Reeling in leads can be like running a Spartan race in stilettos, drinking Baileys on a hot summer day, or listening to your Aunt Janice tell you about the time she had her hip replaced… possible, yet unpleasantly challenging.
All jokes aside, I know how hard it is to find that hook, that angle that intrigues buyers and makes them realize the worth of your product or services. However, captivating buyers early on with relevant, engaging content is the key to shortening the cycle and can be accomplished with the right data and a little bit of creativity.
According to Demand Generation’s “2015 Content Preferences Survey,” 67% of buyers rely more on content to research and make purchasing decisions than they did a year ago. What’s more, 45% of buyers reported that they must view three to five pieces of content before engaging with a salesperson; some respondents admitted to needing to see upward of seven pieces before speaking with a rep.
It’s probably a good time to evaluate the success of your current content marketing strategy. Buyers like to see a myriad of content before engaging with you, so make sure you have a wealth of content that is easily accessible to your website visitors. Ensure that you’re using different types of content—blogs, case studies and eBooks—to interest those who may want to see a variety of pieces.
An abundance of diverse, branded content will not only provide concrete information, such as product functions and prices, but will also enable your potential buyers to gain a deeper sense of your value proposition and personality. In a world of lofty marketing concepts and campaigns, there is nothing a customer appreciates more than you getting to the point and providing them with something of value.
When you offer your buyers all of the information they are looking for in one central location, you can shorten the buying cycle dramatically. You establish a trustworthy relationship between your brand and buyers by providing resonant content that incites action, i.e., content that makes your buyers want to speak with a sales rep.
But the secret ingredient to optimally accelerate the buying cycle with your content marketing is leveraging insight extracted from your marketing database. We must ensure that the business contacts information residing within our databases is accurate and complete so we can create content targeted specifically toward certain groups of buyers.
Here’s an example: if you have a group of small business owners from the same geographical location that have similar budgets, you can create a message that specifically mentions their location and links back to the products and services within their price range. In doing so, your buyers will feel that this message was personally tailored to meet their needs and interests.
Is your content marketing successful? Measure the average length of your buying cycle to find out. You might learn that you need to learn more about your contacts in order to create higher-quality content that engages and turns them into buyers.
Julie Saldarriaga is the Senior Content Marketing Manager for Dun & Bradstreet NetProspex. Julie specializes in content marketing, brand strategy development, social media, and graphic design. She is also a professional blogger and contributor for several publications, including Boston Magazine.
Editor’s Note: This blog originally appeared on the NetProspects Blog, Net Perspectives.