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How to Create Lead Nurturing Content That Actually Works

Content marketing has a strategy problem. Research from the Content Marketing Institute found that only 41% of content marketers always or frequently produce assets related to specific points in the buyer’s journey. This stat is startling because it means nearly 60% of content is produced with only vague regard for where it fits in the buyer’s journey.

So questions like, “Is this content relevant to your audience?” or “Will this material help people make more informed decisions or overcome their challenges?” simply aren’t being considered often enough. These questions are cornerstones of any decent marketing strategy, so if you’re not using them to align your content to the customer journey, how do you expect to nudge people closer to making a purchase?

Why You Should Develop Lead Nurturing Content

Relevancy is a moving target. What people find interesting when they first interact with your brand will change as their understanding grows. As buyers move closer to making a decision, the questions they’re asking change. This is process is referred to as the customer journey, because the information needs of the customer change over time.

In fact, research by Aberdeen found targeting users with content related to where they are in the buying cycle resulted in a 72% increase in conversions. Your goal as a content marketer must be to supply the best answers to the questions your audience is asking at any given stage of the journey. If you can manage that on a consistent basis, you’ll establish your brand as a trustworthy source of information.

And once it’s time for the customer to choose a solution, your organization will be in prime position because of the trust you’ve built with your audience. This is lead nurturing in a nutshell. And it’s critical for producing revenue because the vast majority of people who come to your website are not ready to buy from you. But if you maintain a relationship with your audience through email and retargeting campaigns, you can nudge them closer to making a purchasing decision. That’s why nurturing leads produces, on average, 20% more sales opportunities.

But you can’t nurture leads without content. And to do that, you have to understand the series of stages buyers go through in the customer journey.

The 5 Stages of Buyer Awareness (and the Content You Need for Each One)

A lot of people would like you to think the buyer’s journey is a recent phenomenon. And while it may have changed in the internet age, the concept of buyers moving through a series of information gathering stages before buying something is nothing new. Way back in 1966, the legendary copywriter Eugene Schwartz classified the five stages of awareness buyers travel through before making a decision. These stages are:

  1. Unaware
  2. Problem-Aware
  3. Solution-Aware
  4. Product-Aware
  5. Most Aware

Schwartz theorized that the primary reason marketing failed was because it’s not aligned to the stage of awareness of the audience. Here’s a deeper look at each stage Schwartz outlined in his book Breakthrough Advertising:

1: Unaware

In this stage, the customer has no knowledge of your company or even that they have a problem that needs solving. Content for this stage of the customer journey doesn’t need to focus on selling your product or service. Typically, this type of content will be something more newsworthy, like industry research results or a narrative piece.

Types of content to create at this stage:

  • Infographics
  • Industry research
  • Human interest stories
  • Event recaps

For example, Atlassian wrote a story about 500 of their employees working from home for a week. Atlassian sells project management software, so this is article is only marginally related to their product.

Your main goal at this point is just to attract people to your site who have an interest in your industry. Atlassian’s article does a nice job of mixing a human interest story with a subject that potential customers would be interested in. If the content is good, people will come back for more.

2: Problem-Aware

When someone is Problem Aware, they grasp there is a problem, either in their personal lives or in their business. They don’t necessarily understand how to solve that problem, but they do want to learn more. Content at this stage should speak directly to problems your company solves without overselling your organization. At this point, the goal is to provide value without asking for anything in return.

This phase is the crux of building trust between you and your audience. You need to convince people you understand their problems, and explain how they can solve them.

Types of content to create at this stage:

  • Industry best practices
  • Thought leadership
  • “Why” posts that explain why industry problems occur

Contently uses the Content Marketing Institute’s annual event as a starting point for Problem Aware content. This article analyzes three big problems that are affecting Contently’s target market, i.e., content marketing managers. This type of industry analysis draws in marketers who are concerned about their content strategy and positions Contently as a trustworthy voice in the market. The post doesn’t mention Contently’s solution at all. Rather it simply provides education about problems that are relevant to readers.

3: Solution-Aware

Once someone decides their problems are pressing enough to fix, they move to the next stage, Solution Aware. In this stage of the customer journey, your audience is looking for solutions to fix their problem. This, my friends, is the first real time when it makes sense to emphasize the value of your solution in your content.

Now, the approach shouldn’t be to pontificate about your product specifically, but rather about the type of solution you’re selling.

Types of content to create at this stage:

  • Content that explains the benefits of your type of solution
  • “How x company achieved x” content that emphasizes your type of solution
  • ROI calculators

This Apptentive post listing reasons why you need a customer feedback system is a perfect example. The post begins by acknowledging where readers are at in the customer journey: “By now, marketers and product owners understand the importance of listening to their customers.” The writer knows the audience understands their problems, i.e, they need to listen to their customers. Now, she has to convince readers that a customer feedback platform is the right solution to that problem.

Product-Aware

When someone is Product Aware, they are considering specific products that are solutions to their problems. Finally, this is the time to put your company front and center.

Types of content to create at this stage:

  • Case studies
  • Comparison posts between you and your competitors
  • Testimonial videos

Your biggest consideration here is less about strategy — it’s probably not a surprise that you need case studies to persuade people — but rather how you execute it. Instead of gating their case studies behind forms, Appcues publishes blog posts that detail how companies have succeeded with their product.

The difference between good content and mediocre work at this stage is the detail with which you describe how your product helps people. The more specific you can be about how your product works to deliver value, the better.

Most Aware

Most Aware prospects are familiar with your product and the value it delivers. They just need an incentive to act.

Types of content to create at this stage:

  • Free trials (for product companies)
  • Free assessments (for service companies)
  • Limited time offers

Klientboost utilizes it a free proposal to convert people who are Most Aware. The process contains multiple steps, with each screen emphasizing the value of your free proposal. Once someone converts with this piece of content, they’re basically knocking on your sales team’s front door. In fact, I bet discussing this free proposal is the first step in Klientboost’s sales process.

The key to creating this type of content is to compel people to act in the moment. Your offer should reflect the immediate benefits your audience will experience.

Conclusion

Lead nurturing isn’t easy. You have to understand what questions your audience is asking at each stage of their journey. Then you have to create the right content that speaks to each of those needs. Then you have to plot automation campaigns to deliver the content at the right time (a subject we’re barely covered in this post).

The fuel for your lead nurturing machine is content. And if you don’t have the right content, you’re letting customers slip through your grasp.

Bio: Zach is the Director of Content at DePalma Studios, an agency that specializes in enterprise UX. Zach’s work has been featured in Entrepreneur, Invision, and ConversionXL.

Alternate Content Marketing Strategies besides Email

Alternate Content Marketing Strategies besides EmailEmail has the ability to deliver a large amount of content quickly and its traditionally strong response rates. It’s probably the king of direct marketing strategies, but don’t forget that there are many other ways to reach your leads. There are other online options, such as through social media networks and mobile devices, and offline options, like direct mail or promotional materials. If you’re wondering how your company can take advantage of all these different ways to reach your leads, keep reading to learn how marketing automation companies such as Lead Liaison can provide a comprehensive alternate content marketing strategies that will benefit your business.

Social Media

Social media is becoming an increasingly vital element of any company’s online presence and overall marketing strategy. However, many small to medium sized businesses end up largely neglecting this important medium. There’s a large time investment required to cover multiple social networks and the demand for constant supervision. Lead Liaison’s social media management tools can help your business by allowing you to schedule your social media posts, removing the day-to-day upkeep that can bog marketing departments down. And if you simply can’t keep up with the content required to maintain a healthy social media presence, don’t worry! You can outsource your content creation needs to Lead Liaison, who can deliver quality content on topic and on time.

Text Messaging

While directly text messaging marketing materials is certainly a bit more aggressive than an email campaign, it gets results. Text message marketing receive a 98% open rate, which is substantially higher than the numbers email can provide. Using the data collected from your marketing automation tools and social intelligence software, you can narrowcast marketing materials and hit the right demographic at the right time to make the sales you need.

Direct Mail

While it may seem a little old school for a marketing automation strategy that relies on instant communication and data collection from the internet, direct mail remains an incredibly effective way to get a lead’s attention and get him/her interested in your product. A fact in the marketing world is that different leads react in different ways to different types of marketing material, and a lead who has generally ignored your email campaigns might finally become intrigued when a piece of marketing material lands on their desk.

Promo

Another old school method of marketing your company and your products is through the creation and distribution of promo materials. Nothing helps people remember your product better than seeing it on their desk with branded promotional materials!

If your company doesn’t have the resources or connections to arrange a large scale direct mail campaign or produce promotional materials, Lead Liaison can help. We can organize mailing campaigns and point you in the right direction to design promo items that reflect your company’s brand, and will help you convert leads to sales.

To learn more about how Lead Liaison and how marketing automation can help your company, visit Lead Liaison’s marketing automation blog online.

How to Create Content to Appeal to a New Market

How to Create Content to Appeal to a New MarketOne of the great advantages that marketing automation can provide for your company and your marketing team is its ability to send very specific content to a very specific audience. While it is true that you want all of the content delivered by your company to remain cohesive and consistent, with marketing automation you can gather specific demographic information about different groups and then send them targeted marketing materials. This gives you a great advantage over competitors who are simply blasting marketing material at anyone who might listen. It can be incredibly valuable if you are trying to secure a new market for your products or services. Keep reading to learn how to create content to appeal to a new market, and how software automation can help.

Tips for Reaching a New Market using Marketing Automation

The tools your marketing team will have access to when using marketing automation software such as Lead Liaison gives your company a unique opportunity to gather a great deal of intelligence about your new leads and how they react to marketing materials. Marketing automation software can collect data on things such as clickthroughs on emails sent out giving you a precise idea of how effective your marketing strategy is. Social intelligence functionality can pull demographics data from social profiles to help your marketing team refine new content. And always remember, content directed to a new market should be educational – as overselling can be disastrous.

Quality Content can be found from Marketing Automation Providers

When you’re looking to attract a new market, you should be sure that you have a campaign with enough content prepared to see it through. However, marketing teams can be stretched thin while trying to develop a whole new set of content and managing existing content delivery strategies. If that is the case, you can always consider outsourcing content creation. One excellent provider of quality marketing content is Lead Liaison, who can provide your company with access to thousands of professional writers to create marketing content.

When you need content from Lead Liaison, the process is very straightforward and totally transparent to ensure you receive high-quality content on time. You can direct the type of content you wish to have created for you, such as blog posts or web articles, and then give Lead Liaison a description of what you need the content to address. Lead Liaison will assign the content to a writer who is familiar with the subject, and the content is delivered to you within five days. However, if you need it sooner, you can place a rush order and will receive your content within three days. You can then review the content and request any edits you would like to see, and will ultimately end up with high-quality, ready to market material.

Visit Lead Liaison’s marketing automation resource blog to learn more about creating content to appeal to a new market, among other great marketing strategies.