How to plan your content to generate leads and boost sales: Step 3: Choose tactics that achieve goals and engage prospects

A strategic content marketing plan in 5 easy steps

Introduction

Is your content achieving your goals?  Is it talking to your audience?

We have looked at how important goals are to strategic content marketing.  We saw how your audience changes through the sales funnel.  Now you need to develop content that will achieve your goals by engaging your audience.

Step 3:    Choose tactics that achieve goals and engage prospect.

content marketing tactics

This week we look at the types of content -tactics – that will support and encourage your prospects in their journey through your sales funnel.

For you see, the tactics you use to deliver your content will change, along with your goals, through the sales funnel:

  • At the top of the funnel your content needs to build AWARENESS
  • In the middle of the funnel, content must enable EVALUATION
  • At the bottom of the funnel, your content needs to CONVERT

Top-of-funnel tactics

At the top of the funnel you are striving to build awareness.  Awareness of your brand and your products.  Awareness that your solution will solve your prospects’ problem.  You may even need to make your prospects aware that they have a problem, a problem you can solve!

At the top of the funnel you provide quality information that informs your audience.  Content should be engaging and informative not full of hype.

There are many tactics that are effective at the top of the funnel. 

  • Blogs are a brilliant top-of-funnel tactic.  Provide relevant and timely information about your industry and provide it consistently.  Decide on a schedule and stick to it.
  • When you upload a blog you then post social media updates with links back to your blog and website.
  • Whitepapers are a great call to action.  By downloading the white paper, prospects are showing an interest.  Be ready to draw them further into your sales funnel.
  • Infographics provide information in an entertaining and easy to digest format.  By requiring an email address to download, they become a powerful call to action.
  • Newsletters build and maintain relationships.  Keep the content 80% information/ education and 20% about how you work, how you interact with your community, your employees.
  • Provide primary research on trends in your industry.  Conduct and report on surveys of your customers about their pain points, issues with current solutions, emerging trends.

Regardless of the tactic used, always provide value.  The top of the funnel is about building awareness.  Establishing trust. And that only comes through quality content provided consistently.

Middle-of-funnel tactics

In the middle of the funnel your prospects are evaluating your solution.  Making comparisons.  Showing some interest but keeping a distance.

Therefore, in the middle of the funnel, your tactics should provide information that will assist them in their evaluation of your solution.

content marketing tactics

What is a lead magnet?  A lead magnet is an irresistible bribe that gives a specific chunk of value to a prospect in exchange to their contact information. The middle of the funnel is all about lead magnets.  Lead magnets that compel your prospects to take action. 

In the middle of the funnel the best tactics that are also excellent lead magnets include:

  • Educational resources including case studies, free reports, eBooks, and white papers.  Numbered-list white papers are very effective in the middle of the funnel.  They provide information in an easy-to-read and skim-able format. 
  • Useful resources can be even more powerful than educational resources as lead magnets.  Checklists, templates, tool kits, resource lists all provide that chunk of value that compels your prospect to give you their contact information.
  • A quiz or survey on a relevant industrytopic can entice readers to divulge contact details as well as provide valuable information for blogs and articles.
  • Webinars and events are an opportunity to provide valuable content while gathering contact information.

In the middle of the funnel your tactics must continue to provide valuable information.  Information your prospects are willing to trade their contact details for.  Lead magnets that change prospects into leads.

Bottom-of-funnel tactics

At the bottom of the funnel you are striving to convert your leads into customers.  Here you need to provide specific details about your solution.  Enough detail to convince your lead that your solution will in fact solve their problem.

At the bottom of the funnel effective tactics include:

  • Showing how your solution works with a demo/free trial.
  • Providing specific, technical information in a backgrounder white paper.  Give your leads all the information they need to convince themselves that your solution will solve their problem.
  • Using customer success stories to demonstrate how your solution worked for a specific customer.  These stories are closer to testimonials than case studies.  The point is to demonstrate your solution and your services.

Conclusion

We can now see that the tactics you use change as your goals change through the sales funnel.  It is also clear that mapping your content to your buyers’ journey is critical for a good return-on-investment for your content:

Next week, we measure how well your tactics are working through metrics in:

Step 4: Metrics that mean something

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