In an age of information overload and ChatGPT, delivering relevant and valuable content to the right audience at the right time has never been more important. That’s because nurturing leads is a crucial opportunity for companies to build trust, establish their brands, and help alleviate pain points for their prospects.
In content marketing, it can be tempting to focus on goals such as high open and click-thru rates. While these metrics are certainly important, especially when it comes to domain health, ensuring that your content enables your sales pipeline is the most critical part. This means that you know exactly which content piece engaged a prospect before they booked a sales meeting or entered the sales process.
In this blog, I’ll share our best content nurturing tips, including how to tailor your content to the prospect’s stage in the funnel and measure content performance for actionable insights.
Tailoring Content By Marketing Funnel Stage
Before planning out your content, it’s important to understand the different stages in the marketing funnel: the top (TOFU), middle (MOFU), and bottom (BOFU).
Content for prospects at the top of the funnel should focus on creating awareness around your company, while content for the middle of the funnel should focus on helping prospects evaluate different options. Only content for the bottom of the funnel should facilitate converting your prospects into customers.
It’s important to note that even for BOFU content, your content should still focus on serving your prospects, not selling to them. Heavy-handed sales language or aggressive messaging can be a turnoff and at the end of the day, people still buy from people. Use content as a tool to establish trust, saturate key accounts, and tee up at bats for your sales reps. This will ultimately improve conversions by allowing your reps to spend more time building relationships and establishing themselves as the right solution partner to the right folks.
For ideas on appropriate content pieces by funnel stage, as well as a more comprehensive breakdown of our content strategy, check out our blog, How to Effectively Create & Distribute Content that Enables the Pipeline.
How Content Enables the Sales Pipeline
When companies don’t know which content pieces are driving new business opportunities, they aren’t maximizing their content efforts. At first this might seem like a contradiction—if the purpose of content is to serve, not sell, why should we focus on how it enables the sales pipeline?
First, sales reps are more effective and have improved connect rates when they prospect engagement-driven lists. Sales can still hunt their own cold leads, but they should absolutely prioritize engaged contacts. If your reps have time to make 20 dials, let’s make it 20 dials to the most engaged prospects. This is where AK Operations still sees 10+% connect rates!
Second, meeting conversion rates are higher due to the consultative nature of pre-meeting activity. By automatically logging the pieces that a contact engages with, reps are informed of a prospect’s motivations for meeting. Then, at the first meeting or on the first call, the rep is in a position to overcome early objections and build a use case right out the gate—ultimately shortening the discovery period, personalizing the meeting, and continuing to prove their company as a resource.
Measuring Content Performance for Actionable Insights
Sales reps are notoriously busy, so it’s crucial to set up proper automation that reliably tracks which content pieces are driving new opportunities. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how we achieve this in HubSpot:
- Create an appendable, multiple checkbox property on the contact object called MQL Conversion. This will log the titles of the content pieces that prospects engage with.
- Create a workflow that triggers when a contact engages with a content piece and appends the title to the contact’s MQL Conversion field.
- Create a workflow to copy a contact’s MQL Conversion field to a deal field of the same name if that contact becomes an opportunity and associated with a deal.
- Create a workflow that triggers if a contact engages with the content piece just prior to booking a meeting, and mark the deal source as Demand Gen (or however you want to label your content nurturing as a deal source).
- Build contact and deal reports to measure the impact of each content piece, whether that’s the number or value of opportunities driven by each content piece.
- After building all of this out in HubSpot, be sure to regularly review your reports so they drive strategy. After all, that’s their ultimate purpose! And don’t forget to seek out feedback from sales. Although their feedback may be subjective, sales may have valuable insights from meeting with prospects on which content topics or pieces are valuable.
Case Study: How Content Nurture Became a Valuable Meeting Source for a Commercial Cleaning Client
From Day 1, a principle of AK Ops has always been to serve before selling, a sentiment that remains true today. After working with various Demand Generation partners, a long-time commercial cleaning company client met with Amy and was ready to change their approach after targeting prospects too aggressively and burning potential bridges.
That’s when we knew our demand gen program would be a great fit for this client. We implemented a weekly newsletter that contains valuable resources on areas of cleaning concerns, such as COVID updates and the impact on employee retention. Although we place a simple “Request a Quote” button at the bottom of each newsletter, this button has never been a focal point of the newsletter. Rather, the newsletters focus on garnering trust from prospects and maintaining the right to stay in inboxes through a service mindset.
Today, approximately 10% of the meetings that we book for our client come directly from our newsletters!
Nurture Leads More Effectively with AK Operations
The content strategy we’ve outlined above is the exact one we use to serve our clients. With this program, we see a 30% increase in new meetings booked as well as a massive drop in ghosted deals. That’s because effective content nurturing empowers sales reps to book more meetings and close deals, faster.
Contact us today if you need help operationalizing your content strategy.