Nurture & Convert: The Multi-Step Content Strategy to Turn Visitors Into Sales
Many marketers ask me about how to close the gap on their content marketing.
They’re successful at driving traffic to their site. They might even get email subscriptions or leads coming from the content.
But, they can’t figure out why that traffic and those leads aren’t converting into sales and revenue.
The truth is that much of the content that you create and publish on your website and your blog is just a first step in the customer journey.
Sure, you’re are generating more awareness and getting clicks and pageviews. But, at the end of the day, that’s not why you’re doing content marketing—right? You’re doing it to grow the business. So you need a strategy that will drive a user all the way from a visitor to a customer.
In my post outlining 7 Fundamental Content Marketing Frameworks, I explained how many B2B companies can implement a multi-step nurturing campaign—using content—to move prospective buyers through the funnel.
Today, we’re going to focus on the framework I outline for B2B companies looking to nurture visitors into leads or sales.
It looks like this:
At the most basic, this looks like a pretty standard nurturing sequence.
Using a tool like Autopilot, you can identify segments of your audience that have viewed specific content and send them targeted emails that help nudge them along to the next stage in the customer journey.
In a more complex implementation, you may use a platform like Facebook to create and nurture segmented audiences by retargeting them with content relevant to the next stage—this compounds your efforts.
Whatever the specific implementation, the process is the same.
You want to create a sequential series content that aligns with the buyer’s journey. Then you want to use that content to move them through the process.
Let’s walk through how it works.
The “awareness” stage of the buyer’s journey is the top of the funnel.
This is where a prospective buyer is introduced to your company through content you create that is relevant to them. It is almost never product-focused.
Instead, the content is likely evergreen content (keyword focused) or social/viral content targeted to attract a specific key audience to your site. It speaks to their role, their goals, or their worries. Since we’re talking specifically about a B2B audience, this is within the context of their job.
This very article that you’re reading—on the Autopilot blog—is a form of this top-of-the-funnel content meant to drive awareness.
I’m not selling Autopilot’s product or talking up their features in this post. But by sharing this information on their blog, I am attracting people to their site who are interested in learning how to convert visitors into customers. These are people who may be looking for a nurturing tool or customer journey solution.
It’s not hard to see how those of you reading this right now could become leads or customers for Autopilot down the road (if they follow the rest of this article, of course!)
In other words, this post is raising awareness for their website and their brand.
This is the first step in the customer journey. In order to begin a relationship with a prospective buyer, you need to make them aware of your existence—you need to speak their language.
This stage of the process is where you look to generate some interest from the prospect.
In this case, what I mean by “interest” is that you introduce a possible solution to a problem that the prospect may or may not know they have.
At this point in the process, you should still avoid being overly salesy. You may even avoid introducing the product or service that you’re selling at all. Instead, focus on pain points that the buyer feels and help them find a solution to that particular issue.
If I were to continue with building this marketing funnel for Autopilot, I may retarget all of you who are reading this article with something like this:
Assuming that you are reading this because you are interested in nurturing and converting more visitors, one pain point that you will likely have is unifying your communications across channels. This blog post addresses that specific need and will (should) pique your interest in finding a solution to implement.
In the decision stage of the buying process, your prospect is aware and interested in your product, but they aren’t sure if it’s the right fit.
They may be comparing your product to a competitor or just generally on the fence about whether they have need or fit for what you’re offering.
You can help them make the decision by targeting them with content that is specifically aimed at driving home the value of your product or service. In particular, you want to emphasize that they will be able to generate value in addition to the cost or time it will take buy and implement your solution.
Ideally, your prospect should read this piece of content and feel confident that they do, in fact, need a solution and should invest in solving this particular problem or pain point.
To continue nurturing you as a reader, I’d target you with content like this from the Autopilot site:
This case study speaks specifically to the problem that you are trying to solve.
But, more importantly, it frames the results in terms of growth for the business. As a marketer or business owner, you want to see results not just a generic case study. This story is compelling and offers a clear solution.
Will you decide it’s time to pull the trigger?
Finally. It’s time to capitalize on all of the nurturing you’ve done.
In this final content stage, you want to show the prospect what it is your product can do for them and get them to take an action—to invest themselves in the idea of finding a solution.
Autopilot has a beautiful content offering that aligns perfectly with this stage of the process in their Flight School.
This step-by-step learning process introduces the fundamental strategies and tactics that set their product apart and allow their customers to specifically solve problems related to marketing across the entire customer journey.
But, more importantly, when people sign up, they are taking that first critical action. They are raising their hand and saying that they are ready to buy or find a solution. At this point, it’s obvious that those entering the program are nearly ready to become a customer.
I’ve written a lot about content marketing strategy and how to implement different frameworks for different kinds of companies.
But keep in mind that it’s never a one-size-fits-all solution.
Even a framework like this, which seems like a sequential process from point A to point B will change and vary depending on your buyer and their journey.
The most important thing is to try to create an automated system for moving prospects through your funnel. Once you have that working, you’ll be able to tweak and optimize each step to improve performance and generate bigger results.
About the author: Tyler Hakes is strategy director at Optimist, a full-service content marketing agency that helps create sustainable growth for startups, SaaS, nonprofits, and agencies through strategic content and SEO. He’s worked in marketing and writing for nearly 10 years.