unlock the questions and create the content that answers those questions, your overall marketing execution should significantly improve.

    Content in Sales

    Since we’re mapping content to the prospect buyer journey, sales is responsible for three stages in the journey, and this content should be designed to make their execution more effective.

    Yes, prospects are serving themselves content via your website, but sales is serving content to prospects too. Consider the age-old question, “Can I talk to some references?” Sales gets this question constantly and has to hustle to get a couple of people together. Then it takes another week or so for the prospect and the customer to have their reference conversation, delaying the sales cycle significantly.

    Instead, arm the sales team with a reference reel that they proactively serve to prospects before they even ask. This shortens the sales cycle, especially if the sales team positions the reel as having the same people they would be speaking with anyway.

    Make sure you have these later-stage questions mapped and arm your reps with the right content to answer these questions.

    Content in Customer Service

    Content can help you take care of your customers too. Customers also ask similar questions about your products and services. When you know these questions, you can create videos, FAQ docs, tip guides, checklists and other resources that customer service can share to help customers get the answers they’re seeking.

    These can be on your website, inside a customer portal or available for customer service to send to customers as needed. Regardless of how you deliver it, having these will make your customers happier, give them a better experience and keep them referring people to your company.

    Content Comes in So Many Forms

    When you start mapping content to your prospects’ buyer journeys, consider the wide variety of content formats available. Today, you not only need to know what to publish but in what format.

    Of course, you have your written and designed documents like whitepapers, e-books, tip guides, blog articles and checklists. We’ve seen a major lift in results when we publish tools like templates, frameworks and workbooks.

    But you should also consider videos at the top of your list of content for 2024. Video is the go-to format for almost everyone today. Keep the videos under three minutes and use them everywhere, even after they’ve been published on your website. Videos should go on your social channels, on your YouTube channel and be available for sales and service to share with prospects and customers.

    Podcasting and audio files are equally important today. Audio files allow people to consume your content when it’s convenient for them, such as in their cars, during a workout, on the airplane or while they’re walking. Again, make sure these audio files are produced in a podcast format and posted to all the normal podcast platforms as well as on your website.

    Finally, consider graphic content like infographics as well as interactive quizzes, assessments, grader tools and surveys. These typically take a little more time to plan, produce, design and launch, but they can also collect a lot more data on your prospective customers, making it easier to tailor your sales process accordingly.

    Pulling the Content Marketing Strategy Together

    A buyer journey framework provides the questions you need to answer, the format of the content and a schedule that aligns resources with the content you need to create. This provides the content marketing strategy you need to increase lead generation and shorten the sales cycle.

    Now you have to execute, and there are a couple of key concepts to keep in mind.

    First, make sure your content is multi-use, meaning you’ll use it on the website but also for promotion on social, in your ad campaigns and with the sales team.

    Next, keep the length in mind for everything. Shorter is better. One-pagers are better than 20-page documents, one-minute videos are better than five-minute videos and even quizzes and surveys should feature less than 10 questions.

    Finally, don’t think about content as “set it and forget it.” You have to measure the performance of all these pieces. Are people clicking to get them? Are people reading, watching or listening to your stuff? Which pieces are most popular and why? Which formats are most popular and why?

    Like all well-run marketing programs, content marketing requires data-driven optimization to make decisions about what to do more of, what to cancel and what to try and fix so it performs better.

    This optimization is key to improving performance over time. Now that you know how to create a content marketing strategy it’s time to get started. Even the longest journey starts with a single step.

    Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist headshot
    CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

    Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

    Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.

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